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Emergence and sustainability in a decentralized organization.

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


Business Complexity & the Global Leader Conference


Continuous development is a key issue for long term competitiveness and sustainability of organizations on a changing global market. Decentralization is one way to reach this and there are several reasons behind our choice to study decentralization, including increasing demands on organizations to be flexible, increasing use of lean and flat organization structures, and changes in the workforce of the western society. There is a need for development of new theories concerning organization and management to understand and be able to manage decentralized organizations. The central assumptions in the paper are that decentralization and emergence is a way to reach sustainability, that relatonics are a central feature of the organization, and that an organization better have a dynamical balance between autonomy and integration of its members to make emergence possible. The assumptions are tested in an empirical study: there is a connection between relatonics and emergence, a dynamical balance between autonomy and integration is showed to be important for emergence, and emergence and sustainability is connected. The conclusion is that our theoretical assumptions are validated by our empirical study and further work in this line is encouraged. Complexity theory is a good base for theories about decentralized organizations.


author = {Tomas Backstr{\"o}m},
title = {Emergence and sustainability in a decentralized organization.},
month = {October},
year = {2010},
booktitle = {Business Complexity {\&} the Global Leader Conference},
url = {}