"New Science" as a lens through which to view change in a university Facilities Management Division: Complexity, Wholeness, and Implicate Order
Becker, Paul H.
This study sought to use "New Science" as a lens through which to view change in a university facilities management division and to determine in what ways “New Science” could help make sense of these changes. “New Science” takes scientific management concepts beyond Newton, Taylor, and Einstein and employs a systems and ecological view of life in organizations. “New Science” goes beyond quantum mechanics and includes uncertainty and unpredictability, complementarity, semantic and chaotic infinite complexity, non-linear adaptive feedback networks, and wholeness and implicate order. The conceptual framework for the study was based on applying complex systems theory described by “New Science” to human systems undergoing change in a university facilities management organization. Making sense of life and change in organizations is critical for university facility managers expected to change their organizations. I was the senior university officer of the study organization during and after the study period. The design and implementation of a computerized maintenance management system from 2000 to 2005 was used as the representative change initiative in the organization. Two integrated methods of collecting data on the change initiative were used: burography and case study. The burography was grounded in the reality of my daily life as a key actor in the study organization. The case study was my narrative of the change initiative based on archival evidence I collected in the study organization. “New Science” concepts described in the literature review were used as a lens through which to view and to make sense of the change data collected for the burography and case study. The “goodness-of-fit” between “New Science” concepts and the data helped address the purpose of the research. The analysis demonstrated that “New Science” could be used to “map" the key dynamic properties of complex systems onto the human systems in the facilities management organization. Viewed through the lens of “New Science”, the study organization’s change initiative was successful because some people in the organization used understanding of the uncertainty and unpredictability in their internal and external environments in conjunction with new moral purpose, complementarity, and semantic complexity to create wholeness and implicate order sustained by adaptive non-linear feedback networks. The networks helped to manage chaotic complexity and to rejuvenate the organization. “New Science” concepts proved to be an overarching lens through which other organizational and managerial lenses could be used to deal with practical aspects of leading organizations, including positional power and reciprocal leadership.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeCarr-Stewart, Sheila; Winchester, William; Wickett, Reg; Renihan, Patrick; Sackney, Larry; Scharf, Murray
Copyright DateMarch 2006