How from order does complexity emerge? Part 6 -Nonlinearity

Complexity does not appear without any reason. There are signs and forces, such as Nonlinearity that can indicate and explain how complexity created.

The goal of this series of posts is to explain in plain business English (well, in my English :-)) how complexity arises from very stable and order organizations. I hope that this series will help you to understand this phenomenon and to be able to better deal with it. Each one of these posts explains one driving force to complexity as defines by chaos theory.


Our mental models drive us to believe that the typical relationship between cause and impact is linear. In other words, a certain level of effort invested in the cause will produce a corresponding level of impact on the result (e.g., if you study hard, you’ll succeed in life.) However, in reality, most of the systems around us are nonlinear. In nonlinear systems, there isn’t any readily discernable correlation between cause and impact. A small effort can yield greater results and vice versa.  

We also tend to see all causes and impacts as unidirectional (one-way), but in reality, most of the systems around us (including organizations) are based on cause and impacts that are circular. If A impacts B, B will impact A as well, which impacts B again, and so on… 

Organizations are nonlinear systems. The more missing correlations between causes and impacts the greater the perceivable gap between cause and impact will expand, thus we can assume that the organization is about to be more complex.  

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