Research Questions

Some examples of important unanswered and/or under explored research questions are listed here.

1. In the context of predicting events within human organizing projects, sometimes attractors, or persistent patterns, can be identified within the mathematical dynamical systems models used to describe the relationships among system-level properties that emerge in the system that forms. The depth or shallowness of an attractor basin for the system determines how robust the pattern is to exogenous shocks or perturbations from outside the system. A deeper attractor baisn is relatively more robust to perturbation.
  • How do different patterns of interaction at the individual-level create different types of attractors at the system level?
  • How are these patterns of interaction related to "rules of interaction" that characterize complex adaptive systems (cas)?
  • How are these "rules of interaction" embodied within human interaction dynamics (HID)?
  • How does information/influence flow among individuals across the social network impact emergent properties?
  • How does social network topology impact emergent properties?
  • In particular, how does the depth of a particular dynamical attractor vary as information/influence flows vary?
  • What mathematical equation best describes different emergent systems?

2. Some complexity models (Haken, 2006; Goldstein, Hazy & Silberstang, 2010) argue that the possible structures of the attractors of a system are determined not through interactions but result from exogenous constraints that contain the system's human interaction dynamics. These constraints create a potential function or field that shapes which attractor shapes are possible for the system. This in turn exerts influence on the HID that are occurring at the individual level.,
  • What contextual conditions imply emergent and productive collective action?
  • It has been argued (Goldstein, Hazy & Lictenstein, 2010) that resource availability, also called Opportunity Tension, in the environment is one such constraint. Can this be shown empirically?
  • It has been argued (Goldstein, Hazy & Lictenstein, 2010) that Information Differences, knowledge about the system and the environment that is disributed across the organizations members is a second such constraint. Can this be shown empirically?
  • How are these parameterized into a mathematical equation?

3. Emergent properties have the unique characteristic that they are both formed bottom-up from HID but also exhibit downward influence on HID (Hazy, 2008). A duality that Giddens (1985) has explored and is also related to "reflexivity" an idea populatized in economics by George Soros in 1987.
  • How does this recursive mutual influence process relate to leadership?
  • How does top-down (i.e., hierarchical) leadership recognize and interact with bottom up patterns and leadership?
  • How are emerging patterns recognized and reinforced?
  • How does relative reputation impact the flow of influence?
  • What is the role of trust in this process?

4. By definition, complex adaptive systems must "adapt" to a changing environment.
  • How do HID lead to innovation and thus adaptation?
  • How does adaptation relate to attractors in 1. above?
  • How does adaptation relate to exogenous constraints as in 2. above?
  • How is adaptation related to top-down leadership as in 3. above?
  • How does emergence relate to adaptation?
References