An exploration of social uncertainty in complex systems

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Management




Jensen, I., & Jackson, P. (2007). An exploration of social uncertainty in complex systems. Proceedings of the 13th ANZSYS Conference 2007: Systemic Development: Local Solutions in a Global Environment.


In this paper, we inductively develop a theory of the constituent elements of social uncertainty, based on managerial and consulting experience and informed by the results of a major research project. Theory formation is driven by the tenet that social uncertainty leads to reduction or avoidance behavior. The theory predicts that, with the organization as the level of analysis, social uncertainty is constituted by four conceptual elements: concurrence, coherence, cognition and conformance. The theory is expressed in formal, symbolic notation to aid its experimental verification. The formula is then embedded within the topological mapping of complex systems theory (Juarrero, 2002) to demonstrate how the formula may be used to understand and ameliorate social uncertainty in times of organizational transformation or volatility.

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