Chapter 20 Framing business schools as a socio-technical system: issues around complexity and emergence
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This chapter looks at the managerial challenges facing the leadership of university business schools and does so through the analytical lens provided by a systems approach. It begins by framing the school as a socio-technical system and examines the importance of the various elements in the design of those systems. It considers the ways in which changes in a system’s designed-for state can move it towards a new emergent-state and how changes in its operating environment may combine with that change to generate fractures in controls. Those fractures will, in turn, need to be managed by staff in leadership and management positions. The chapter also outlines the importance of the often competing views of the various individuals and groups who are involved in the school’s core processes and how they can generate demands that may prove to be incompatible. It concludes by reference to the experience of the author as a director of school and the challenges that the role generated.

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