Complex processes and complex systems: a synergy of perspectives

David Large, Petia Sice, Geoff O'Brien, Safwat Mansi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper considers two contrasting viewpoints: Complex responsive processes which deal with interactions in the present, and complex adaptive systems which focus on learning through the production of what are called mental models. The paper shows that rather than being contradictory, these viewpoints are – at least in some respects - complementary. Complex responsive processes involve reflections on interactions that take place in time. But you cannot stop time so these present reflections always refer back to a present now gone. Complex adaptive systems are analytic tools. They are not explicitly in the present or in time at all, but they shape our thoughts and actions which are in the present. They shape how we behave, respond and think in a context. In this way we can combine, or reorganise, the approach to complex responsive processes and complex adaptive systems to show how humans address the complex notions of our world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
JournalInternational Journal of Systems and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Complex processes and complex systems: a synergy of perspectives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this