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  • Matthew Mezey posted an update in the group Exploring Adaptive Space – community of practice 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    I have a question for Gareth in particular. If I want to get deeper into understanding Glenda Eoyang’s Human Systems Dynamics (which is complementary to Mary’s Adaptive framework), is there one of these books you’d particularly recommend:

    * Coping With Chaos: Seven Simple Tools, Glenda H Eoyang Ph.D.
    * Influencing Patterns For Change:: A Human Systems Dynamics Primer For Leaders Paperback – 26 Sep 2008, by Royce Holladay, Kristine Quade
    * Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization – 15 Apr 2013, by Glenda H. Eoyang, Royce J. Holladay

    • Hi Matthew,

      I’ve not read the first book although I know its an early one and probably not altogether reflective of where Glenda’s thinking is now at, so not the one I’d recommend…

      The second book is a nice, short intro to HSD concepts and a few tools and was the one I started with – just enough theory to get into a HSD space with some tools for application and some nice reflective questions to ponder…

      The newest of the three is the Adaptive Action book which is written for a general audience and pars down any dense theorising in favour of a more conversational approach. It covers all of the essential HSD models and tools and weaves them into the different stages of Adaptive Action (What, So What, Now What) although this is just one way of showing how HSD tools can be used within Adaptive Action and not to be taken as the only way these tools/methods can be used…

      I’d probably start with Influencing Patterns and then check out Adaptive Action myself (personal choice though); there is a fourth, less well known book that Glenda wrote with Ed Olsen called Facilitating Organisational Change – its targeted at an OD audience and is again a fairly early book but for me has the clearest discussion of complex adaptive systems and Glenda’s core CDE Model (Container, Difference, Exchange) that I’ve come across, as well as lots of chapters on using complexity science to facilitate organisational change… if its cheap enough on Amazon then that is also a good one to dip into…

      Hope that helps,


      • Thanks for such clear sharing about them all 🙂
        I’m feeling quite tempted by the final once, which I didn’t know about, ‘Facilitating Organisational Change’. But will poke around on Amazon and see what’s a available (at what cost).

        Mary Uhl-Bien has a few books about Complexity leadership, I think. But the best one I’ve spotted about Adaptive Spaces’ per se, is one by a member of her wider team, Michael Arena, called ‘Adaptive Space’.

        It’s not a complete guide to her overall model (it’s particularly focused on the networks aspect) – but I relaly enjoyed it.