About exchange

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overview

source [Conditions for Self Organising, Glenda Eoyang, 2004]

transforming exchange

… the agents in a complex adaptive system are semi-autonomous …

… their interdependence, which is critical to their ability to self-organize into system-wide patterns, is called transforming exchange …

… any transfer of information, energy, or material between two agents can function as an exchange and bind the parts of the system together into the whole …

… the exchange becomes transforming, however, when it affects the self-organizing processes within the agent, crossing containers from the system of agents to the agent as a system …

… this transforming exchange appears in many complexity-related texts …

… including as "double interact" in the language of weick (1979) …

… "complex responsive process" in the language of stacey (2001) …

… or "strange loops" in the language of cohen and stewart (1994) …

… in all cases, some transfer establishes the framework for a new system-wide pattern to self-organize …

… the transforming exchange is a necessary condition for self-organizing processes to occur …

… if the agents are not connected in a meaningful and transforming way, then the potential of the differences is not actualized, and the container gives way to other competing containers for self-organizing processes …

… language is the most obvious manner of transforming exchange between individuals, but many other transfers can serve the purpose, as well …

… flow of funds, non-verbal signals, electrical or thermal connections are other examples of exchanges that can be transforming …

… in human, systems, many different exchanges are taking place simultaneously, and each may contribute toward one or another pattern that emerges as the self-organizing process moves through time …

… exchanges in a system vary in strength and in number …

… for the purposes of self-organization, many relatively weak exchanges can be more productive than a few very strong ones …

… in some cases, too many exchanges generate confusion, which can be viewed as noise in the system …

… the rates, paths, and products of self-organizing processes depend on both the number and the strength of the transforming exchanges …

… all strands of research in complexity either address or assume significant transforming exchange as central to the self-organizing process …

… transforming exchanges, alone, however, are not sufficient for coherent self-organizing processes to progress …

… if the container is too constraining or not constraining enough, the exchanges are random and patterns do not persist …

… if the differences are below or above the optimal thresholds (determined by the system state at a given time), then the transforming exchanges become redundant, and no new options for transformation present themselves …