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The Butterfly Effect- Managing the Organization as System

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The Butterfly Effect- Managing the Organization as System

Page 1 of 7
MGT3901 Organization Theory

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Chapter One

The Butterfly Effect: Managing Your Organization as a System Because most things in life are part of larger systems, some seemingly trivial events can have significant impact. For example, in 1961, mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz took a shortcut in entering data in a weather prediction model. He innocently entered .506 instead of the full numeric value of.506127, and the result was a completely different weather prediction. In a 1963 paper, Lorenz commented that if the theory were correct, “one flap of a seagull’s wings could change the course of weather forever.” He later changed that metaphor to a butterfly, and now the phenomenon is widely labeled the “butterfly effect” – where seemingly little events can lead to more significant changes to the larger system. Though I’m a little cautious to source Wikipedia, here is the definition of the Butterfly Effect: “The butterfly effect refers to the idea that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado, or might delay, accelerate, or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in another location. The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different. While the butterfly does not ‘cause’ the tornado in the sense of providing the energy for the tornado, it does ‘cause’ it in the sense that the flap of its wings is an essential part of the initial conditions resulting in a tornado, and without that flap, that particular tornado would not have existed.” So the whole concept of the Butterfly Effect (which is similar to the Domino Effect) relies on the notion that everything is part of a larger system – in which small changes in part of a system can result in larger changes to other...

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