Glenda Eoyang

Human Systems Dynamics

Human systems dynamics examines the intersection of chaos and complexity with the social sciences. Real life is not predictable, and yet we frustrate ourselves by trying to control the outcomes in our personal and work lives. Dr. Eoyang offers an alternative to traditional management techniques of command and control—look for patterns in the system, analyze if they are healthy, and try to influence them if not.

For example, one pattern we can look for in families and organizations is the mathematical model called baker’s transformation. When we knead bread, we are stretching and folding the dough, which builds resiliency so that it can maintain its structure as it rises. Human groups likewise need to stretch outward to bring in new experiences and fold back to incorporate them into the group. Managers can examine if their group is stretching or folding and if that is what the organization needs at that particular time.

Instead of looking for solutions to fix problems, we should start by inquiring into the patterns that are present and examining if they are coherent, energetic, and adaptive.

Glenda Eoyang Interview, Whole Systems Healing