Greetings, CAS Lab Members,
We hope your Fall term is going well so far, even amid this time of adaptation and transition. Here's a brief lab update of recent member activity and other complex system scholarship at Western.
Western Research Conference
Dr. Katherine Lawless, Dr. Jonathan De Souza, and James Shelley from the Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) Lab presented Complexity Theory in Research: Why and how to adopt a systems perspective at the 2021 Western Research Conference on August 16, 2021. (Video available)
Ivey's System Thinking Elective
Students in Ivey's MSc Systems Thinking elective helped Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) find ways to reduce single-use plastics.
Current CAS Lab Student-Led Projects
CAS Lab students are currently working on two projects: the first initiative is looking for points of virtuous overlap among faculty members exploring the relationship of teamwork and complexity; the second project is exploring the existing literature on the application of complexity theory and systems thinking to xenophobia and racism. What this space for updates down the road.
Student Training—and a question for you
We have streamlined our student onboarding resources. As we continue to enhance and iterate these tools for an optimal learning experience, we have a question for you, our lab community: what resources have you found most successful for supporting students in conducting their first literature review?
We argue that strategy research into wicked problems can benefit from systems thinking, which deviates radically from the reductionist approach to analysis taken by many strategy scholars. (Grewatsch, S., Kennedy, S., & (Tima) Bansal, P. (2021). Tackling wicked problems in strategic management with systems thinking. Strategic Organization. https://doi.org/10.1177/14761270211038635)
We find that supply chain density positively associates with supply chain transparency, whereas supply chain clustering holds a negative association. We also find that supply chain geographical heterogeneity positively associates with supply chain transparency. (2021). The association between supply chain structure and transparency: A large-scale empirical study. Journal of Operations Management, 1– 25. https://doi.org/10.1002/joom.1150, , , & (
By focusing on the systems level, we elucidate the plethora of individual experiences as outcomes of settler colonialism played out within highly complex, adaptive social systems. (Lana Ray, Lloy Wylie, Ann Marie Corrado, Shapeshifters, systems thinking and settler colonial logic: Expanding the framework of analysis of Indigenous health equity, Social Science & Medicine, 2021, 114422, ISSN 0277-9536, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114422)
The chapter explores the importance of strength and relationship-based research and interventions to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities living with the impacts of colonization. (Leslie McGregor, Gerald Patrick McKinley. (2021). Responding with Anishinaabek values: Understanding the importance of living as a spiritual being for mental wellness. In Andrew R. Hatala, Kerstin Roger (eds.) Spiritual, Religious, and Faith-Based Practices in Chronicity: An Exploration of Mental Wellness in Global Context (1st Ed). London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003043508)
Other Things to Know
Brian Castellani (Professor of Sociology, Durham University) has updated his famous Map of the Complexity Sciences for 2021. (Looking for more teaching and learning aids? Check out the lab's external resource library.)
Western University associate professor Graham Thompson tells London Morning why wasps seem so angry at this time of year. https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-158-london-morning/clip/15864203-angry-wasp-season
Don't forget to send us a note whenever your work engages in complexity or system theory — we are here to share this information as a collective.