Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 3–10

Fundamentalism and Panaceas


  • Russell L. Ackoff

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009527509074

Cite this article as:
Ackoff, R.L. Systemic Practice and Action Research (2001) 14: 3. doi:10.1023/A:1009527509074


Fundamentalism is a response to an environment that is undergoing an accelerating rate of change and rapidly increasing complexity. These two conditions combine to produce what is generally referred to as a "turbulent" or "chaotic" environment. Such an environment is characterized by discontinuities and uncertainty, hence unpredictability. It is one in which it is easy for individuals and organizations to become disorientated. Fundamentalism is a defensive response that avoids disorientation but replaces it with something worse. Panaceas proness is a moderate form of fundamentalism.

fundamentalism panaceas turbulence uncertainty discontinuities complexity simple-mindedness terrorism

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001