Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 3–10

Fundamentalism and Panaceas

  • Russell L. Ackoff


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 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell L. Ackoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Bryn Mawr

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