Managing Complexity in Social Systems

Leverage Points for Policy and Strategy

  • Christoph E. Mandl

Part of the Management for Professionals book series (MANAGPROF)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. From Logic to Circular Causality

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-11
    2. Christoph E. Mandl
      Pages 13-22
    3. Christoph E. Mandl
      Pages 31-38
  3. Describing and Understanding Dynamics of Social Systems

  4. Managing Intraorganizational Phenomena

  5. Managing Trans-organizational Phenomena

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 135-135
    2. Christoph E. Mandl
      Pages 147-153
    3. Christoph E. Mandl
      Pages 163-169
    4. Christoph E. Mandl
      Pages 171-188
  6. Coda: The Sense of Possibility

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 203-203
    2. Christoph E. Mandl
      Pages 205-215
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 217-222

About this book


Why do policies and strategies often fail, and what can be done about it? How can complexity be managed in cases where it cannot be reduced? The answers to these questions are anything but trivial, and can only be found by combining insights from complexity science, system dynamics, system theory and systems thinking. Rooted in the seminal works of Gregory Bateson, Jay Forrester, Donella Meadows, Peter Senge, W. Brian Arthur, John Sterman and Thomas Schelling, this book bridges the gap between rigorous science and real-life experience to explore the potential and limitations of leverage points in implementing policies and strategies. It also presents diagnostic tools to help recognize system archetypes, as well as the powerful language of stock and flow diagrams, which allows us to think in terms of circular causality. These tools are subsequently employed to thoroughly analyze particularly thorny problems such as global climate change, the tragedy of the commons, path dependence, diffusion of innovations, and exponential growth of inequality.


Complex systems Path dependence System dynamics Systems thinking System archetypes Innovation diffusion Climate change Complexity in organisation

Authors and affiliations

  • Christoph E. Mandl
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Vienna, Mandl, Lüthi & PartnerViennaAustria

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Business and Management
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-01643-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-01645-6
  • Series Print ISSN 2192-8096
  • Series Online ISSN 2192-810X
  • Buy this book on publisher's site