Title: Orientation and adaptation case studies toward chaotic systems in an economic downturn

Authors: Alan D. Smith

Addresses: Department of Management and Marketing, Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3099, USA

Abstract: The basic concepts of complexity/chaos theories allows an organisation to focus on the ability of people to self-organise to handle problems and changes in the organisation; if control is relinquished and autonomy is spread to all employees. The goal of this paper is to inspect how different organisations are reacting to the recent economic crisis perhaps, while looking at their decisions through a chaotic/complexity theoretical viewpoint. The companies chosen represent a relative wide range of service organisations in the Pittsburgh, PA metropolitan area that allow for contrasting comparisons, from a large global power management company, Eaton Corporation, a large sporting goods company, Dick|s Sporting Goods, and a small independent grocery store chain, McGinnis Sisters Specialty Food Stores. To understand the basis for the present case study, a description what constitutes chaos theory in relationship to the companies studied, or what being on the edge of chaos means, and provide an overview of their current financial crisis as it relates to the operations in the chosen organisations, followed by a discussion of the practical applications of lessons learned from the case studies.

Keywords: chaos theory; complexity theory; service operations; orientation; adaptation; chaotic systems; economic downturns; self-organising; control relinquishment; employee autonomy; change; economic crises; decision making; service industries; globalisation; power management; Eaton Corporation; Dick|s Sporting Goods; grocery stores; retailing; groceries; McGinnis Sisters Specialty Food Stores; Pittsburgh; USA; United States; sports equipment; retail industry; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; strategic planning; sustainability; procurement management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPM.2011.037386

International Journal of Procurement Management, 2011 Vol.4 No.1, pp.72 - 86

Published online: 31 Jan 2015 *

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