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Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World (Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition)

Wheatley, Margaret J.

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Leadership and the New Science launched a revolution by demonstrating that ideas drawn from quantum physics, chaos theory, and molecular biology could improve organizational performance. Margaret Wheatley called for free-flowing information, individual empowerment, relationship networks, and organizational change that evolves organically -- ideas that have become commonplace. Now Wheatley's updated classic, based on her experiences with these ideas in a diverse number of organizations on five continents, is available in paperback.

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When Margaret J. Wheatley's Leadership and the New Science was initially published in 1992, it outlined an unquestionably unique but extremely challenging view of change, leadership, and the structure of groups. Many readers immediately embraced its cutting-edge perspective, but others just could not understand how the complicated scientific tenets it described could be used to reshape institutions. Now Wheatley, an organizational specialist who has since coauthored A Simpler Way, updates the original by including additional material (such as an epilogue addressing her personal experiences during the past decade) and reconstructing some of her more challenging concepts. The result is a much clearer work that first explores the implications of quantum physics on organizational practice, then investigates ways that biology and chemistry affect living systems, and finally focuses on chaos theory, the creation of a new order, and the manner that scientific principles affect leadership. "Our old ways of relating to each other don't support us any longer," she writes. "It is up to us to journey forth in search of new practices and new ideas that will enable us to create lives and organizations worthy of human habitation." --Howard Rothman

From the Publisher:

IN HER PIONEERING BESTSELLER Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatley showed how the "New Science"—revolutionary discoveries in quantum physics, chaos theory, and biology that are overturning centuries-old images of the universe—provides powerful insights into the design, leadership, and management of organizations. Now, in a completely revised and expanded edition, Wheatley uses her past seven years’ experience putting these ideas to use in a wide array of organizations all over the world to shed new light on issues crucial to organizing work, people, and life, including:
o How do systems move from chaos to order?
o How is order different from control?
o How can we reconcile individual autonomy and organizational order?
o How can we create more participative, open, and adaptive organizations?
o What are the keys to organizational growth, learning, and communication?

This revised edition is written in even more accessible language and adds an entirely new chapter to this now classic book. In "Change—The Capacity of Life," Wheatley explains how the new physics offers an entirely new understanding of change, in which change happens at the level of identity rather than by isolating and changing one defective part of ourselves or our organizations.

In a new epilogue, Wheatley adds a personal chronicle of her experiences since the publication of the first edition. She tells about the shift in her own understanding that occurred as she came to realize that Leadership and the New Science not only presents an alternative view of organizational dynamics but challenges people’s most fundamental beliefs about the way the world works.

Like the first edition, the book includes a special section of color photographs of beautiful patterns and processes—including fractals, strange attractors, and chemical clocks—that take readers on a mind-opening journey into the heart of the new science.

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