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Somali Warlords And Choatic Italian Garment Manufacuturers Provide Models For Business Organisation

Somali Warlords and chaotically inclined Italian Garment Manufacturers are not usually held up as business gurus, yet companies such as Citicorp, 3Com and BT are queuing up to attend a special conference at the University of Warwick which believes it can draw valuable business lessons from these and other equally strange situations.

The Business Processes Resource Centre, part of the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick, are organising the conference on 4th and 5th December to explore some of the ways businesses can benefit from application of complexity and chaos theory to their business processes. Somali warlords and chaos in the Italian clothing industry will be just two of the more esoteric examples of complexity theory that will be explored at the conference, but the concepts are being taken very seriously indeed by some of the world's major companies.

Susanne Kelly, Vice-President of Citicorp says

"Applying the sciences of complexity to business is not a trivial matter. It requires a new mind set, vocabulary, and openness to fundamental change. My own introduction to complexity has been simultaneously a humbling yet empowering experience. We can no longer hide from taking personal responsibility for our individual actions."

The conference entitled Organisations as Complex Evolving Systems will bring together disciplines as diverse as biology, ecology as well as maths and physics to explore what evolution and complexity mean for businesses

Professor Kumar Bhattacharyya, Director of the Warwick Manufacturing Group said,

"We are not interested in fads, fashions or buzzwords. Our role is to enable companies to use knowledge as a way of succeeding in global markets. Research must be rigorous but it must also be robust enough to be useful in the marketplace. This conference will bring business leaders face to face with some very exciting new ideas."

The conference is organised in association with the London School of Economics. Eve Mittleton-Kelly, Head of the Complexity Research Programme at the London School of Economics, added:

"Instead of imposing rules and regulations about every facet of working life, think in terms of a clear vision which will provide cohesion and allow for self-organisation and innovation. It isn't a matter of being pro-active or re-active to changes in the environment. If you think in terms of co-evolving with, rather than adapting to, a changing environment, your whole approach to strategy changes."

A small number of places are still available at the conference for further information contact:- Rebecca Dale, BPRC Research fellow at Warwick University, tel: 01203 524344 or e-mail

Peter Dunn, University Press Officer  01203 523708


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CWN / Education / University of Warwick / Press Release / 2 Nov 98

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