Special Issue of the Journal

Emergence: Complexity & Organization (E:CO)

Emergent Publishing

In conjunction with

Adelphi University and the

Institute for Research in Complexity and Society (IRCS)


 To explore the topic of:

Human Interaction Dynamics

 Guest Editor:

James K. Hazy, Adelphi University

Director Institute for Research in Complexity and Society


To advance the theoretical and practical significance of complexity inspired social science research, in the Fall of 2013 we plan to publish a Special Issue of E:CO that will explore a the emerging field of Human Interaction Dynamics (HID). HID research seeks to identify the mechanisms whereby human interactions result in and are influenced by social, political, technological and economic systems and structures. This special issue is intended to inspire new threads of theoretical and empirical research in leadership, management, organization theory, and the social sciences more generally.  


To explore these questions, HID uses various techniques including, but are not limited to: dynamical systems theory, information and computing theory, statistical analysis, game theory, network theory, and complex adaptive systems (CAS) approaches which usually include numerical or multi-agent modeling.



Treating human interactions as the unit of analysis, just as interactions between particles, molecules, organic material, and life forms are studied in the natural sciences, HID explores the unique and heterogeneous details within micro-states that occur during interactions - including the rules that guide these interactions, how these are governed by both endogenous and exogenous factors, how they are enacted, and how they change. Human memory capacity, the heterogeneity of each individual’s experiences and preferences, and the contingencies surrounding each interaction relating to information processing before, during and after the event, make the human interaction very different from the those studied in the natural sciences. However, unlike other approaches to social science, HID assumes that these differences are in degree rather than category.


Like the natural sciences, coarse-grained structures and properties emerge from interactions, and these emergent forms, like firms, institutions, business strategies, or organizational capabilities, also interact across levels of analysis to entrain the fine-grained interactions from which they are emerging. By defining macro-states of the complex system at the coarse-grained level, less important details in social systems can be ignored. Research on statistical complexity implies that by using a probabilistic approach that takes into account the system’s coarse-grained properties—such as sales growth or the potential for innovation—organizational outcomes can be modeled and statistically predicted.


Unlike the natural sciences, the question of individual potency within a complex system is of particular interest and relates to a single event rather than to a probability distribution. In the natural sciences, the human actor manipulates the system from the outside, testing hypotheses and repeating many trials to determine statistically significant outcomes. In HID, however, human actors act upon the system from the inside and by doing so, irreversibly change the system. In this light, it is an individual’s potency that is of practical interest, and this potency is realized in a single event (rather than as a central tendency within a statistical distribution).  Thus, core to research in HID is the question of leadership: How and to what extent might the individual, through his or her interactions, intentionally influence relevant coarse-grained outcomes in a single event? What are the mechanisms for this? And how is success measured?


Submission Guidelines

For this special issue we are looking for papers that will provide a theoretical and methodological foundation for the emerging science of HID. Papers should rigorously explore various aspects of HID including: the nature of the individual interaction; how information available about coarse-grained regularities influences fine-grained interactions; individual potency as applied to leadership processes, organizational change processes, and business strategy; and the use of computational and analytical models, their strengths and limitations.


The intent of this special issue is to move beyond the conceptual and metaphorical. For inclusion, papers must describe and/or use new theoretical approaches or methods that:


i)                    include a mathematical or computational framework, such as dynamical systems, information theory and statistics, or multi-agent modeling to demonstrate the deductive logic that is being applied to theory development,

ii)                  reflect in some way the nonlinear nature of human interaction dynamics as well as clarify the relevant boundary and initial conditions and how these might limit inductive arguments for generalizability,

iii)                describe variables and analytical methods that might be used for data collection and analysis; traditional statistical analysis techniques can be used, but if they are used, the paper must carefully clarify the inferential and inductive limitations of traditional approaches and in some way extend these techniques to accommodate complexity concerns

Full paper submissions are requested. Manuscripts should be approximately 5000 to 8000 words plus references and should be prepared in accordance with E:CO submission guidelines found at

Queries about the applicability of projects can be directed to: Jim Hazy at

Due Dates: 

  • For consideration, papers must be received by: November 15, 2012.
  • Papers will be reviewed in a double-blind peer review process and
  • The final versions of accepted papers must be submitted by May 1, 2013. 


An electronic copy of the submission should be sent to Dr. Hazy . Additional information and guidelines on the Emergence: Complexity and Organization (E:CO) journal may be obtained by its website:  


Guest Editor:  James K. Hazy  Adelphi University School of Business in Garden City, NY and founding director of the Institute for Research in Complexity and Society (IRCS).