Complexity science has provided a new window through which to evaluate leadership. There are several researchers who have been exploring this topic since Marion and Uhl-Bien (2001) made a call to the field to explore leadership from a complexity perspective.

At the institute, we follow an approach called complex systems leadership theory (CSLT) that was proposed by Hazy, Goldstein & Lichtenstein (2007), two of whom are founders of the Institute.  This approach takes a complex systems, or more precisely a complex adaptive system (CAS), perspective as a starting point and then seeks to discover what leadership might mean in a CAS when the system of interactions is complicated by human interaction dynamics (HID). It is clear that human beings are not molecules, that they are heterogeneous in their preferences, that they have memories and thus have unique and heterogeneruos histories, and that they gather and use information and therefore have the potential to react differently at different times to the very same stimulus.  These differences create challenges for research and practice that are unique to the study of human systems.


Hazy, J. K. (2004). Leadership in Complex Systems: Meta-Level Information Processing Capabilities that Bias Exploration and Exploitation. in  K. Carley (ED.) Proceedings fron NAACSOS Conference, June, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. pdf 

Hazy, J. K. (2006). Measuring leadership effectiveness in complex socio-technical systems. Emergence: Complexity and Organization (E:CO), 8((3)), 58-77. Abstract. Hazy_2006_ECO_8(3).pdf

Hazy, J. K. (2007). Computer models of leadership: Foundation for a new discipline or meaningless diversion? The Leadership Quarterly, 18(4), 391-410. Abstract

 Hazy, J. K. (2008) Toward a theory of leadership in complex systems: Computational modeling explorations. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, 12(3) 281-310. Abstract. Manuscript version

Hazy, J. K. (2010) Leads on mechanisms for evolutionary selection of cooperative structures. Institute for Research in Complexity and society Working Paper series Interpretive Brief: 09042010-01.copy

Hazy, J. K. (2011). Parsing the Influential Increment he Language of Complexity: Uncovering the Systemic Mechanisms of Leadership Influence. International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management, 1(2), 164-191. Working Paper Version

Hazy, J. K. & Silberstang, J. (2009). Leadership within emergent events in complex systems: micro-enactments and the mechanisms of organisational learning and change. International Journal of learning and Change 3(3), 230-247. Abstract Manuscript version

Surie, G., & Hazy, J. K. (2006). Generative leadership: Nurturing innovation in complex systems. Emergence: Complexity and Organization (E:CO), 8(4), 13-26. Abstract Surie_HazyECO84Proof.pdf