Complex Thought and Systems Thinking Connecting Group Process and Team Management: New Lenses for Social Transformation at Work Environment


  • Magda C Kaspary BGI - Bainbridge Graduate Institute


group process, groups, teams, complex thought, systems thinking


This paper proposes some discussions about group process and team management in a different paradigm than the classical theories. We recognize an important trajectory made by both strategies, groups and teams, acknowledged here as living systems in our postmodern society, and we were willing to understand why, at some point, teams were elected as "a group with better performance or development". Teams thrive in our zeitgeist in different ways since it is a strategy that affects almost the entire active working population. We can say there is a desire for having work made through teams nowadays, even for those who work from home or in virtual teams. On the other hand, groups have been used for social change in many ways. When well-known authors write "from groups to teams" it is possible to see a position taken within one perspective, mostly from Management. In different disciplines of Humanities, a group - thought as a social strategy - is not called a team - understood as an enterprise strategy - to build the results they are looking to achieve. To integrate often isolated areas of human, economic, social and sustainability knowledge, we propose to think different possibilities on how to understand what happen in group process, what a collective can produce for itself and for the environment. We based this paper in three bodies of knowledge. For didactic purposes we present them in a sequence, but they are like a web, composing each other as an integral systems approach. One body is Complex Thought of Edgar Morin as our method of research, especially as we explore three principles of complexity (dialogic, organizational recursion, and holographic) and the concepts of comprehension and explanation. Second, we discuss systems thinking properties applied to living systems (interaction, interdependence, autonomy and dependency, organization and self production). Third, we connect some thoughts based on the work of Deleuze and Guattari around rhizomic structures in organization development as a mode of knowledge, nonhierarchical or centered, and a possible understanding of a current model in our highly interconnected society - alliances in movement. We propose an exercise to think group process through these three lenses presented. We understand group processes as immaterial human capital with effects on the intra and interpersonal construction (SEMINOTTI, 2007), and seek more comprehension so that their effects converge towards the human development, integrating different dimensions of nature-life-work that cannot be isolated. To incorporate dialogic into dichotomy, organizational recursion into linearity, holographic into unity is a path that allows the expansion for the homo sapiens-demens-faber in other roles in life. We defend we are in an epoch when we can surpass this linear thought of "group then team". There is a political and economic implication to connect groups and teams, since team members are exposed to group process and sometimes they do not know how to deal with it. Also, if teams at work have access to group process we can prospect another level of right livelihood, self reflection and self production for its members, ergo, to our society. No matters which living system we are talking about, groups or teams, we are facing - hologramatically - concepts for the sake of a sustainable society with an ultimate desire of contributing to social transformation.


Author Biography

Magda C Kaspary, BGI - Bainbridge Graduate Institute

Graduate Student of OSR - Organizational Systems Renewal in Seattle, Washington, United States.



How to Cite

Kaspary, M. C. (2014). Complex Thought and Systems Thinking Connecting Group Process and Team Management: New Lenses for Social Transformation at Work Environment. Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2013 HaiPhong, Vietnam, 1(1). Retrieved from



Organisational Transformation and Social Change