Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 17, Iss. 4, October, 2013, pp. 517-541
@2013 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Phase Transitions between Lower and Higher Level Management Learning in Times of Crisis: An Experimental Study Based On Synergetics

Andreas Liening, University of Technology, Dortmund, Germany
Guido Strunk, University of Technology, Dortmund, Germany
Ewald Mittelstadt, South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences, Meschede, Germany

Abstract: Much has been written about the differences between single- and double-loop learning, or more general between lower level and higher level learning. Especially in times of a fundamental crisis, a transition between lower and higher level learning would be an appropriate reaction to a challenge coming entirely out of the dark. However, so far there is no quantitative method to monitor such a transition. Therefore we introduce theory and methods of synergetics and present results from an experimental study based on the simulation of a crisis within a business simulation game. Hypothesized critical fluctuations - as a marker for so-called phase transitions - have been assessed with permutation entropy. Results show evidence for a phase transition during the crisis, which can be interpreted as a transition between lower and higher level learning.

Keywords: crisis, synergetics, permutation entropy, organizational learning, phase transition, higher level learning