Concepts: Chapter 4

Synergy and Enactment.


Synergy is defined as the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than their individual effects. In the context of our study, synergy is the characteristic of exceedingly complex, probabilistic systems whereby the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It is therefore not a trivial matter to infer the behavior of the larger system based on the known properties of and the laws governing the interaction of the constituent parts.

As Perrow is quoted by Scott and Davis, “…two plus two equals five. But minus two plus minus two can equal minus five thousand in tightly coupled, complex, high risk military and industrial systems…” Such complex interactions can lead to disasters in tightly couples systems.

(Scott and Davis, p. 101)


Enactment is the active process by which individuals, in interaction, construct a picture of their world, their environment, their situation. It is argued by Weick that since humans actively create the world around them through perception, organization members do not merely react to an objectively accepted physical environment but enact their environment though information and the creation of meaning. (Kreps, 1987: 116)

This concept not only highlights the role of perception but also recognizes that members of organization not only selectively perceive but they also have a direct influence on their environments through their thinking as well as by their actions, which can alter the state of the environment.

(Scott and Davis, p. 104)

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