A Complex Adaptive System Framework for Management and Marketing Studies

  • Gianpaolo BasileEmail author
  • Gandolfo Dominici
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


This theoretical work aims to analyze the choice of strategic management activities, taking into account a complex systems perspective. Following this approach, we represent the firm as a complex adaptive system, in which the management must be able to develop and implement different behaviors in order to dynamically ensure the viability of the firm or system. This implies that the management governing the firm or system is capable of choosing, from among a number of heterogeneous entities, the relevant stakeholders within the competitive context and of creating and maintaining significant relationships with them, which are considered to be relevant in a turbulent environment.

As an expression of the relational dynamics between the direct and indirect stakeholders, the firm exchanges energy and information with the reference contexts, in order to survive. As part of these exchanges and adaptations, both the firm and its stakeholders disperse energy, producing a dissipative phenomenon (Prigogine I, Order out of chaos. In: Livingston P (ed) Disorder and order: proceedings of the Stanford international symposium (Sept. 14–16, 1981). Anma Libri, Saratoga, pp 41–60, 1984), which we describe—in an analogy with the second law of thermodynamics and complexity theory—as entropy.

Our research question is thus:

Can complex adaptive systems theory help decision makers to deal with the dynamism of organizations and brand in turbulent environments?

Through a theoretical and descriptive framework, we will draw our conclusions to this research question.


Complex adaptive systems Management Marketing Dissipative systems Entropy 



To cope with regulation on Academic publishing we declare that although this study is based on a collaborative effort by all authors, Sects. 9.1 (Introduction), 9.2 (Theoretical Framework) and 9.7 (Conclusions) can be attributed to Gandolfo Dominici; while Sects. 9.3 (The Partially Open Adaptive Systems), 9.4 (The Adaptive Systems Approach in Marketing), 9.5 (Determinism vs. Complexity) and 9.6 (Entropy, Sustainability, and Curative Marketing Management) can be attributed to Gianpaolo Basile.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sociology and Political Science DepartmentBusiness Systems LaboratoryRomaItaly
  2. 2.Faculty of Arts and PhilosophyUniversity of SalernoSalernoItaly
  3. 3.Business Systems LaboratoryRomaItaly
  4. 4.Department S.E.A.S., Polytechnic SchoolUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly

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