Associazione Italiana di Organizzazione Aziendale

Exaptation, bricolage, and vicariance: When metaphors shed new light on complex social systems

Special issue call for papers from Kybernetes

Guest editors:

Prof. Primiano Di Nauta –
Prof. Marcello Martinez –
Prof. Cristina Simone –

About the Special Issue:

The aim of the issue is to promote and attract contributions on issues such as exaptation, bricolage and vicariance as innovation detonators in social organizations, and more generally in complex socio-economic systems.

This special issue deals with social systems as emerging, unpredictable, nonlinear (i.e., complex) phenomena. It aims to shed new light on complex social systems by proposing original metaphors, such as those of exaptation (Gould and Vrba, 1982; Lewontin 1991), bricolage (Levi-Strauss, 1962), and vicariance (Reuchlin, 1978; Lautrey, 2002; Uexküll, 1933; Berthoz, 2013). These metaphors were born in multidisciplinary fields (sociology, psychology, neurosciences, and biology), and address new insightful perspectives in order to deepen the protean nature of social systems and their complex evolutionary path. Using concepts such as self-organization, emergence, dissipative structures, nonlinearity, coevolution, learning, chaos, fractals, catastrophes, and crises, the perspective on complexity has greatly contributed to the understanding of social systems.

According to this perspective, social systems are not qualified in terms of linearity, but in terms of openings and breakages: emerging, rubber landscapes, in which islands of development and islands of hindered development coexist. According to this, the becoming of a social system arises in an open Popperian logic, emerging from a recursive cycle of hypotheses and rejection of hypotheses. This is not the product of engineering activity, but the result of the collective intelligence of a choral bricolage. This interpretative framework can be further enriched by hybridizing the existing state of the art with research contributions on exaptation, bricolage, and vicariance.
Moving from multidisciplinary fields of research, this special issue aims to attract papers that, by focusing on exaptation, bricolage, and vicariance, can promote a new way of knowing (epistemology) and a new observational perspective (metaphysics) on complex social systems.

In this perspective, topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Exaptation, bricolage, and vicariance in complex social systems
  • People, technology, and governance in complex social systems
  • Systems thinking, systems dynamics, and social ecosystems
  • Systems design and thinking for supporting innovation
  • The role of the management of human resources in promoting knowledge and innovation
  • The role of information systems and big data analytics in knowledge and innovation
  • Tinkering, bricolage, and information systems
  • Lateral thinking, creativity, and design thinking
  • Cybernetic principles and applications for platforms and modularity
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Submission guidelines

The deadline for papers submission is March, 30th 2019.

Papers submitted must be original, and comply with submission guidelines for Kybernetes. Papers must be submitted via the journal review management website. All articles will be subjected to a rigorous double blind peer review process. Initial enquiries can be made through email to the Guest Editor in the first instance



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