Human System Dynamics in Action: Shifting Patterns for Peace (687)

Glenda Eoyang

Peace and conflict are complex, systemic patterns that emerge over time and at individual, team, community, and global scales. People who thrive in social systems have deep intuitions about how change happens and how they can support it, but until recently, this wisdom lived more in art And instinct than in science. The new science—of chaos and complexity—provides a new path for understanding complex systems. Based in systems theory and complexity science, human systems dynamics (HSD) builds adaptive capacity through:

  • Adaptive Action – taking action in ways that respond creatively to changing contexts and unpredictable circumstances with no specific, linear prescribed sequence of steps
  • Pattern Logic – seeing patterns that are emerging in a changing context and making logical decisions based on the pattern

HSD is a field of theory and practice that prepares you to make your implicit knowledge explicit. You will learn to see patterns as they emerge, understand them in useful ways, and take intentional action to influence behaviors and patterns that generate peace or conflict.

Participants in this course will engage with others to adapt to unpredictable change, see simplicity in chaos, understand the underlying dynamics that generate patterns of peace or conflict, observe the consequences of your actions, and begin again in a new cycle of discovery and action. Through short lectures, group discussions, Adaptive Action experiments, and case studies, you will practice what you learn and prepare yourself to be an active, adaptive agent in complex situations.

This course is being offered for training and for academic credit. The syllabus will detail the number of credits hours and associated course requirements.


For information on how this course can be paired with other courses in our series on Transformative Leadership for the Common Good, click here.

Watch Glenda speak about Peace is a Pattern: Simple Rules for Sustainable Peace

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