Analysis of Complex Systems: An Experiment and Its Implications for Policymaking.

by Garry D. Brewer


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback61 pages $23.00 $18.40 20% Web Discount

This paper is an integrative chapter for a larger collected work that concentrates on and details many of the special and undesirable aspects of large, hard-to-understand-and-manage systems. Discussed are relevant areas of inquiry from political science, psychology, organizational behavior, and communications. A small illustrative experiment was designed and operated to examine the effects of increasing a system's analytic size, the connectedness of its elements, and the degree of its temporal and spatial detail. Implications of the experiment are discussed in terms of system size, various research strategies, and some observable impacts on organizational behavior. The central question of operational control is then related to the ideas generated by the experiment and to the pragmatic and theoretical concerns that formed the basis of the investigation. 61 pp. Ref.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.