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

by Garry D. Brewer

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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.

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