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Four Keys to Managing Emergence Essays

Four Keys to Managing Emergence

The paper “Four Keys to Managing Emergence” by provides means and recommendations how to deal with unexpected problems and emergences. Nowadays, business environments are very uncertain and they are constantly changing. Therefore, special attention should be paid to enabling and promoting innovative approaches to manage emergent processes and problems. It is noted that highly skillful and experienced manager should have their own view of dealing emergences and to assess the role of innovations in the company. Nevertheless, the skills to be obtained by managers for dealing emergences are claimed to be rather subtle and volatile.

Speaking about keys to managing emergences it is necessary to admit that the first key is to find new ways of communication and interaction with potential participants. In other word it is required to work out alternative perspectives to place on the surface assumptions, information and interpretations and how to apply them to swiftly changing environments. The second key is to update knowledge maps. Actually, knowledge and skills are the keys to successful management and, therefore, expertise should be grounded primarily on knowledge. When dealing with emergences managers should rely only on static contact networks. Instead, they have to develop knowledge maps and pay attention to so-called “management by walking around”.

The third key is to eliminate boundaries between “those inside and outside organization”. The authors assume that managing emergence requires more than simply asking customers to become partners or leading innovations with them. Instead, it is necessary to make organization the center of communication network between employees and customers. And, finally, the last key is to govern through reputation networks. It is argued that to enable emergence management to provide incentives it is necessary to create reputation networks and to induce participatory innovation.


Majchrzak, A., Logan, D., McCurdy, R., & Kirchmer, M. (2006). Four Keys to Managing Emergence. MIT Sloan Management Review, 47, 2, 14-18.

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