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  1. West, Bruce J. PhD, FAPS, FARL
  2. Clancy, Thomas R. PhD, MBA, RN


As systems evolve over time, their natural tendency is to become increasingly more complex. Studies in the field of complex systems have generated new perspectives on management in social organizations such as hospitals. Much of this research appears as a natural extension of the cross-disciplinary field of systems theory. This is the 16th in a series of articles applying complex systems science to the traditional management concepts of planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling. In this article, Dr Clancy, the editor of this column, and coauthor, Dr West, discuss how the collapse of global financial markets in 2008 may provide valuable insight into mechanisms of complex system behavior in healthcare. Dr West, a physicist and expert in the field of complex systems and network science, is author of a chapter in the book, On the Edge: Nursing in the Age of Complexity (Lindberg C, Nash S, Linberg C. Bordertown, NJ: Plexus Press; 2008) and his most recent book, Disrupted Networks: From Physics to Climate Change (West BJ, Scafetta N. Singapore: Disrupted Networks, World Scientific Publishing; 2010).