Self-Organization and Management of Social Systems: Insights, Promises, Doubts, and Questions

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Self-organization of systems belonging to quite different discipl ines has been a central topic of synergetics since its beginning. I am therefore particularly plea- sed that Hans Ulrich and Gilbert Probst have not only undertaken to organize an interdisciplinary meeting on Self-Organization and Management of Social Systems, but have also edited these articles written by leading scientists after and based upon that symposium. While the previous volumes of the Springer Series in Synergetics were mainly de- voted to physical, chemical and biological systems, with only the book by W. Weidlich and G. Haag deal i ng with Quant i tat i ve Soc i 01 ogy (Spri nger Ser. Syn., Vo 1. 14), the present volume opens a new perspective. As the reader will notice, the multitude of facets of self-organization is well reflected by various authors belonging to different discipl ines and representing different schools of thought. When such a wide scope of fields - ranging from phy- sics to sociology - is covered, it is not surprising that the existence of a hiatus between sociology and the natural sciences was felt by some participants.