CAS (Complex Adaptive Systems)

Complex Adaptive Systems (also known as Complexity Theory)- this theory is about the systemic process that change posesses. CAS consists of a collection of individual agents with freedom to act in ways that are not totally predictable. The actions are interconnected so that one agent’s actions changes the context for other agents. In other words, once change occurs it affects the systems within the intimate relationship they share. CAS is highly disciplinary, seeks answers structural questions about living, adapting, and the process of changing systems. CAS is highly influenced by revolutionary and evolution that the world has been exposed to.


An example of CAS are communities themselves. Taking a deep look at communities we see why they exist, how they adapt, and change when they are influenced by other factors. However, this theory could be adapted in any context where people are working towards social justice. As well as we can see how CAS is embedded in the entirety of political parties. Moreover, CAS can be of assistance in a community setting to help us steer away from generalizing the situation that is taking place. As well as better understand what theories are of value in a given situation at that specific time. It always us to look at the bigger picture that "change is here to stay." If we can recognize the inevitable role that change plays then it will help us understand the necessary steps taken to achieve change within the world.


Complex Adaptive theory emphasizes the importance of understanding that change is constant and inevitable. You can't stop it and you can't start it, you can't prevent it, adaptation is continuous. Through a CAS theory lens, the question is not how to create or plan change, but how to adapt to and navigate change. Control of a CAS tends to be highly dispersed and decentralized. Complex systems are embedded with other systems and co-evolve. CAS theory acknowledges that multiple sources of change are occurring simultaneously. A system’s history is irreversible and the future is often unpredictable. A small input can have an unanticipated large effect. CAS theory can be viewed as a meta-theory which provides a way of organizing and relating a range of other theories. In this way, complexity theory reconciles potentially conflicting models by demonstrating how each theory is of value in certain contexts at certain times and for certain people.

1 comment:

  1. This model is used in my book, the well-connected community: a networking approach to community development. £rd edition will be published later this year (2019). You might want to take a look. best wishes,
    Alison Gilchrist