Planning for Higher Education Journal

Can Chaos Theory Improve Planning?

Journal Cover
From Volume 25 Number 2 | Winter 1996–1997
By Marc Cutright

Contends that many planning efforts are unsuccessful because they fail to account for luck, chance, idiosyncrasies, or unplanned conflict. In short, human behavior is unpredictable, and too many plans demand that it be orderly and rational. However, the author asserts that an understanding of chaos theory as applied to human behavior may help planners improve the success rates when attempting to implement strategic change. Keeping this theory in mind, plans should be: short-term and flexible; multifaceted and interactive; sensitive to organizational goals and motivators; and able to receive and interpret feedback appropriately.

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