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Durham e-Theses
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The emergence of self-organisation in social systems: the case of the geographic industrial clusters

Andriani, Pierpaolo (2003) The emergence of self-organisation in social systems: the case of the geographic industrial clusters. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The objective of this work is to use complexity theory to propose a new interpretation of industrial clusters. Industrial clusters constitute a specific type of econosphere, whose driving principles are self-organisation, economies of diversity and a configuration that optimises the exploration of diversity starting from the configuration of connectivity of the system. This work shows the centrality of diversity by linking complexity theory (intended as "a method for understanding diversity"') to different concepts such as power law distributions, self-organisation, autocatalytic cycles and connectivity.I propose a method to distinguish self-organising from non self-organising agglomerations, based on the correlation between self-organising dynamics and power law network theories. Self-organised criticality, rank-size rule and scale-free networks theories become three aspects indicating a common underlying pattern, i.e. the edge of chaos dynamic. I propose a general model of development of industrial clusters, based on the mutual interaction between social and economic autocatalytic cycle. Starting from Kauffman's idea(^2) on the autocatalytic properties of diversity, I illustrate how the loops of the economies of diversity are based on the expansion of systemic diversity (product of diversity and connectivity). My thesis provides a way to measure systemic diversity. In particular I introduce the distinction between modular innovation at the agent level and architectural innovation at the network level and show that the cluster constitutes an appropriate organisational form to manage the tension and dynamics of simultaneous modular and architectural innovation. The thesis is structured around two propositions: 1. Self-organising systems are closer to a power law than hierarchical systems or aggregates (collection of parts). For industrial agglomerations (SLLs), the closeness to a power law is related to the degree of self-organisation present in the agglomeration, and emerges in the agglomeration’s structural and/or behavioural properties subject to self-organising dynamic.2. Self-organising systems maximise the product of diversity times connectivity at a rate higher than hierarchical systems.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2003
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 11:35

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