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Managing complexity: A systems approach – introduction
Managing complexity: A systems approach – introduction

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7.4 Complexity from someone else's perspective

You may already have noticed, and included, the author of the case study in your rich picture. The clues that this is necessary are in Figure 5 and in my comments about epistemology in the introduction to the unit. Just how important the writer of the case study is becomes obvious when you consider almost all the detail you have access to in this situation probably comes through that person's writing. Even if you have first hand experience, and are aware of all the intricacies of the situation described, it is the author of the case study who has largely defined the situation – an element of pre-structuring that needs to be recognised.

At this stage, it is not appropriate to try and evaluate just how much this person's view of the situation – whatever that view is – has influenced yours. But it undoubtedly has. Including the author in your picture is simply a recognition that, in writing the case study, she went through a process of deciding what was relevant; sorting what she would include and what she would leave out; she ordered it into a readable bit of text; and she made some judgements about when to use quotations and when to simply report. Just include the writer as an element of the picture, don't try and impose structure or i