Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Thomas Morgan

Second Advisor

Garry Hesser


Local governnent agencies are experiencing changes that are making the delivery of essential services more challenging. These changes can largely be attributed to increasing demands for more services while budgets are reduced. That trend, combined with globalization, rapid advancements in technology, changing demographics, and other factors limit the ability of agencies to adapt and react to change fast enough. In more recent years, the rate of change has accelerated to the point that traditional methods of planning and adapting to change no longer work. Many organizations feel overwhelmed and helpless. The factors driving change influence each other in complex ways that are often difficult to see and understand. Recent scholarly and professional research has been addressing this issue through "complexity theories." Included are sub-theories such as chaos theory, complex adaptive systems, and the application of natural systems, or "the new science." This paper presents an argument that local government agencies need to consider the application of specific elements of complexity theory and new science to their operations, particularly if they wish to be innovative. A description of new science in a broad and holistic manner, combined with specific examples for application is presented to provide support for this argument.


SC 11.MAL.2011.Brink.SA