Visa founder Dee Hock coined the term "chaord" (chaos+order):
Chaord [kay'-ord], n., fr E. chaos and order. 1. any self-organizing, self-governing, adaptive, nonlinear, complex organism, organization, community or system, whether physical, biological or social, the behavior of which harmoniously blends characteristics of both chaos and order. 2. an entity whose behavior exhibits observable patterns and probabilities not governed or explained by the rules that govern or explain its constituent parts.
Chaordic [kay'-ordic], adj., fr E. chaos and order. 1. the behavior of any self-governing organism, organization or system which harmoniously blends characteristics of order and chaos. 2. patterned in a way dominated by neither chaos or order. 3. characteristic of the fundamental organizing principles of evolution and nature.
"In the chaordic age success will depend less on rote and more on reason; less on authority of the few and more on the judgement of many; less on compulsion and more on motivation; less on external control of people and more on internal discipline." - The Art of Chaordic Leadership
I was discussing e-learning over lunch today with Laura, one of my project partners. We realized that what we were talking about was e-learning, yes, but more than that, it may be how blogs and other software tools help to foster chaordic learning communities.
We talked about how the online learning spectrum goes from e-training, a very structured, top-down, no dialogue, instructor centered method (basically just presenting training material online) to the blogosphere, a learning community which harmoniously blends both the chaos of the the web, and order.
The web is chaos, a jumble of non-contextual information. The blogosphere is a collection of loosely defined learning communities from which chaordic learning often erupts spontaneously by giving context to that information. In most cases, it is simply when a group of two or more bloggers engage in a short conversation about a certain topic of shared interest. It may consist of only one or two posts on the topic per blog, connected by comments or trackbacks. Each blogger learns something from the other, and the conversation ends.
Sometimes, the chaordic learning takes the form of a group of bloggers who share a common interest in a certain topic, consistently writing about it, learning from each other, but still dependent on the short conversations with others outside of their own learning community to bring new information and insights into the larger conversation.
This raises the question, how can organizations use web-log tools to promote (or remove barriers to) the eruption and sustenance of such learning communities for specific purposes, without imposing too much structure, allowing them to maintain their chaordic properties?
What are properties of a chaordic learning community you ask? Good question, and one that would be interesting to study, but for now I am going to use L.A. Fitzgerald's five properties of a chaortic organization as a template to see if blogging fits.
Of course, part of our hidden agenda in presenting web-logs to the class is to give them a compelling glimpse of how we can, with web-logs, continue our learning as we leave this program. The question there is where on the chaordic spectrum is most desirable? On the one hand, we could all just "have" blogs, with no intentional learning community, in which case some chaordic learning conversations would emerge every now and then. Or, can we attempt to create an intentional learning community, centered on shared themes, with the hopes that this would enhance our learning and the strength of our network. In other words, how much order can we intentionally inject without loosing the self-organizing aspect? What are the properties necessary to keep such a conversation going for a prolonged period without breaking it?
Nice to see the word "Indeterminacy" on a website! I usually associate that word with the late avant-garde American modern music composer John Cage, and he used the word to refer to improvised/spontaneous music. I enjoy reading your stuff. - Ron in L.A.