Call for papers - Kybernetes

Product Information:-

  • Journals
  • Books
  • Case Studies
  • Regional information
Real World Research - #RealWorldResearch
Request a service from our experts.

Exaptation, bricolage, and vicariance: When metaphors shed new light on complex social systems

Special issue call for papers from Kybernetes

Guest editors:

Prof. Primiano Di Nauta -
Prof. Marcello Martinez -
Prof. Cristina Simone -

About the Special Issue:

The aim of the issue is to promote and attract contributions on issues such as exaptation, bricolage and vicariance as innovation detonators in social organizations, and more generally in complex socio-economic systems.

This special issue deals with social systems as emerging, unpredictable, nonlinear (i.e., complex) phenomena. It aims to shed new light on complex social systems by proposing original metaphors, such as those of exaptation (Gould and Vrba, 1982; Lewontin 1991), bricolage (Levi-Strauss, 1962), and vicariance (Reuchlin, 1978; Lautrey, 2002; Uexküll, 1933; Berthoz, 2013). These metaphors were born in multidisciplinary fields (sociology, psychology, neurosciences, and biology), and address new insightful perspectives in order to deepen the protean nature of social systems and their complex evolutionary path. Using concepts such as self-organization, emergence, dissipative structures, nonlinearity, coevolution, learning, chaos, fractals, catastrophes, and crises, the perspective on complexity has greatly contributed to the understanding of social systems.

According to this perspective, social systems are not qualified in terms of linearity, but in terms of openings and breakages: emerging, rubber landscapes, in which islands of development and islands of hindered development coexist. According to this, the becoming of a social system arises in an open Popperian logic, emerging from a recursive cycle of hypotheses and rejection of hypotheses. This is not the product of engineering activity, but the result of the collective intelligence of a choral bricolage. This interpretative framework can be further enriched by hybridizing the existing state of the art with research contributions on exaptation, bricolage, and vicariance.
Moving from multidisciplinary fields of research, this special issue aims to attract papers that, by focusing on exaptation, bricolage, and vicariance, can promote a new way of knowing (epistemology) and a new observational perspective (metaphysics) on complex social systems.

In this perspective, topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Exaptation, bricolage, and vicariance in complex social systems
  • People, technology, and governance in complex social systems
  • Systems thinking, systems dynamics, and social ecosystems
  • Systems design and thinking for supporting innovation
  • The role of the management of human resources in promoting knowledge and innovation
  • The role of information systems and big data analytics in knowledge and innovation
  • Tinkering, bricolage, and information systems
  • Lateral thinking, creativity, and design thinking
  • Cybernetic principles and applications for platforms and modularity
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Submission guidelines

The deadline for papers submission is March, 30th 2019.

Papers submitted must be original, and comply with submission guidelines for Kybernetes. Papers must be submitted via the journal review management website. All articles will be subjected to a rigorous double blind peer review process. Initial enquiries can be made through email to the Guest Editor in the first instance.


Arthur W.B. (2009). The nature of technology: What it is and how it evolves. Simon and Schuster.
Ashby H.R. (1958). General systems theory as a new discipline. General Systems, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 1-6 (Yearbook of the Society for the Advancement of General Systems Theory).
Badinelli R., Barile S., Ng I.C.L., Polese F., Saviano M., Di Nauta P. (2012). Viable service systems and decision making in service management. Journal of Service Management, vol. 23, issue 4, 498-526.
Barile S., Di Nauta P., Iandolo F. (2016). La decostruzione della complessità. Studi MOA – Collana di Management e Organizzazione Aziendale, Editrice Minerva Bancaria, Roma.
Barile S., Lusch R., Reynoso J., Saviano M., Spohrer J. (2016). Systems, networks, and ecosystems in service research. Journal of Service Management, vol. 27, 563-590.
Barile S., Saviano M., Polese F., Di Nauta P. (2012). Reflections on service systems boundaries: A viable systems perspective. The case of the London Borough of Sutton. European Management Journal, vol. 30, issue 5, 451-465.
Barile S., Simone C., Calabrese M. (2017). Economies (and diseconomies) of distributed technologies. Kybernetes, 46(5).
Beer S. (1981). Brain of the Firm (Second Edition). John Wiley, Chichester.
Beer S. (1985). Diagnosing the system for organization. John Wiley, Chichester.
Berthoz A. (2013). Vicariance (La): Le cerveau créateur de mondes. Odile Jacob.
Bocchi G., Ceruti M. (1985) (a cura di). La sfida della complessità. Bruno Mondadori, Milano.
Capra F., Luisi P.L. (2014). The Systems View of Life. A Unifying Vision. Cambridge University Press.
Ciborra C.U. (1992). From thinking to tinkering: The grassroots of strategic information systems. The Information Society, 8:4, 297-309. European Journal of Information Systems, Volume 14 Issue 5.
De Toni A.F., De Zan G. (2015). Il dilemma della complessità. Marsilio.
Dominici G. Vasja Roblek V., Lombardi R. (2015). A Holistic Approach to Comprehending the Complexity of the Post-Growth Era: The Emerging Profile. Chaos, Complexity and Leadership. Springer International Publishing.
Espejo R., Reyes A. (2011). Organizational Systems. Managing complexity with the Viable Systems Model. Springer.
Espejo R. (2017). Organisational Systems and Innovation. Prospettive in Organizzazione, 6/2017, ASSIOA.
Faggioni F., Simone C. (2009). Le declinazioni della complessità. Ordine, caos e sistemi complessi. Sinergie, n. 79, May-August, 3-45.
Foerster von H. (1981). Observing System. Intersystems Publications, Seaside, California.
Gould S.J., Vrba E.S. (1982). Exaptation-A Missing Term in the Science of Form. Cambridge University Press.
Hayek von F.A. (1967). The Theory of Complex Phenomena. Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Toutledge&Keagen Paul, London.
Holland J. (1975). Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Kauffman S., Lobo J., Macready W.G. (1998). Optimal Search on technology Landscape. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organizaiton, 10.
Kauffman S.A. (1993), The Origin of Order. Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution, Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.
Levi-Strauss C. (1966). The savage mind. Chicago, Univ. of Chicago Press.
Martinez M., Di Nauta P., Sarno D. (2017). Real and Apparent Changes of Organizational Processes in the Era of Big Data Analytics. Studi Organizzativi, n. 2/2017, Franco Angeli.
Maturana H.R., Varela F.J. (1985). Autopoiesis and Cognition. The realization of the Living. D. Reidel Publishing Company, Holland.
Metcalf G.S. (Eds.) (2014). Social Systems and Design. Springer Japan.
Morin E. (1993). Introduzione al pensiero complesso. Sperling&Kupfer, Milano.
North D.C. (2006). Understanding the process of economic change. Academic foundation.
Polese F., Carrubbo L., Bruni R. (2017). The viable system perspective of actors in eco-systems. TQM Journal 29(4).
Polese F., Di Nauta P. (2013). A Viable Systems Approach to Relationship Management in S-D Logic and Service Science. Die Betriebswirtschaft. Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag für Wirtschaft∙Steuern∙Recht GmbH, vol. 73, n. 2, 113-129.
Polese F., Mele C., Gummesson E. (2017). Value co-creation as a complex adaptive process. Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 27 Issue: 5, pp.926-929.
Reuchlin M. (1978). Processus vicariants et différences individuelles. Journal de psychologie.
Romer P.M. (1990). Endogenous technological change. Journal of political Economy, 98(5, Part 2), S71-S102.
Rosenberg N. (1982). Inside the black box: technology and economics. Cambridge University Press.
Saviano M., Barile S.,  Spohrer J., Caputo F. (2017). A service research contribution to the global challenge of sustainability. Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 27 Issue: 5, pp. 951-976.
Saviano, M., Bassano, C., & Calabrese, M. (2010). A VSA-SS approach to healthcare service systems the triple target of efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability. Service Science, 2(1-2), 41-61.
Schumpeter J.A. (1934). The theory of economic development: An inquiry into profits, capital, credit, interest, and the business cycle (Vol. 55). Transaction publishers.
Simon H.A. (1962). The architecture of complexity. Proceeding of the American Philosophical Society, 106 (62), pp. 467-482.
Sterman J. (1994). Learning in and about complex systems. System Dynamics Review, 10(2–3), 291-330.
Sterman J. (2000). Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World. McGraw- Hill/Irwin.
Waldrop M.M. (1995). Complessità. Uomini e idee al confine tra ordine e caos. Instar Libri, 1995, Torino.
Weick K. (1993). The collapse of sense making in organizations: the Mann Gulch disaster. Administrative Science Quarterly, 628-652.
Winograd T., Flores F. (1986). Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design, Addison-Wesley Professional.