Chaos, strategy, and action: How not to fiddle while Rome Burns

Fred Phillips, Yu Shan Su*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The US financial meltdown has changed companies' situations not just fundamentally but pervasively. Institutions and channels of supply and communication have disappeared or become unreliable; we are literally managing in chaos, and traditional notions of strategy, planning, and implementation must be (temporarily, it is to be hoped) discarded. This presentation draws on classic management theory, newer ideas, and experiences from technology companies to outline principles for managing for survival in times of chaos. It introduces new management cycles as alternatives to Fayol's classic management cycle, and a corresponding taxonomy of organizational situations, including stable, chaos, edge of chaos, and disaster. It aims for a clear synthesis suitable for management education and training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1340030
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation and Technology Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Dec


  • Management cycle
  • chaos
  • management styles
  • strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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