Social Entrepreneur

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Research Insights

Quantum Theory of Social Dynamics

My research focuses on the rise and fall of ideas within collaborative practice, and identifies group conflict as a common catalyst for innovative outcomes.

Cliff Notes:


In the conduct of collaborative practice, groups experience a continual pull and tug across four construct continuums I defined as: 

  • tall-flat governance, 
  • expedite-explore deliberations, 
  • control-create idea generation, and 
  • electron-proton behaviors.

My dissertation research looked at interactions between group members. I assigned sentiment rankings for each interaction. Plotted over time, sentiment analysis illustrates successive waves of positive and negative interactions during deliberation around development and implementation of ideas and processes.

I describe these findings using scientific metaphors from atomic physics and quantum mechanics. From my perspective, the behaviors of individual group members resemble subatomic particle behaviors, while the group interactions resemble quantum theory wave behaviors, such as light waves.

In science, the quantum revolution resolved the dilemma of wave and particle behaviors of matter and energy. I believe these behaviors witnessed in the physical world are mirrored by human nature in the duality of the conduct and behavior of individuals and their interconnected interactions in group practice. These interactions affect the rise and fall (wave) of ideas.

The particle-wave duality in quantum theory sparked my idea for what I call the quantum theory of social dynamics. The proposed theory applies to the conduct of group practice, behaviors exhibited by individuals and groups of individuals, and the generation of ideas evoked by disruption through social interactions.

My proposed theoretical tenets may shed light on the broader understanding of the social dynamics embedded in group practice: 

  1. group practice is convened around and bound by a shared goal – the strong force;
  2. individual actions influence the conduct of group practice in positive and negative ways; 
  3. individuals convened in group practice interact with one another through interconnected wave patterns of sentiment that affect the rise and fall of ideas; 
  4. individual behaviors and group interactions fluctuate in dynamic patterns of interference that disrupt the conduct of group practice; 
  5. individuals and groups of individuals mutually reinforce one another and amplify ideas with in-phase behaviors, while obstructing people and progress with out-of-phase behaviors; 
  6. disruptive thinking is a discomfort factor necessary for idea generation in a socially constructed world; and 
  7. creativity that arises in response to disruption can evoke idea-generation, new knowledge, and new ways of knowing.   

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As an outcome-based social scientist and career civil servant, I'm fascinated by organizational dynamics and governance processes, and believe non-traditional collaborative partnerships offer unexpected and untapped ways to resolve intractable issues facing society. If you have complex issues you want a new set of eyes on, I would love to explore options with you.

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