at the Doctoral Program in Complexity Sciences

Guido Willemsen

On the applicability of agent-based organization structures with intensive and continuous (group) dialectics

When will companies be successful? Probably, when they add value. But what is valuable? And for whom? And how to organize value adding activities? These are typical questions which gain interest of Guido Willemsen. In the past 25 years, Guido has supported companies to understand their building blocks to become successful. From pragmatic, holistic architecture principles, based on complex systems design, he has designed, modelled, created, and implemented organization structures, management models, operational processes and control frameworks in tens of companies in several industries. But almost each company, even the most competitive and efficient ones, is energy intensive and are liable to disturbances. Self-organization, resilience and non-linearity is hardly found in todays enterprises. With the exponential growth in the need for data processing today and in the near future, organizations seem to have no other choice than adopting complexity principles to become and stay viable.

After so many years of practical experience, he decided to sell is consulting company and dive into scientific research of complexity science. His main concern is to develop and apply pragmatic mechanisms to gain a structural competitive advantage over competitors. This resulted in research which combines two areas: Multi-Agent Systems and Complex Responsive Processes.

When employees or employers in an organization act, they will do that for a specific reason. They act according to their Beliefs, Desires and Intentions. When an activity does not give them a satisfactory result, they will not act and start doing something else. But when they meet their objectives, they become happy and will repeat their actions. A simple mechanism which actually defines the foundation for a successful organization. These people could be seen as actors or agents. And when all these agents in an organization (or even outside the boundaries or non-human activity) interact, magic will happen. This behavior is modelled in Multi-Agent Systems.

The other pilar of research is the theory of Complex Responsive Processes of Relating. In this theory, when people interact, they form groups which are organized around specific themes. The perception of the environment by individuals is determined by the dominant logic of the group where they belong to. These individuals create information out of data according to the filters they apply on the environment and the logic they use in analysis. A change of group could directly influence the environmental perception and so, the behavior of each individual. This mechanism is well known in marketing, where customer behavior is influenced by campaigns and marketing communication. But what if the organization pushes it boundaries both up-and downwards to include business partners, vendors, and customers in their organizational dynamics? Cooperation will emerge around mutual stakes and opportunity spaces could be created or changed in their own advantage.

Bringing the theories of Multi-Agent Systems and Complex Responsive Processes together could result in exciting new viewpoints in organizational science and business (process) management. The research of Guido is focussed on the applicability of agent-based organization structures with intensive and continuous (group) dialectics. This should result in a more efficient processing of data and improved control in achieving agents Beliefs, Desires and Intentions. Or, to put it in other words, find a more resilient organization structure with complex responsive processes which add more value than contemporary companies do. At the end, my findings should improve the data processing capabilities and so the success rate of companies.


  • Willemsen, G. The next step in Complex Responsive Processes: Collaborative decision-making in Business Process Management. 2020-21 PhDCS Winter Doctoral Workshop. January 2021.