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The tyranny of small steps: A reoccurring behaviour in management

  • Hördur Haraldsson
  • Harald Sverdrup
  • Salim Belyazid
  • Johan Holmqvist
  • Robin C J Gramstad
Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 25-43
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Systems Research and Behavioral Science
Volym: 25
Nummer: 1
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: John Wiley & Sons


The Tyranny of Small Steps (TYST) behaviour has been investigated. Explained through a systemic perspective, the behaviour TYST is an unwanted change to a system through a series of small activities that may be independent from one another. These activities are small enough not to be detected by the 'surveillance' within the system, but significant enough to encroach upon the 'tolerance zone' of the system and compromise integrity of the system. TYST is an unintentional process that is experienced within the system and made possible by the lack of transparency between an overarching level and a local level where the encroachment is taking place. The Orby case study illustrates a real life manifestation of the TYST behaviour in management and planning. The TYST illustrates the necessity for total transparency in any systems in order to avoid unintended consequence. The TYST process may be regarded as a part of wide range of complex systems but depending on the conditions, it can remain dormant, and only become active when the conditions for lack of transparency are fulfilled.


  • Chemical Engineering
  • management
  • archetypes
  • planning
  • system dynamics
  • reoccurring behaviour


  • ISSN: 1099-1743

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