Systems, man, and the paradox of structure

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4 Scopus citations


The design, creation, and analysis of structure are central to both science and engineering. The Paradox of Structure is that, whatever its nature, any structure is both enabling and limiting at the same time. Each person manages this paradox differently, as described by the Adaption-Innovation theory of M. J. Kirton. This paper provides a summary of key points in Adaption-Innovation theory, as well as some of its applications in engineering research and education, including a new initiative by the author to explore the relationship between the cognitive styles of inventors and the types of inventions they create. The Paradox of Structure is also discussed here in the context of technical systems, with specific examples to illustrate its impact on the development of new ideas. Finally, the ramifications of this paradox are considered as the boundaries of science and engineering are moved forward in an age of increased vigilance and system security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2374-2380
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics
StatePublished - Nov 24 2003
EventSystem Security and Assurance - Washington, DC, United States
Duration: Oct 5 2003Oct 8 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Hardware and Architecture


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