• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Chaos theory derives from physics and mathematics, and is a form of systems theory that seeks to describe highly complex and disordered systems, such as the atmosphere; although some attempts have been made to apply chaos theory to both the social and ecological sciences. The theory states that complex and seemingly chaotic systems, whose structure cannot be described by linear mathematics, are actually underwritten by orderly processes, an idea that has been termed deterministic chaos. The theory utilizes nonlinear mathematics to describe these systems, and attempts to understand change in terms of the values that the variables take on, in contrast to the related complexity theory, which seeks to explain change in terms of variability from outside the system in question. In rejecting linearity, ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles