Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! A complexity science view of the unexpected

Health Care Manage Rev. 2003 Jul-Sep;28(3):266-78. doi: 10.1097/00004010-200307000-00008.


Surprise can emanate from two sources: lack of sufficient information or knowledge and the basic dynamics of complex adaptive systems. The authors expand the traditional view of surprise with a complexity perspective that makes it possible to ask new questions and to consider new ways of understanding the world around us. They discuss creativity and learning as two strategies for capitalizing on the surprises that confront organizations.

MeSH terms

  • Creativity*
  • Health Services Administration*
  • Humans
  • Organizational Culture
  • Organizational Innovation*
  • Systems Analysis
  • Uncertainty