Sample Public Administration Essay Paper on Chaos Theory and Strategy


The argument by David Levy that history does not repeat itself implies that the society cannot learn much about the future through studies of the past. The opinion of Levy opposes the normal approach of management, which considers the environment and problems in the society as static or “frozen in time”. Instead, it treats the society or environment and its challenges and opportunities as fluid (changing with time) (Levy, 1994; Nieto-Gomez, 2011). In the field of management, Levy’s ideas promote the notion that the environment features evolving challenges that require continuous assessment according to particular contexts, such that different solutions are necessary at different times to address the challenges.

If I were an emergency manager who believed that Levy’s opinion was true, I would treat my day-to-day work as an opportunity for incessant learning and the development of continuously creative solutions to address constantly evolving challenges. Rather than applying established theory or knowledge based on a deep understanding of the past or adhering to a specific theory or way of doing things, I would focus on assessing the particular features, scopes, and implications of problems in the management environment to decide the varieties of actions that fit each situation individually. Instead of considering the management field and its challenges as static and requiring the application of established policies, I would treat them as a mutating or evolving ecosystem with different needs at different times (Nieto-Gomez, 2011). In this case, I would have the responsibility to evaluate the set of actions that suits each particular situation the best to yield the best outcome.

As an emergency manager, I would treat the environment or field of management as a chaotic system in whose control long-term planning is difficult. As a concept, the chaotic system has a basis on the chaos theory in deterministic dynamics and other fields, including business intelligence. The concept proposes that the complexity of systems involved in an event or equation could influence the occurrence of random events. Scientists have discovered that the results of particular sequences of equations can yield different outcomes contrary to expectations because of prevalent conditions each time. Slight changes in the initial conditions of the environment (which are beyond the abilities of human beings to measure) can yield varying results of a particular sequence of actions (Levy, 1994). This means that predictions of the future outcomes of a set of actions are impossible.

This approach reflects the need to treat the current state of the environment as only an instant in the evolving, complex, and randomized system that the manager has to control. This means that forecasting the possibility of particular events and the effectiveness of application of particular actions would be an impractical approach (Nieto-Gomez, 2011). I would adopt the approach of understanding that each state or problem in the environment is different and requires a separate assessment to identify the best solutions. In effect, I would influence the emergency management community to disregard tools such as trend analysis or planning, which emphasize on uncomplicated or linear interactions between the environment and human beings, in favor of focus to address each situation or challenge as it arises and according to its specific causes, scope, features, and implications. I would adopt the attitude that the approaches or solutions that worked in a previous case of management may not work in a future case despite the similarity of the two cases.


Levy, D. (1994). Chaos Theory and Strategy: Theory, Application, and Managerial Applications. Strategic Management Journal 15: 167-178. Retrieved from:

Nieto-Gomez, R. (2011). The Power of “the few”: A Key Strategic Challenge for the permanently disrupted High-tech Homeland Security Environment. Homeland Security Affairs 7 (18). Retrieved from: