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Synchronicity: a post-structuralist guide to creativity and change
T h e cu rre n t iss u e a n d fu l tex t a rch iv e o f th is jo u rn a l is a v a ila b le a t
a post-structuralist guide to
creativity and change
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA
Revised January 2002Accepted January 2002
Keywords Jungian psychology, Creativity, Organizational change
Abstract Synchronicity was coined by Jung in 1955 to refer to the meaningful and acausal, or
chance, correlation between an inner and outer event. Insofar as creativity is dependent upon
chance for novelty, then creativity and synchronicity may have a supportive relationship. This
paper uses narrative to explore the role of paradox in meaning, in chance, and in creativity. The
nature of synchronicity, the relationship between synchronicity and creativity, and the
implications of this relationship for management are discussed. Such implications include
encouraging multiple points of view, understanding the role of emotion in creativity, allowing for
movement across metaphorical and physical boundaries, honoring the body, and maintaining a
lightness (with humor zand joy) with which to adapt to inevitable ``accidents’’.
In this invitation to contribute our thoughts, theories, and observations on the
ideas of C.G. Jung, I am emboldened to discuss synchronicity
, a termed coined
by Jung to refer to the meaningful and acausal correlation between an inner and
outer event, or a meaningful coincidence ( Jung, 1955). Jung (1955) himself
resisted writing about synchronicity for years, due to the ``difficulties of the
problem and its presentation,’’ finally doing so after his ``experiences of the
phenomenon of synchronicity multiplied themselves over the decades’’ ( Jung,
1955, p. 5). One of these experiences was with a bug:
One of my patients has a dream in which someone had given her a beautiful scarab, a costlypiece of jewelry. While she is telling me this dream, a large insect starts tapping on thewindow, in an obvious effort to get into the dark room. I open the window and catch the bug:it is a gold-green bug that closely resembles the scarab in the woman’s dream. I hand thebeetle to the patient, saying, ` Here is your scarab.’’ She opens to the arational, and becomesopen to change and healing.
I am walking with a woman patient in the wood, when she starts to tell me about animportant dream about a fox coming downstairs in her parents’ home. At this moment, a realfox comes out of the trees not forty yards away and walks quietly on the path ahead of us forseveral minutes, as if a partner in the situation.
A third is with a dream and a research project:
I am investigating the non-linear psychological development of the self, and I have a dreamabout a well-fortified golden castle. I am painting this image in the center of a mandala when I
Journal of Organizational ChangeManagement,
receive The Secret of the Golden Flower
from Richard Wilhelm with a request to write a
Vol. 15 No. 5, 2002, pp. 490-501.
# MCB UP Limited, 0953-4814DOI 10.1108/09534810210440351
Acknowledgements are extended to Jim Cashman, a true leader who listens.
commentary on it. This text confirms my ideas about the mandala and the circumambulation
of the center. Also, Richard Wilhelm’s book describes the picture I am drawing: the yellow post-structuralist
castle is the germ of the immortal body. This is a great synchronicity for me.
I, too, developed an interest in synchronicity as my experiences withcoincidences grew more numerous and meaningful. Synchronicity is narrative;it grows out of the paradox of our own life story: changing and timeless, uniqueand mythic, subject and object, inner and outer, part and whole (Hopke, 1997):
Each of our lives is a story, and synchronistic events call our attention to the structure of thestory . . . Those unique coincidences which we call synchronistic make us aware, again andagain, of the beauty, order, and connectedness of the tales we are living (pp. 13-14).
Synchronicity is paradoxical. Related to the word ` synchronize,’’ there is anelement of meaningful coordination of events in time: synchronized swimming,for example, indicates planning and implies a creative or choreographic act. Onthe other hand, related to ``synchronic,’ synchronistic events exist at one pointin time without reference to history. Synchronicity points up the paradox oftime, and therefore of change: it is both continuous and discontinuous. Thispaper explores the nature of synchronicity and the ways in whichsynchronicity may play a part in meaningful change. In particular, therelationship between synchronicity and creativity is highlighted.
Synchronicity supports creative interactions between self and world. It
highlights the unique and the mythic. With synchronicity, meaning is morethan a cognition; it is a physical and emotional charge resulting from anexperience of the force uniting inner and outer reality. Beyond understandingin causal terms, synchronicity is an archetypal experience of meaning, andmeaningfulness, from the ``inside out.’ The synchronicities in my own life andin the life of my loved ones have been very meaningful. In this paper I use myown life to address the following three questions: What is synchronicity? Howare synchronicity and creativity related? What are synchronicity’s lessons forchange management? Interweaving my own story with that of this text ismetaphorical for the lessons of synchronicity: the joining together of self andworld.
Q1: what is synchronicity?
What synchronicity means
has been the subject of speculation for some time,
its acausal nature makes it a challenge for traditional research methods, and its
phenomenological roots (individual meaning) make adequate sample sizes
problematic. Still, in my life, synchronicity has contributed to a sense of hope,
of appropriateness, of being ``in the right place at the right time,’ and of unity
with a larger wholeness. These feelings fuel my interest in understanding the
phenomenon and my hope to share it with those at the heart of modern culture,
people at work.
Synchronicity is a connecting principle (when cause and effect are eliminated by theimpossibility of any rational explanation) between our psyches and an external event, inwhich we feel an uncanny sense of inner and outer being linked. In the experience of asynchronistic event, instead of feeling ourselves to be separated and isolated entities in a vast
world we feel the connection to others and the universe at a deep and meaningful level (Bolen,
At the heart of any investigation into synchronicity is the nature of chance, incounterpoint to the dominant paradigm of causality ( Jung, 1955). One cannotpredict the occurrence of chance (Hyde, 1998); it embodies uncertainty, which isof serious concern to change managers (Milliken, 1987; Thompson, 1977) as
they consider the environment (Fry, 1982; Hrebiniak and Joyce, 1985;Nightengale and Toulouse, 1977; Van de Ven and Drazin, 1985) and preferchange initiatives that guarantee results. Contingency, too, falls under thedomain of chance. Organizations, like cultures, ` regularly suffer fromcontingency; they bump into things they do not expect and cannot control’’(Hyde, 1998, p. 105). Because synchronicity is, by definition, meaningful,interpretation of those contingencies is an important variable. An importantpart of synchronicity, therefore, is a willingness to imagine that the events inour life may not be separate from us. Synchronistic experiences give us a cluethat the environment may not be totally ` other.’’ Our perception of theenvironment in turn affects the decisions we make (Sawyer, 1990; Jackson andDutton, 1988).
Cameron’s (1992, p. 3) book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher
, posits ``an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life ±including ourselves’’. Cameron argues that dedicating oneself to creativityleads to synchronicity, which she equates with answered prayers. However,answered prayers can be scary; they may require that we follow up on ourcreative urges.
Editing dissertations and raising three children, I still find a little time to do workbook andjournal exercises in The Artist’s Way
and so I begin to imagine what creative path my lifecould take. One of my clients tells me that I need to meet his management professor ± that theguy is a guru. Then I get a phone call from another management professor asking me to editsome journal articles. I tell this professor that I am thinking about going into management,and the next thing I know I am talking to the graduate coordinator, who offers me a positionand a thousand dollars a month.
Synchronicity has two qualities or direction of interpretation: outward andinward. The outward direction is better known as serendipity, discussed byMcCall and Bobko (1990) in Volume I of Dunnette and Hough’s (1990)Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology
: the making of fortunatediscoveries by accident. Serendipity, or ` happy accidents’’ led to such diversecreations as penicillin, electro-magnetism, and medications for diabetes (McCalland Bobko, 1990; Goswami, 1999). However, serendipity is related tosynchronicity through more than just its accidental character, more than theintrusion of an empirical ``outer’’ event onto another, such as the landing of thepenicillin mold onto a petri dish in Fleming’s laboratory while he was onvacation. Like synchronicity, serendipity involves the mind, through ``sagacity’or preparedness of mind (McCall and Bobko, 1990): a prepared mind ``has a kindof openness, holding its ideas lightly, and willing to have them exposed toimpurity and the unintended’ (Hyde, 1998, p. 140). Synchronicity is the
meaningful and acausal coincidence of two events, one inner and one outer. Synchronicity: a
Fleming’s ability to interpret the implications, the meaning of the presence of post-structuralist
bacteria on all surfaces except the petri dish, did not cause the wind to blow
bacteria in, nor vice-versa. It was the co-occurrence in proximal time of the twoincidents that led to the discovery of penicillin.
I’m in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua, and one of my friends invites me to join him on his trip to
visit our friends who are in Honduras because they got evacuated from their northernNicaragua sites when the fighting got too rough there. I tell him I’m not coming, but the nextday I go anyway. We arrive in Tegucigalpa, wondering where our friends are. Hungry, westop in a restaurant, and there are the friends. Also, the next morning we learn that a rebelattack in Nicaragua closed the borders just behind us.
The other aspect of synchronicity, in addition to its outer-oriented serendipity,is symbolic: the meaning of the event. Symbols bridge the inside to the outsideand hold the key to creativity (Deri, 1984). The inner-directed dimension ofsynchronicity emphasizes the meaningfulness of the co-occurrence. What is inone’s mind is reflected in outer events, though neither causes the other.
Synchronistic events take place in time, and have a different temporal` directionality’ from ``normal’’ occurrences. As causality refers from the past tothe present, so synchronicity seems to refer from the present to the future.
The experience of synchronicity is numinous: a ` nod from the Gods’’ (Von
Franz, 1992, p. 21) that we are on the right path. It is hopeful and deeplypersonal. In the above story of my exodus from Nicaragua, I had the strongsense that I was ` meant to be’’ out of harm’s way. A common theme tosynchronicity narratives is this sense of receiving support and guidance. Forexample, Jaworski (1996) made the commitment to quit his lucrative lawpractice and create a leadership institute: ``Things began falling into placealmost effortlessly ± unforeseen incidents and meetings with the mostremarkable people who were to provide crucial assistance to me’’ (p. 135). Atsuch times it feels as if hidden hands are helping you, as if you are living the lifethat you ought to be ( Joseph Campbell, cited in Jaworski, 1996).
Synchronicity has an effect without a cause. It is located in time, but it is
discontinuous. Being alert to synchronicity means being open to paradox.
Rather than believing that the role of research is to eliminate paradox in orderto assure control, Handy (1994, p. 13) now sees paradox as inevitable andperfection as ``neither possible nor, perhaps, desirable’’ (p. 13). Similarly, Wolf(1989, p. 205), in Taking the Quantum Leap
, claims that ``the world is alreadyparadoxical and fundamentally uncertain’’. Also paradoxical is the meaningfullink between the inner and outer world. Usually, person (or organization) andenvironment are assumed to be distinct. Synchronicity feels like a unitybetween them. The boundary areas between two distinct categories are often` ambiguous in implication and a source of conflict and anxiety’ (Leach, 1976,p. 34).
The paradoxical structure of the world as suggested by synchronicity can be
imagined as two circles, each containing exclusive contents, such as mythoughts and the world (see Figure 1).
When one experiences a synchronistic event, it is as if the normal categories
that make up ` reality’’ are challenged. Synchronicity is, therefore, not onlyacausal but also post-structural; it is the meaningful experience of thedeconstruction of the essentialism of the categories of inner and outer. In thisway, the previously firm categories become blurry, ambiguous, eventhreatened. And given the fundamental assumptions about ` in-ness’’ and ` out-
ness’’ in our culture, challenging those categories is a destabilizing maneuver toother cultural categories as well. Taking coincidence seriously is a way ofaltering, of creative changing, of the world:
Cultural categories shape this world, and whoever manages to change the categories thuschanges the shape. One kind of creative perception is always willing to take coincidenceseriously and weave it into the design of things (Hyde, 1998, p. 99).
Synchronicity, then, is located in the ambiguous boundary zone, and istherefore sacred, taboo, or both (Leach, 1976). This feeling of the presence of thesacred is a powerful emotion, and thus an important aid to the solving ofimpossible dilemmas, because emotionality draws energy away fromestablished rational patterns and allows creative contents from the unconsciousrealm to seep into awareness ( Jung, 1955). Setting paradoxical goals, such asthe union of opposites or the resolution of opposing forces, has ` an emotionaleffect right from the start, since [such goals] postulate something unknowableas being potentially knowable and in that way take the possibility of a miracleseriously into account’ ( Jung, 1955, p. 35).
Creativity is paradoxical, and therefore often sacred or taboo; many aspects
of creativity challenge either/or thinking. Origin stories are located in sacredmyths worldwide. ``The Creator’ means
the divine, eternal being or phenomena.
In Newtonian science, in which for every effect there had to be a known cause(and vice-versa), the `hand of God’ had set the machine in motion eons ago, andno one could stop it’’ (Wolf, 1989, p. 44); therefore, it was off-limits for scientiststo question the deterministic assumption. Doing so would challenge the sacredlimits within which all phenomena exist.
I was introduced to the overlapping circles in a critical theory class. The teacher explainedhow the area of overlap was, according to Leach, either sacred or taboo, and he gave examplesof the culturally taboo mixing of categories ± racial, sexual, class. I wondered what anexample of the sacred would be. Within a few days, I found an answer to my question in abook I’d inherited from my dad, entitled Owning Your Own Shadow
. In it, Johnson (1991)explained that in addition to the mandala, a sacred circle figure, there is a spiritual tradition of
inner (my thoughts) and
outer (the world)
the mandorla, an almond shaped segment at the intersection of two circles: ``Generally, the
mandorla is described as the overlap of heaven and earth’’ ( Johnson, 1991, p. 99).
Change is a sacred event; it creates a new kind of self (see Figure 2).
Q2: how are synchronicity and creativity related?
May (1959, p. 3) defines creativity as ``the encounter of the intensively conscious
human being with his world’ and ` the process of bringing something new intobeing’ (p. 37), and does not restrict creativity to artists, but includes scientists,thinkers, and ``captains of modern technology’ (p. 38) among those who create.
It ``entails a holistic involvement in a process that is highly complex, deeplymeaningful to the person, usually prolonged, and demanding’ (Policastro andGardner, 1999, p. 214). Woodman et al.
(1993) define creativity for individualsand organizations as ``doing something for the first time anywhere or creatingnew knowledge’’ (p. 293). Most definitions of creativity have the components ofbeing novel and useful, and often involve the synthesis or merging ofpreviously separate concepts (Ward et al.
, 1999). The usefulness implies acontinuity, a fit of some kind, with the surrounding domain. ` Creativity occurswhen a person makes a change in a domain, a change that will be transmittedthrough time’’ (Csikszentmihalyi, 1999, p. 315).
Creativity is not only part of ` outer’ domains, such as the arts or sciences or
industry; it is also at play in the ` inner’ dimensions. Creativity plays variousroles in thought and speech formation (Ward et al.
, 1999), and in stories(Murphy, 1997). Creativity, like synchronicity, is both/and. Both formal art andeveryday efforts (such as home improvement projects on a tiny budget,publicity campaigns, and/or nurturing a child) ``include glimmers of pleasure,progress, and achievement along the way, as well as a sense of fitness,elegance, or beauty’’ (Richards, 1999, p. 202). Creativity, like synchronicity, issurprising, dependent on chance. Only in the accidental convergence of twopreviously unrelated phenomena can true novelty emerge: ``absolute chanceproduces absolute newness’’ (Hyde, 1998, p. 120). Further, combining cunningand skill yields ` smart luck,’’ the combining of inner and outer events.
Synchronicity and creativity both require humility, an acknowledgment that
the world is ``always larger and more complicated than our cosmologies’’ (Hyde,1998, p. 140), and both flourish with and support a sense of humor. Mental andemotional levity, an appreciation for the tragicomedic, open-mindedness and aplayful disposition, all of these support the paradoxes of synchronicity and
creativity. Synchronicity and creativity are artistic; the artist is expressive of
and impressionable by (Neumann, 1989) a sense of the deep connectedness ofour human existence with the totality of the world. This is akin to love (Collinsand Amabile, 1999, p. 297) and to the experience of relationship (Neumann,1989). While involved in the creative process, the creator experiences a deepinvolvement with, or absorption into, the world (May, 1959). Creativity, as is
synchronicity, is holistic, complex, deeply meaningful, and intensely involving(Policastro and Gardner, 1999). Both are hopeful; without hope what would bethe point of investing the necessary time and energy to bring forth a creation tocompletion (Deri, 1984).
Both synchronicity and creativity require preparation and surrender: for
example, a jazz musician needs to have ``prior knowledge, performancetraditions, and music theory,’’ in order to spontaneously improvise (Hatch,1997, p. 185). ``Creative achievement is always at once individual andanonymous; it involves a high degree of alertness and the capacity to beoverwhelmed’’ (Neumann, 1989, p. 115). Creation requires destruction (Hyde,1998): it builds on familiar phenomena (Weisberg, 1999), but it also negateswhat was known and familiar, and makes its appearance as somethingunfamiliar (Hausman, 1984). The creative individual needs to have theknowledge, skills, and abilities that come with time sensitive training andexperience, but also benefits from the playful open-mindedness of a child(Amabile, 1983, cited in Policastro and Gardner, 1999).
Creativity is empirical, and it is symbolic (Deri, 1984). Creativity gives birth
to something from something, where previously there was nothing (May, 1959).
To finish this suggestive list of the paradox of creativity, let me propose that akey paradox is the embodiment of the a historical, by this I mean the abstractand timeless, into time. A finite bit of mind/body stuff (such as paint andcanvas, ink on paper, movement on a stage, color on a billboard, flowchart on adiagram, etc.) points to something beyond itself ± to the timeless. Bothsynchronicity and creativity indicate a union of the timeless with the empiricalstuff of life; both hint at the presence of eternity in a single moment.
I want to study synchronicity and so I go to the library looking for a measure for themeaningfulness. I read mention of one, but I can’t find it. On a whim, I decide to look up acertain citation, and finding it, I flip back to the previous article, which has the measure I’mlooking for. I later heard this kind of synchronicity is called the Library Angel.
An important aspect of it is the role of the body, of embodiment, in thegenerative process. The metaphor of ` birth’ proposed by May (1959) is notsimply abstract ± it reflects the fundamental relationship of matter ± from theLatin mater
for ``mother’’ to the creative process. If our minds and our emotionsare involved, and if creativity, like synchronicity, is a paradoxical, boundary-crossing process, then it is likely that the body, mind, and emotions interact increativity. Not only physiological arousal of heartbeat and breath (May, 1959),an indicator of a creative life is the subjective experience of ``feeling at home inone’s skin,’’ as well as in the world (Deri, 1984, p. 4). Hyde (1998) refers to thecentral role of ``appetite’’ in creativity: it is our physical impulses and instincts
that lead us into unpredictable situations, and to opportunities for creativity.
Sandford (1977) explains that the dog, which is largely guided by senses and post-structuralist
instincts, can be a useful symbol for our own infra-rational urges that come
I am studying in a carrel on the second floor of the library. I never study there. On impulse, Istand up. Wondering whether I’m thirsty, I walk toward and then past the water fountain,and on into the stacks. There I find a friend I’ve been wondering about, since I knew she’d
moved and I didn’t have her new phone number.
Or, a more dramatic story of body wisdom:
Just at dismissal time, hail and blustery winds blow in. The two younger boys run in fromtheir carpool ride. We need to go pick up the oldest from a friend’s house. But first I need to liedown for a very little while. Pretty soon, I jump up, hurry Luke and Will into the car, anddrive down the street. Just a few hundred yards away, I see an emergency vehicle drivingslowly in the opposite direction, and I see the two guys in there looking at me weird. Then Isee leaves and limbs on the road. ``Looks like a tornado came through here’ I joke to myself.
Less than a mile further, just as we are pulling into our friends’ driveway, the tornado sirensgo off. There was a tornado that crossed that road just before we got there, and we got to theneighbors and joined our oldest son just before we’d have been required to take cover.
Q3: how can management benefit from synchronicity?
Synchronicity, trickster-like, crosses boundaries, as does the innovation
process (Kanter, cited in Williams and Yang, 1999). It equally acknowledges
and unites differences: ``The greater the intensity of the opposition, the richer
the possibilities of the enframed range of meaning’ (Hausman, 1984, p. 109).
Consider the following examples of paradoxical combinations, innovative
products and processes, from the management literature: knowledge navigator,
artificial intelligence, virtual reality, controlled chaos (Hill and Levenhagen,
1995); planning as learning, leader as steward (Senge, 1990); Honda’s theory of
automobile evolution, and Matsushita’s human electronics (Nonaka, 1991);
external leadership of self-managed teams (Manz and Sims, 1987); even
organizational learning (Weick and Westley, 1996). In this way, looking at
something as if it is
what it is not
can lead to insight, or at least can prepare the
mind to be ready for the accidents that intrude on the ways that things are.
Some suggestions for playing with paradox would be to not only define what
something is, but also to be clear about what something is not, and then to take
steps to encourage both. That is, if you want self-managed teams, externally
manage them (Manz and Sims, 1987). If you want income, be philanthropic. If
you want material goods, encourage a spiritual orientation; if you want
spirituality, appreciate the material world.
A second implication for management that comes from synchronicity is the
value of narrative. Voice and participation include an appreciation for thestories that individuals can bring. To story our lives with an emphasis on thesynchronistic events in them is to open those lives to the power of the self, thearchetype beyond paradox. Reflecting on one’s own story is an act of creation:` In the wide sense, each individual biography is the sum total of a person’screative activities; it is his or her personal `work of art’’ (Deri, 1984, p. 4). The
` meaning’ that organizational change managers look for may be found in the
lives, in the unexpected coincidences, of organizational members. In aworkplace setting, meaningfulness is not only motivational (Hackman andOldham, 1975) but also central to interpretation and strategy. Creativeadaptations to the environment may be cued by synchronistic events.
What we observe is largely guided by what we look for (Cameron, 1992;
Wolf, 1989). Inviting synchronicity stories encourages a sense of support andthus of hope, a necessary ingredient for the investment of time and energy intocreativity (Deri, 1984). Telling our stories, especially those where we relay ourchance or accidental experiences, may challenge the ` powers that be’’ if there ispreference for control. However, paradoxically, true control may rely on theadmission of alternative points of view. As Johnson (1991, p. 115) suggests, ` Ifone has a statement to make, it is good to invite another statement ± [generallyone from the opposing point of view] ± and thus make a mandorla that isgreater than either point of view alone’’. Similarly, management change agentsreconsider their role, shifting from attempts to factor out chance occurrences tothe encouragement of ``unexpected and presumably unrelated effects’’ (McCalland Bobko, 1990, p. 385). Crawford (1964, pp. 39, 88) observed that ``greatfortunes are made in the financial world by seeing significance’’; ``thousands ofdiscoveries might be made if people would take the trouble to sense what isgoing on before them’ .
I would be remiss if I did not mention the dangers of the misuse of
synchronicity. Overreliance on chance risks fatalism, and the sense of beingsupported, if overdone, can lead to self-aggrandizement or hubris. A belief inthe theoretical holism of totality risks totalitarianism. Even synchronicity issubject to the principle of paradox; it both is and is not. This paper takes thehopeful stance that playing with the possibility of synchronicity, by invitingstories about meaningful coincidences, organizations can support creativity,including creative management of change and creative changing ofmanagement.
When, in fields as diverse as physics and the biological sciences, it finds hints that theexistence of a true chance is more and more likely, although it is veiled behind theappearances that are the only things to which we have access, science asks us to take thisperspective into account . . . It is for me to choose whether I can live with it in stoicism, indespair, or in joy, knowing that no power in the world can dictate this choice. To those whochoose joy, however, science offers this important comfort: that insofar as chance has anintrinsic creative power, their choice perhaps not only is dictated by instinct or the principleof pleasure but corresponds to a coherent vision of the world (Lestienne, 1998, p. 161).
To gain the greatest benefit of the prepared mind it is, paradoxically perhaps,important to honor the body. Spacious, safe, comfortable environments,containing resources with which to play and to interact with one another andwith the world, are likely to be conducive to creativity and to happycoincidences. Synchronicity, by definition, is a meaningful
coincidence, socreating an environment that supports the body can increase themeaningfulness of work. Freedom to explore or to rest, support for following
one’s physical instincts, opportunities for recreation
, all can facilitate
synchronicity and creativity. Synchronistic ``gifts’’ occur ` when we ourselves post-structuralist
are at or near boundaries or are experiencing transition states’’ (Combs and
Holland, 1996, p. 84). Such transition states can occur during meditation;perhaps having places for employees to rest or to meditate can increasesynchronicity and creativity. Other boundary-crossing activities include` traveling, especially by public transportation,’’ which increases the
opportunities for chance encounters with others, or with books or articles, etc.
(Combs and Holland, 1996). It may be useful to have organizational membersmove about freely, to conferences or even to public spaces such as libraries ormuseums. Major life transitions are often the occasion for synchronistic events(Combs and Holland, 1996; Hopcke, 1997); there may be a way to honorpersonal passages, such as midlife or widowhood or becoming a parent orgrandparent. Rituals, too, can enact passages and so can create an environmentwhere synchronicity and creativity are supported.
In conclusion, this paper explored the creative implications of noticing and
narrating experiences that challenge the traditional notions of meaning.
Acausal, meaningful coincidences have the potential to transform acceptedboundaries between what is and what is not, and therefore to guide the passageof changing from one state to the other. Bridging the boundary between innerself (including at the organizational level) and outer world (the environment)allows for creative, meaningful changes in products and processes. Paradoxand accidents, while inevitably fraught with tension and uncertainty, can beapproached with joy and acceptance. In this way, it is proposed, organizationsand individuals can learn from one another and from the environment how toconsciously co-create our world.
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