Dealing with complexity as a skill, complexity in an engineering curriculum

Authors Jaap Goedegebuur, Dan Greve, Robert Huls
Publication date 2016
Research groups Research Competence
Type Lecture


Engineering students have to learn to create robust solutions in professional contexts where new technologies emerge constantly and sometimes disrupt entire industries. The question rises if universities design curricula that enable engineering students to acquire these cognitive skills. The Cynefin Framework (Kurtz & Snowden, 2003; Snowden & Boone, 2007) can be used to typify four complexity contexts a system or organisation can be found in: chaos, complex, complicated and obvious.The Cynefin framework made it possible to create the research question for a case-study: To what extend does the Business Engineering curriculum enable bachelors to find business solutions in the complexity contexts of the Cynefin framework? The results show that 80% of the methods are suitable for complicated contexts and no distinction is made between contexts. This means students are taught to approach most contexts in the same way and are not made aware of differences between the contexts. Making sense of the methods in the curriculum with the Cynefin framework was insightful and suggestions for improvement and further research could be substantiated

On this publication contributed

  • Dan Greve | Lecturer / Researcher | Methodology of Practice-Based Research
    Dan Greve
    • Lecturer-researcher
    • Research group: Research Competence

Language English
Key words Cynefin framework, complexity, curriculum