Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - SCOBIAGIS (Structuring Collective Behavior in a Global Information System: Reaching Toward a New Paradigm of Rationality)

The research topic took up a new and unrecognised issue of collective behaviour within a Global information system (GIS), and a relating question of human rationality. The interests in the area of Information systems (IS) have concentrated mainly on technological aspects so far. If the human component were taken into account, it has been analysed from the level of an individual. So have all new concepts of rationality. However, globalisation and virtualisation of human activity denote the growth of dispersed collectivises, which nature we have to fully comprehend.

The research was supposed to model information processes of collectively and to structure this phenomenon. The findings would help formulate a new, wider approach to rationality. The detailed research objectives were divided into three categories:

1. Theoretical objectives, including:
- analysis of the traditional approach to rationality;
- identification of the determinants of rationality in the theory of IS;
- analysis of the theoretical foundations of a model of collective behaviour within an IS.

2. Methodological objectives, including:
- developing a model of collective behaviour within an IS;
- identification of a mathematical dimension of collective behaviour.

Empirical and utilitarian objectives, including:
- innovative application of a logarithmic spiral, representing the idea of an isomorphic growth, on the charts of stock indexes;
- generalisation of the concept of an isomorphic growth with reference to all phenomena relating to collective behaviour, especially on a global level;
- application of the obtained results to structure, forecast and control the social behaviour within a GIS.

The theoretical part included a comprehensive elaboration on the rationality issue, an approach that had not been found in literature before. It included the first ever attempt to relate the question of rationality to the IS field. The next novelty was the identification of the determinants of an IS dynamics, and relating this phenomenon to collective behaviour.

Also the methodological objectives have been achieved. A model exemplification of a GIS was a modern electronic stock exchange, because it is a typical example of group reactions. The classification of an IS's social subsystem among complex adaptive systems allowed for the introduction an innovative research concept, based on a 3-element system, society-economy-nature. And this, allowed for the identification of a logarithmic spiral as the most common curve in nature.

In the empirical part, the innovative application of a logarithmic spiral on the index charts helped forecast basic trend changes, and epitomised the quantitative dimension of collective behaviour. This kind of a spiral is a fractal attractor (strange attractor), and the identification of such an attractor in the model of a social system implies self-similarity and recurrence of system behaviour. This, in turn, suggests the occurrence of rationality of collective behaviour and defines its model - the spiral.

The final results of the project suggest that the decision-making process of collectively is adaptive and follows specific patterns found in nature. Therefore, unlike the decision-making process of an individual, this process can be expressed mathematically and can be predictable. In other words, individual behaviour, which is often irrational and unpredictable, is expected to compose an adaptive, spiral and, thus, predictable process of collective decision-making. The mathematical dimension of this phenomenon is contained in the Fibonacci ratio equal to 1.618.

The most important scientific achievement of this project is discovering a model which enables to structure collective behaviour, a phenomenon considered purely qualitative so far. This provides substantial theoretical and methodological premises for the extension of the optimising and individualistic notion of rationality by the social and adaptive aspects.

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