Dr. Deon Cloete


Field of research

  • Critical Complexity Applications;
  • Organisational Change and Development;
  • Change Agency Praxis;
  • Social Innovation and Change;
  • Transformative and Transdisciplinary Action Research Methods.


Deon’s research explores the application of the features and dynamics of Complex Adaptive Systems that inform novel ways for thinking about change agents on an individual, organisational and large systems level in order to foster transformational processes toward resilient human-organisational futures.

Current work explores how a critical complexity informs the paradigms, mind-sets, narratives and praxis of change agency concerning human-organisational-biosphere relations. He is interested in re-imagining complex change processes at the science-practitioner interfaces and how social innovation practices, methods and integrative modes of being could stimulate engagement and advance thinking about change and transformations to bring about alternative change agency praxis. Deon supervises students who are keen to experiment and employ action research methods and transformative transdisciplinary or experimental methods (social labs, transformation labs, and change labs) as ways to engage with and shape social entrepreneurs, enterprises and systems change real-world problems. He is also interested to further develop and explore the efficacy of his change agency praxis heuristics framework (developed in his PhD) as a reflexive engagement with critical complexity which supports alternative contextually appropriate (normative) ways of being-becoming that re-imagines how changemakers could become ‘systems change curators’.

Deon holds a Masters degree in Clinical Pastoral Psychology (2010) and a BA Honours degree in Psychological Counselling. In 2017 he completed his PhD at the University of Stellenbosch Business School entitled “Towards Re-imagining the Roles of Change Agents from a Critical Complexity Perspective: An Exploratory Action Research Approach”. He assists in teaching complex adaptive systems thinking and complexity-informed change agency to students from the fields of business, health and sustainability studies.

CST Research Groups:

  • Complexity theory, systems modelling & anticipatory intelligence
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation