Understanding the dynamic behaviour of organisations is challenging and this study uses a model of complex adaptive systems as a generative metaphor to address this challenge. The research question addressed is: How might a conceptual model of complex adaptive systems be used to assist in understanding the dynamic nature of organisations? Using an action research methodology, 6 Air Force internal management consulting teams were exposed to overlapping attributes of complex adaptive systems. The study shows that participants found the attributes valuable in understanding the dynamic nature of organisations; however they did present challenges for understanding. Despite being challenging to understand, using complex adaptive systems to understand organisations, particularly as dynamic systems, is of value.