The study tries to examine the paradox-governance model through the applications of complex adaptive system. Aiming to provide clearer evidence, this study performs two years of participatory action research upon four religious-based educational foundations in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Four critical elements are carefully analyzed; how each board member develops the schemata, how these schemata are reinforced by external forces, how agents react with the edge of chaos while ended up with the coevolution process. As results, the study fails to recognize the proper applications of paradox-governance perspective along the four stages. However, the only possible way to recognize this model is by extending the phase up to the post evolution stages which requires two denominators: levels of democracy and organizational power to join the next evolution process. Four non-profit governance models are proposed: democracy-adaptive model, partnership model, board centric and bureaucracy model. Finally, the study affirms that for social organization, good governance is not limited to system procedures but more to human complexity, thus leaving clear spots for future works.
Keywords: governance; paradox perspective; complexity theory; nonprofit organization; democracy; evolution