Organizational Transformation in Dynamic Environments - Understanding Success Factors for the Implementation of “Design Thinking” Processes from a Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective

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Type and Duration

PhD-Thesis, March 2011 until August 2014 (finished)


Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship

Main Research

Growth and Complexity

Field of Research



Especially technology driven firms are facing a faster rate of change than ever before. The main drivers are new technological developments, changing demands from customers and fierce competition. The capabilities to successfully transform, adapt and execute are key to success and crucial for their survival. However, these capabilities are too often underdeveloped and companies are struggling to keep up and execute in a timely manner - especially on an ongoing basis. One of the reasons could be the complexity of integrating all the different elements of a company during this process.

This research project focuses on the question where the complexity comes from (understanding the sources) and what we can learn from the interdisciplinary science of complexity research to strengthen the organizational capabilities to transform and execute successfully. This will be done by taking on a perspective where organizations and its people are seen as complex adaptive systems such as living organism's rather then mechanical machines. These systems need certain conditions to survive and strive in a changing environment. Managers have the responsibility to create these conditions. It is therefore the intention of the research project to develop a model, which integrates findings form complexity research with management thinking to help strengthen the organizational capabilities to transform.


Entrepreneurship, Strategy Execution, Dynamic capabilities, Transformation/Change, Management of Complexity