Mastering Organizational Complexity: A Core Competence for 21st Century Leaders

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Ashkenas, R., Siegal, W., & Spiegel, M. (2013). Mastering Organizational Complexity: A Core Competence for 21st Century Leaders. In B. R. Abraham, W. A. Pasmore, R. W. Woodman & D. A. Noumair (Eds.), Research in Organizational Change and Development (Vol. 21, pp. 29-58): Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Publication type

Chapter in Edited Book


Organizations today operate in highly dynamic environments and are becoming more complex. Helping their organizations master this complexity is a major leadership challenge. To better understand how managers’ behaviors aggravate or reduce complexity, we reviewed 1,400 responses to a proprietary organizational complexity survey. Analysis identified specific managers’ behaviors that contribute to perceived complexity. We draw from these findings, literature on complex adaptive systems, and our consulting experiences to identify specific strategies managers can use to make it simpler for people to get things done, and even to “master” complexity by turning it into a source of strategic advantage.


Organizational Transformation from a Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective
FFF-Förderprojekt, February 2012 until April 2014 (finished)

Das Ziel dieses Projektes ist es unser Verständnis von Wandel- und Transformationsprozesse in Organisationen die in einem dynamischen Umfeld operieren zu verbessern. Um dies zu erreichen werden ... more ...


Organizational Units

  • Institute for Entrepreneurship
  • Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship