The Complexity Perspective and Strategic Capabilities

Complexity approaches focus upon building an organisation in which diversity is fostered, effective learning takes place and self-organisation is encouraged as a method of problem solving. These approaches are apparent in the modern twenty first century technology companies such as Google and Facebook and in the fast growing high technology firms that have emerged over the last few years.

Conventional approaches tend to focus upon simplifying problems and using reductionist thinking and objective models, methods, tools and techniques to arrive at an acceptable solution. Complexity approaches focus upon recognising emergence and allowing it to blossom so that it can be built upon (Mintzberg et al. 1998). Conventional approaches focus upon a rational analysis of different parts of the organisation which will deliver a planned strategy. Complexity approaches try to keep bureaucratic rules and procedures to a minimum to give individuals maximum discretion and minimum constraint in building upon successful emergence. Conventional management will often snuff out emergence in an effort to ensure that rationally planned strategies are delivered. Therefore, conventional management is primarily concerned with control while complexity inspired management is concerned with emergence (Carlisle 2010).

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