To read this content please select one of the options below:

Managing complexity in maritime business: understanding the smart changes of globalization

Hatice Akpinar (Department of Maritime Business Management, Surmene Faculty of Marine Sciences, Karadeniz Technical University Surmene Trabzon, Turkey)
Didem Ozer-Caylan (Department of Maritime Business Administration, Maritime Faculty, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, Turkey)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 26 February 2021

Issue publication date: 7 June 2022




This study aims to review and try to understand the importance of complexity management for maritime business to gain competitiveness in global business environment. The purpose of the study is to discuss and evaluate managing change and requirements of understanding the complexity management.


To find peer-reviewed journal publications, a large scientific database used by searching Web of Science and Scopus as the most relevant abstract and citation databases that provide peer-reviewed literature data for many different academic disciplines and selected papers evaluated from the maritime business context.


As a conceptual paper, the contribution of the study is to offer practical/required management applications with the help of six proposes for making better management decisions to confront future challenges to catch organizational competitiveness and success. With adaptation of complexity management, maritime stakeholders able to create an important core competency.

Research limitations/implications

The research has some limitations and further research into this area should be extended. This study is designed as a first step to provide an insight to the field and to understand the main views of the subject. Subsequently, complexity management in maritime business is a slightly deficient area of research, which offers remarkable research opportunities. First, it would be fruitful to collect qualitative data to examine the current issues and changing business environment of the maritime business. Second, it would be helpful develop quantitative models to offer practical solutions from the maritime stakeholders’ point of view according to loading/discharging/transportation requirements. Future studies should deepen the subject with the help of simulation models of operations or agent based applications of stakeholder problems or vessel/ship-owner management implementations to understand changing circumstances of new business environment for the sake of managing complexity.

Practical implications

As the core point of view in strategic management; “achieving and sustaining” competitive advantage in organizations always takes an important place in organizational survival. With the help mentioned proposes stakeholders of the system could understand the ways of dealing with the complexities of new business world which enhances organizational competitiveness.

Social implications

Maritime business could be defined as a social ecosystem which has it is own dynamics and customs. Socio-eco systems, like all complex systems, show unique non-linear dynamics in space and time which could be tough to define via classical quantitative methods. Organizations co-exist and co-evolve with their environment. It is possible that organizations effect their environment and gain some control over it while at the same time affected from environment and should steer the new trends.


The originality of the study lies in highlighting the importance of change management as a handler of complexity management for maritime business. The contribution of the paper is to indicate expected opportunities and challenges of smart changes for relevant readiness of maritime business for better management decisions, benefiting maritime business stakeholders by simultaneously enhancing effectiveness to confront future demands to achieve organizational competitiveness. With the help of proper complexity management lenses organizations could able to create their source of competitive advantage that represents capacity to align and enable required functions under tough contextual environment.



Akpinar, H. and Ozer-Caylan, D. (2022), "Managing complexity in maritime business: understanding the smart changes of globalization", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 582-599.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles