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Structural Versus Experienced Complexity: A New Perspective on the Relationship between Organizational Complexity and Innovation

Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Platforms

ISBN: 978-1-78743-080-8, eISBN: 978-1-78743-079-2

Publication date: 16 September 2017

Abstract

In this chapter, we explore the relationship between organizational complexity and firm-level innovation. We define and operationalize a new construct, experienced complexity, which is the extent to which the organizational environment makes it challenging for decision makers to do their jobs effectively. We distinguish experienced complexity from structural complexity, which is the elements of the organization, such as the number of reporting lines or integrating mechanisms, that are deliberately put in place to help the organization deliver on its objectives, and we argue that structural complexity correlates positively with firm-level innovation, while experienced complexity correlates negatively with innovation. Using a novel dataset combining survey and objective data on 209 large firms, we find support for our arguments.

Keywords

Citation

Cara, M., Birkinshaw, J. and Heywood, S. (2017), "Structural Versus Experienced Complexity: A New Perspective on the Relationship between Organizational Complexity and Innovation", Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Platforms (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 37), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 115-150. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0742-332220170000037005

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited