Complexity Management in Growing Companies: Strategies and Pillars for Success

  • 12 Pages
  • Published On: 19-10-2023


Complexity can be said as a natural result of a company’s success. As companies grow and expand, complexities come along it. Complexity management is a form of business methodology that deals with identifying, assessing, analysing and resolving the complexities through corrective measures that occur in enterprises. Effects of complexity show themselves in all business processes including the value chain (Cairney, 2012). Hence complexity management requires a modular approach. An effective complexity management has its base on four pillars:

  • An alignment of overall company strategy,
  • Transparency in all operation of business,
  • An approach which identifies the benefits and related measures.
  • And finally ensuring sustainable infrastructures such as IT tools, incentives and processes.

As per the study of Garud and Gehman (2016), Complexity management seeks to establish a relationship between different elements of the organisation with considering their role which they play. The success of complexity management in business presents an opportunity to the organisations in the form of new methodologies being formulated for dealing with them.

As per the study of Garud and Gehman

Process of Management

In simpler terms it can be considered that, management itself is a process which includes the setting of objectives, planning, controlling and leading the implementation of any activity, such as a project, setting and achieving organisational plans, etc.;

Whatsapp Elements of a management process

Elements of a management process

Planning- It involves determining a course of action which can be used to achieve desired results. Planning plays an essential role in the managing activities of the business (Geisler and Wickramasinghe, 2015). It helps to visualise the problems of future and keeps the management prepared with probable resolutions.

Organizing-This involves setting structures for the plans established. This takes into account various resources like men, material and machine and ensured that all these resources have a place in the organisation. It provides suitable structures for executing the plans.

Staffing:The basic principle of staffing is that there should be a perfect match between the person and the type of job offered to them. Execution of objectives requires manpower which has the desired abilities to carry on the business (Haux and 2013).

Directing: This involves guiding the manpower so that they proceed in the right direction. This element comprises of co-ordinating activities of the individuals and of the group. Motivating them to ensure they remain enthusiastic towards their work. Communicating the staff about the necessary information, this assists them in completing their obligation.

Controlling:This is necessary to ensure that the organisation is on the right track. This involves measuring performance and then comparing them to the objectives established. The gap, if any, is filled with corrective action. The feedback about the work done is provided to the employees. Rewards and reprisals are then given accordingly.


This theory was a result of the efforts put by the researchers to determine the complexities which arise in an organisation and to exploit them to the best advantage of the organisation. In accordance with the study of Hill, Jones and Schilling (2014), the complexity theory believes that each element in the organisation is an independent factor which behaves as a single factor. Each factor reacts in a different way to its surroundings. The basic objective of this theory is to make managers understand the importance of balance between various elements of the business.

A major component of the theory is the recognition that change which occurs in the system is unpredictable. It is based on a conviction that relationship between each element evolves over time which results in complex interactions between them. These relationships constantly adapt to each other. Exercising a total control on these systems is impossible since the possible reactions of any system can be infinite. It is significant for the management to realise emerging patterns of the organisation. For this managers need to develop their wisdom and experience. There are various models available which assist the managers in better identification of these systems and the relationship between each system.

Classical Management Theory

Management exists in an organisation through the setting of prescribed roles. It is directed towards the achievement of aims and objectives through influencing the efforts of others.” This theory emphasis on the structure of the organisation and is dogmatic about what is beneficial for the firm. According to this theory division of work reduced the time period in which the goal can be achieved, i.e., the objective can be accomplished in a shorter period. Limited authorities are provided to subordinates, and they are encouraged to present their initiative.

With the application of this theory, accurate time for the accomplishment of job can be ascertained. The theory requires managers to select and develop the workers through enhanced training (Rice, 2013). The manager should take all the responsibilities of the workers accept their obligation of accomplishing liability. The emphasis was given on efficiency and productivity, but a major of human aspects of employment were ignored.

According to Shafritz, Ott and Jang (2015), The definition that has been provided by the theorist of classical management is much familiar today as forecast and planning and is being used for organising, controlling and commanding the employees. The dimensions of paths and processes assisted in ascertaining the required improvement in the organisation. An increase in productivity was observed through improving work methods.

Analysis of case study

Issues that were previously faced by Rotherham General Hospital

The issues that were faced by Rotherham General Hospital at the start of the year, when Gerry Robinson came to the hospital for the first time were in large number. The vacant spaces in the hospital were the first issue which he came through. It was a waste of resources, as even after having all the facilities no one was using it. It was because no one was present to operate or to use those resources, for example, the operation theatre on some weekdays especially Friday, no one was present in changing room and other theatres. Another issue was the culture present between the surgeons and the other employees of the organisation. The main issue was with the Chief Executive Brain James that he doesn’t give a reason for the change; his policy was “Put up or shut up”.

Another issue was relating to the unorganised theatres available in the hospital. A hierarchy was present in the organisation, and the same has to be followed by everyone; it was according to the job role or post allocated. The details of the patients were present in large quantity but not in a recognised manner. It took a lot of time to search in case any important detail is needed. The main problem was the doctors and surgeon were not happy with the work of managers; his image was not promising one in front of other employees. The incentive issue was also present in the organisation. The doctors or surgeons who were putting extra efforts for the patients were not getting back the reward that should be made to them.

Most significant factors

Every factor has its own importance, but there are few significant factors that played a major role in contributing complexity for Rotherham General Hospital. Some of them are listed below:

  • Inefficient use of available resources.
  • Availability of negative atmosphere in the organisation.
  • Providing services were like a business to the organisation.
  • The employees were unsatisfied with the manager.
  • Changes were not accepted due to financial crises.
  • Availability of unethical practices.

The manner which significant factors are contributing to complexity for Rotherham General hospital

All the above significant factors played a pivotal role in contributing complexity to Rotherham General Hospital. Inefficient use of resources increases the percentile of the vacant list. It was only because the resources were not managed appropriately. No one was ready to work on Friday previously, as it was the end of the week. But after ascertain the reason behind it and changing the things accordingly; it was possible to ready doctors and other staff to work on that day too. It was a tough job. As the situation which Mr Robinson saw at the first day shattered him as these vacancies were increasing losses of the organisation. The company was ongoing with financial crises, and these things increased it. The negative atmosphere which was present in the organisation, as the staff was not satisfied with the behaviour of the manager. Due to which things were not going in the manner he wanted.

The complications were increasing which were appraising complexity too. The services have turned into business for the organisation. Money had priority rather than services. They were working on increasing the profits rather than increasing the efficiency. The culture present in the organisation was unfriendly. No one was concerned with each other job. It was creating complexity in the sense that you have to fight your own battle.

The manner in which management resolved the issues:

The observation was the first step taken by Mr Gerry Robinson. The day he entered the organisation, he observed the present situation by having a walk through all parts of the hospital. Before changing anything, it is necessary to ascertain the manner in which things are going on presently. Each and every department cannot be assessed at one time, but an overview of all things is possible. After analysing that presence of vacancies is in higher percentile at the end of the weekday, he discussed with the concerned department about the reason behind it. The decision was not taken according to the head of the department but the same issues were discussed with the doctors and other staff too.

Now, it was time to plan and act as the issues were relating that they were not ready to the same job every time. Opinions were taken from staff relating to work they want to do. It becomes easy to accept change when the employees and subordinates are in favour of change. The change in gaps between the surgeries and operations were done in accordance with the choice of doctors. After those changes, they were ready to work at the end of the week also. The same was not present previously.

Scenario after the change

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It was possible to make space for a new plaster theatre after making changes in space occupied by existing theatres. The changes were done after negotiating with the management team, and it really worked. An open theatre for minor emergencies was also created. These two were the most major changes which had been observed as it helped the organisation to overcome the financial crises, with which it was dealing with last one year.

Another main change was the image of Chief Executive, and other managers were now promising and positive in the eyes of other staff. The employees started appreciating their efforts and supporting them in their decisions. This was possible because now the result was in front of them. They were now known as the movers of the organisation. The things became manageable for whole staff after these changes.

Application of theory in certain needed areas of Rotherham General Hospital

Complexity Management Theory

The theory can be applied in the hospital in order to encourage pioneering ideas relating to the management of the hospital. A hospital is a combination of different units with each unit having its own working procedure. The seasonality of a hospital business is highly unpredictable and hence in order to put this theory into the working the management needs rigid control on all the systems and understand the emerging nature of the hospital (Swayne, Duncan and Ginter, 2012). Each department is in a relationship to each other which complexes as the hospital grow in size. The needed areas which require attention are-

Management- The managing team of the RGH is not very efficient in dealing with the issues of the hospital. Through the application of this theory, they can promote real-time responses of each system so that there is less or no waiting time in the treatment to be provided. As per the study of Toubiana, Oliver and Bradshaw (2016), creating equilibrium between work and the staff should be a major task of the management. This can be learned by the manager by taking out time from the day-to-day running of the hospital and investing their time on watching the way activities and patterns are carried on. Those circumstances or patterns that bring the best results in carrying on the activities should be implied in all functions. The management needs to increase their wisdom in order to know how and where to push the system away from chaos and complexities.

Budget Issues- The hospital is faced with budget crises. This means the flow of funds is not effectively administered. Separate manager for separate function/system is the way in which the problem of funds can be resolved. A separate fund manager should be appointed to administer the budget to be provided to each department (Trenholm and Ferlie, 2013). For this, the need for each department should be assessed, and funds should be provided accordingly. Urgent needs should be addressed first. With this practice, there will be an appropriate flow of funds in each department. Innovative technologies should be wisely accessed, and then funds should be invested because growth in all the systems of the hospital is necessary. There should be no discrepancy in technologies between departments.

Classical Management Theory

This theory can also be applied to managing the other various areas of the organisation. It is not possible to involve the whole staff for every decision. The same concept can be applied in the hospital i.e. views can be taken from the employee regarding the upcoming changes (Vickery and 2014). Before finalising the decision, care should be taken that employees should have a belief that they are part of that decision.

The disadvantage of this theory is that many of the concepts have been absorbed today and are not in adapting structures as people are changing behaviour for achieving the best fit between the organisation and customers (Weske, 2012). It generated economically based approach as the incentives were the motivation of the employee and not the improvement in their quality. The major drawback was that it ignored various human aspects of employment. It led to the conception of repetitive jobs through the introduction of a system of tight control.


The above report depicts that issues of the organisation have been resolved to a certain extent with the assistance of theories of management. It can be concluded that management department plays an important role in every organisation. The reason behind it is that it believes in quality and efficiency rather than quantity. Improvement requirements are still needed as every organisation needs it with the change in other factors.


Books and Journal

  • Cairney, P. 2012. Complexity theory in political science and public policy. Political Studies Review. 10(3). Pp.346-358.
  • Garud, R. and Gehman, J. 2016. Theory evaluation, entrepreneurial processes, and performativity. Academy of Management Review. 41(3). Pp.544-549.
  • Geisler, E. and Wickramasinghe, N. 2015. Principles of knowledge management: Theory, practice, and cases. Routledge.
  • Haux, R. and 2013. Strategic information management in hospitals: an introduction to hospital information systems. Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Hill, C.W., Jones, G.R. and Schilling, M.A. 2014. Strategic management: theory: an integrated approach. Cengage Learning.
  • Krajewski, L.J., Ritzman, L.P. and Malhotra, M.K. 2013. Operations management: processes and supply chains. New York: Pearson.
  • Morrison, K., 2012. School leadership and complexity theory. Routledge.
  • Rice, A.L., 2013. The enterprise and its environment: A system theory of management organisation (Vol. 10). Routledge.
  • Shafritz, J.M., Ott, J.S. and Jang, Y.S. 2015. Classics of organisation theory. Cengage Learning.
  • Swayne, L.E., Duncan, W.J. and Ginter, P.M. 2012. Strategic management of health cares organisations. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Toubiana, M., Oliver, C. and Bradshaw, P. 2016. Beyond Differentiation and Integration: The Challenges of Managing Internal Complexity in Federations. Organization Studies. Pp.0170840616670431.
  • Trenholm, S. and Ferlie, E. 2013. Using complexity theory to analyse the organisational response to resurgent tuberculosis across London. Social Science & Medicine, 93. Pp.229-237.
  • Vickery, A.W. and 2014. Optimising the detection and management of familial hypercholesterolaemia: the central role of primary care and its integration with specialist services. Heart, Lung and Circulation, 23(12). Pp.1158-1164.
  • Weske, M., 2012. Business process management architectures. In Business Process Management . Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Pp 333-371.


  • Complexity Management Theory. 2011. [Online]. Available through< Complexity Management Theory>. [Accesses on 2nd December 2016]

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