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

Cara, M; Birkinshaw, J; Haywood, S; (2017) Structural Versus Experienced Complexity: A New Perspective on the Relationship between Organizational Complexity and Innovation. Advances in Strategic Management , 37 pp. 115-150. 10.1108/S0742-332220170000037005. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: Structural Versus Experienced Complexity: A New Perspective on the Relationship between Organizational Complexity and Innovation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1108/S0742-332220170000037005
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1108/S0742-332220170000037005
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Organizational complexity; experienced complexity; structural complexity; innovation; organizational structure
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10081670
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