Organizational Leadership and Complexity Mechanisms

Russ Marion

in The Oxford Handbook of Leadership

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398793
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Organizational Leadership and Complexity Mechanisms


This chapter, which evaluates the organizational leadership from a complexity-theory perspective, defines an interactive model of complexity mechanisms and the conditions under which complexity mechanisms thrive. It also describes the leadership of complex processes. Complexity theory, and complexity leadership theory, are based on the assumption that the collectivist actions of interactive agents and ideas are responsible for social and organizational outcomes. The contextual conditions that foster complexity are assessed. Aggregation mechanism, the building block of complex systems, temporally leads the information-processing mechanism. Heterogeneity is a significant requirement of complexity leadership. Leaders need to understand their organizations in terms of groups more than as entity processes. An organization can best foster change if leadership is an enabling function rather than heroic personalities. It is argued that leadership is the management of complexity mechanisms, and that is a rather dramatic departure from traditional leadership focus.

Keywords: organizational leadership; complexity mechanisms; complexity theory; complexity leadership; aggregation mechanism; leaders

Article.  12518 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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