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Dealing with complexity: an exploratory study into a core leadership competency

D.Phil. / The purpose with this research is to identify the factors that influence the complexity of leadership and the manner in which leaders deal with such complexity. To achieve this purpose, the following objectives were pursued: • To identify the key drivers that increase complexity at organizational and individual level; • To develop a theoretical competency framework for leaders to deal with increased complexity; and • Given this framework, to identify the required leadership competencies for dealing with increased complexity. The literature review focused on identifying factors of complexity that impact on leadership. The identified factors were in turn verified in the qualitative phase of the research, during which interviews were conducted with ten stratum IV leaders of different business units in one organization. The results of the qualitative research were further explored with the aid of quantitative research on 15 business units in the organization. However, no statistical comparison was made between the business units due to the insufficient response from each business unit. The research results highlighted five factors that contribute to complexity, namely: (1) values and ethics; (2) the impact of technology; (3) diversity; (4) roles and processes pertaining to leadership; and (5) roles and processes pertaining to management. The results further indicated three competency groups that deal with complexity, namely intrapersonal, interpersonal and organizational competencies.
Date23 February 2010
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish

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