A Systems Engineering Application of Complexity Leadership Theory

Dawn Gilbert, Laura Shrieves, Mike Yearworth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Organizations with core capabilities in systems engineering solution development often fail to meet delivery expectations in terms of cost and timeframe. This outcome is viewed as an emergent property of the development organization, a Complex Adaptive System (CAS). The context needed to support complex technical innovation within the organizational CAS appears to be in conflict with organizational hierarchical bureaucratic forms, whose methods and approaches are best suited to simple and complicated contexts. The paper identifies Complexity Leadership Theory (CLT) as a framework that may offer a way forward in this space. The paper describes two industry-based case studies which sought to practically apply CLT, and provides insights which may be useful to other industrialists interested in applying CLT within their contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Complex Systems Design & Management (CSD&M 2015)
EditorsG Auvray, J-C Bocquet, E Bonjour, D Krob
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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