Title: Managing diversity and innovation in a complex organisation

Authors: Alex Jarratt

Addresses: Barn Mead, Fryerning, Essex CM4 ONP, UK

Abstract: In this paper, the triangle of diversity, innovation and complexity is discussed and the proposition examined that it is the complexity of the first two, which creates the challenge for management. Diversity is defined not only in terms of products, markets, technology, but also in the different kinds of people who are found in different activities. The paper considers the balance of centralised and decentralised systems, which is appropriate to the management of diversified enterprises and the criteria by which constituent businesses within a group may be judged - and retained or disposed of. Innovation also is not defined only in terms of new products; it embraces new ways of thinking and, essentially of generating and coping with change. In a changing world, this imputes high priority to the management of innovation. In large, complex organisations, benefits can accrue to innovation because of their ability to handle the investment, skills and time-scales involved. This depends, substantially, on a culture in which the entrepreneurial flair that does exist in such organisations can flourish.

Keywords: diversity; conglomerate; financial criteria; successful management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1999.002708

International Journal of Technology Management, 1999 Vol.17 No.1/2, pp.5-15

Published online: 04 Jul 2003 *

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