``It is the theory which decides what can be observed''. Managing the Complexity of Social Problems at the Organisational and Individual Level

Exzellenzinitiative 2020

Daniel Kruse

ISBN 978-3-8325-5437-8
214 pages, year of publication: 2022
price: 44.00 €
The worldwide increase in societal challenges, such as climate change, political instability, and economic volatility, puts pressure on institutions, organisations, and individuals to develop means to address social problems. Unfortunately, many organisations fail to adequately formulate social problems and even solve the wrong ones, which is due to their inherent complexity. Consequently, this dissertation adopts a ‘complexity lens’ to interpret the intertwined forces driving social problems within organisational and environmental contexts.

Problem complexity requires different governance modes, as solutions cannot be developed in the typical linear and hierarchical process that commercial products follow. To this end, this dissertation entails two studies that explore how the complexity of social problems can be managed at the organisational and individual level. In particular, study 1 employs Procedural Action Research and mixed methods together with a humanitarian organisation to qualitatively develop and quantitatively validate a theory-guided bottom-up search process for surfacing solutions to reoccurring floods in Indonesia. In a similar vein, study 2 investigates and compares the individual innovation processes of 20 social entrepreneurs from Ethiopia and Germany.

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  • Complexity
  • Social Innovation
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability


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