GOLDEN Paper accepted in Journal of Change Management

The Complexity of Wicked Problems in Large Systems Change

S. Waddock, G. Meszoely, S. Waddell & D. Dentoni


Purpose:  This paper extends and elaborates the notion of successful organizational change to incorporate the concept of large system change, by developing a framework that brings together complexity and wicked problems theories to understand how individual organizations and change agents can better influence large system change. 

Design:  This conceptual paper integrates wicked problems and complexity theories to understand and cope with large system initiatives from the perspective of change agents in organizations, and uses the case of the electricity system as an illustrative example for these concepts. 

Findings:  The paper provides implications for large systems change and action steps for change agents in organizations, arguing that by understanding change initiatives through the lenses of complexity and wicked problems, change agents are likely to be more effective. 

Research Implications:  The integration of complexity science and wicked problems underpins the development of a comprehensive framework for creating effective large system change solutions, however, these ideas still need to be grounded in practice and empirical research. 

Practical Implications:  Using these ideas, change agents in organizations can enhance their influence and use the power of system dynamics to support positive action for sustainable change.  This paper provides a foundation to help think through the cross-sectorial, inter-organizational, and change dynamics involved in large system change efforts needed to bring about a more sustainable, secure, and equitable world for all.

If your are interested in this paper please contact Steve Waddell.


The 31st Annual Conference of the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) takes place in Athens July 2-5 2015. It is the third year in a row that researchers connected to GOLDEN contribute to the EGOS conferences with an entire track related to the research questions of the GOLDEN program. This year, for our subtheme on Challenging Unreflective Organizational Life: Innovating towards Sustainable Enterprise Models (co-chaired by Stefano Brusoni (ETH Zurich), Arnaldo Camuffo and Kerstin Neumann (both Bocconi University) 19 papers were accepted for presentation. Moreover, we will be organzing a joint panel discussing together with the subtheme on “Responsible Leadership” on the role of corporate leaders in driving sustainable change in organziations and society.

For more information see the program of the subtheme please click here or contact Kerstin Neumann.

 - 05/11/2015

GOLDEN Related Track at EGOS 2016

We are happy to announce that our proposal for a subtheme entitled “Innovating towards Sustainable Organizations: The Role of Power and Stakeholder Expectations” has been accepted for EGOS 2016 in Naples. We invite short paper submissions as soon as the submission system will be open (for more information see please click here)

Up-Coming Event

Annual GOLDEN Workshop in Cooperation with SnO

This year’s GOLDEN Annual Workshop with the title: TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY, Business-Academia-Institutions in Action

is organized in cooperation with the Research Centre for Society and Organizations (SnO) at HEC Paris on May 26th and 27th in Paris, France:

As you can see from the Workshop Agenda (click here), the workshop provides a platform for in-depth business-academia-institutions dialogues on topics related to sustainability. The first day is devoted to highlighting and bridging the different views and needs of managers and academics. On the second day we will include the positions of organizations with vital interests in different aspects of sustainability.

The workshop is free of charge. Please register here before May 20th, 2015. On the registration webpage you will also find useful information on accommodation and transportation.

For more information on the GOLDEN Annual Workshop please contact Frank Brueck.

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