Performance Measurement and Management Systems: A Perspective from Complexity Theory

Reprint No. 2018:57

Author(s): Simon Okwir, Sai Nudurupati , Matías Ginieis and Jannis AngelisYear: 2018 Title: International Journal of Management Reviews Volume (No.): 20 (3) Pages: 731–754
Online article (restrictions may apply)

Complexity negatively impacts the process of continually improving performance management systems (PMSs). The extant PMS literature considers complexity to be a result of the external environment rather than a user response to that environment. However, this paper argues that organizations generally face internal complexity when adopting PMSs. Introducing PMSs into an organization can have varied effects in those organizations based on the complexity of an organization's associated members and its interactions. This study aims to understand the emergence of complexities while implementing and using PMSs in organizations. From the complexity theory perspective, four system properties (ontological, teleological, genetic and functional) are used to understand complexity in PMSs. The paper builds on a systematic literature review consisting of 76 papers and analyses them in the light of exploring sources of complexity when implementing and using PMSs. From the outset, complexity is understood to be a result of the conflict between existing organizational practices and mechanisms and the organizational controls associated with PMSs. The key findings abstracted six sources of complexity in this study: role, task and procedural types of complexity associated with the social dimension, and methodological, analytical and technological types of complexity associated with the technical dimension. The study findings contribute to the current discussion regarding why PMSs typically lag and are not responsive and resilient in emerging contexts. While understanding and exploring all organizational controls that moderate a PMS is useful, organizations should construct the necessary capabilities, depending on their context and adapt to the changes associated with PMSs.

Okwir, Simon, Sai Nudurupati , Matías Ginieis and Jannis Angelis (2018), "Performance Measurement and Management Systems: A Perspective from Complexity Theory". International Journal of Management Reviews 20(3), 731–754.

Jannis Angelis


Ph: +46 8 665 4555
Mob: +46 70 679 7030

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State


This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

About the book


Seminars organized by IFN


To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 | info@ifn.se