The difficulty for organizations arises because neither complexity nor its impacts on performance are well understood (Fisher & Ittner, 1999b). The mechanisms through which it affects cost, quality, delivery, and flexibility need to be explained (Ramdas, 2003). However, this cannot happen until complexity can be explained theoretically. But, to build theory there must first be a common understanding about the construct of interest (Wacker, 2004). Only then can researchers operationalize it and search for meaningful relationships. In light of this, I develop a definition of complexity below. A sampling of the operations management literature is then presented within the context of the definition. Then, given the definition, an example of how theory can be applied is offered and propositions drawn therefrom.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mark-jacobs/12/