Jimmy Dennis Petersen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


This master project in MPG is about, how to increase the complexity of a social system. In this master project the social system is a team of seven leaders in a public school. The aim to increase the complexity is based on an assumption, that increasing the complexity in the system decreases the complexity outside the system. This in turn will make the decision making in public organizations, more coherent, and increase the probability of reaching the organizations goals. It discusses the problems of making coherent decisions, when we have many different unranked goals, when we are using several different kinds of strategic approach, and when we communicate through several different functional systems. This project uses theories from Whittington about strategy, Muller about accountability, Luhmann about system theory and functional system and Andersen about polyphonic organizations. The data is gathered through interviews of leaders and participants observation of team meetings. The conclusion is that we will never be completely coherent in our decision making process, but there is four suggestions as to, how we might increase the complexity of the social system in order to make more coherent decisions that let the organization achieve its goal faster. The four suggestions are: Goal, Understanding, Structure and Strategy. If a team is clearer about the organizations goal, preferably arranging them in an order, it will be easier to make the right decisions. This is also based on the ability to reduce the outside system through selection. In reality it is often not possible to arrange the goals of a public organization in an order, they are all equally important. But the discussion of the order of the goals and the reduction through selection, in itself increases the complexity of the social system. Understanding each other in a team, by knowing what may lay behind an utterance, and understanding the individuals basic reasoning makes the communication in a team more fluid and decreases misunderstandings. Combined with increasing the knowledge of each individual by learning and discussing theories about organizations like Luhmanns system theory will increase the complexity of the social system. Working with the structure of the teams meetings, with emphasis on the way decisions is communicated to the organization, will increase the organization sense of coherency in the leadership’s decisions. Discussion in the team about which strategy it will use to obtain the organizations goals, if it is a classic long time planning or a more processual and evolutionary approach, increases the complexity of the social system.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages51
SupervisorsChristian Frankel