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CFP of Journal of Business Research - Special issue on Complexity: challenges and opportunities

Guest Co-Editors:

Dr. Giovanna Ferraro, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy(giovanna.ferraro@uniroma2.it)

Dr. Antonio Iovanella, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy (antonio.iovanella@uniroma2.it)

Dr. Andreas Pyka, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany (a.pyka@uni-hohenheim.de)

During the last two decades, there has been a growing awareness to complexity in business, which fostered the domains of applications and the creative diffusion of knowledge of complexity tools. Complexity studies the consequences of interactions and in particular, it analyses patterns, structures and phenomena that emerge from the interactions (Kirman, 2011).

Complexity is related with both, developments in the external environment where agents operate e.g. markets, countries, the customers base, and internal aspects such as products, processes and the organisational structure. In the literature (Jacobs, 2013; Braun & Hadwich, 2016), four sources of complexity are distinguished:

  • Diversity: organizations face a heterogeneity and a variety of the elements across every aspect of the business itself;
  • Interdependence: everything is related to everything else to an unprecedented degree of connectivity and interconnectedness;
  • Ambiguity: plenty of much information is available, but it is less clear how to interpret, select or acquire it;
  • Dynamicity: organizations have to react to fast flux and variability of the environment.

The consequences of a complex environment are several managerial dilemmas relevant for the processes of decision-making (De Toni and De Zan, 2016). Dealing with complexity forces organisations to determine priorities and core activities, and to establish patterns of behaviour over time. Thus, managers need to detect the instabilities and the thresholds triggering contingency strategies.

Facing complex environments requires a complete different mindset: In a complex business world, hierarchy needs to be complemented by heterarchy; thus interdependent and interconnected organisations are required, in which every part reflects a different perspective of the whole (Vasconcellos and Ramirez, 2011).

Organizations need to understand that complexity is not harmful. Instead it should be considered a manageable challenge offering opportunities to generate additional sources of profit and competitive advantages.

Relationship arrangements between organizations’ members are well described by means of networks, which are a valuable representation of many real systems and play an important role in their understanding (Borgatti and Halgin, 2011; Wang and Chang, 2003). Networks are flexibly defined as a set of nodes and links, representing agents and interactions, which request an interdisciplinary approach and enables the integration between theories in different research fields, ranging from social and managerial to technological and infrastructural aspects as well as to communication systems.

Networks ubiquity leads to a set of common and most relevant research problems on the role of structures and their impact on network dynamics (Carpenter et al., 2012; Slotte-Kock and Coviello, 2010; Vermeulen and Pyka, 2017; Wang and Chen, 2003). Thus, the analysis of networks’ characteristics meanwhile is considered to be a powerful instrument to gain new insights of network performance.

This proposal for a Special Issue addresses research that uses empirical and case study approaches as well as computer simulations to present theories, techniques and practical experiences. All contributions should clearly address the practical and theoretical implications of the research reported, thus articles that have a direct connection to real world problems and lead to more extensive use of complexity concepts are asked for.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Community structure and collaboration in complex environments
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Resilience and robustness
  • Assortativity and homophily in social networks
  • Management and complexity
  • Multilayer networks
  • Social Reputation, Influence, and Trust
  • Information Spreading, rumours and viral marketing
  • Agent based modelling 

Submission guidelines and deadlines

When preparing your submission, please check the JBR website for guidelines on style and paper length: http://www.elsevier.com/journals/journal-of-business-research/0148-2963/guide-for-authors.

Manuscript submission for the review process will be done in the Elsevier Editorial system at the following website:


Submission deadline: 15 February 2019

First revisions due: 1 July 2019

Final revisions due: 1 October 2019

Expected publication date: end of 2019

Inquiries should be sent by email to the coordinating JBR Guest Co-Editor Dr. Antonio Iovanella (antonio.iovanella@uniroma2.it).

Open from01/09/2018
Deadline15/02/2019 0:00

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