Critical acclaim

The first edition of “Managing in a Complex World. The St. Gallen Management Model” was commented on by various personalities from science and management practice:


«When I entered the business world in 1972 and had no idea about companies,
a friend gave me a copy of the St. Gallen Management Model. I began to
suspect how interesting, but also how complex companies are. I have
since been eagerly awaiting every new version of the SGMM —
and have never been disappointed.»

Dr. Rolf Soiron, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lonza,
Holcim and Nobel Biocare and of the University Council
of the University of Basel


«For decades, the St. Gallen Management Model has firmly established
itself as a factor orienting the professional self-image of many managers.
The authors have very astutely developed the model and brought it up to
date in what makes straightforward and pleasurable reading. The model
thus continues to act as a beacon, especially in the turbulent times
we are currently experiencing.»

Professor Rudolf Wimmer, University of Witten / Herdecke


«For too long, the word «management» has been associated with the
drab, the boring, the mechanical administrative tasks of keeping
organizations running in the everyday, leaving to «leadership» the
heroic task of driving commitment and mobilizing others. In their
book «Managing in a Complex World», Johannes Rüegg-Stürm and
Simon Grand reach well beyond this simplistic view and reinstate
management as a «reflective design» practice whose successful relational
accomplishment is crucial for the development of today’s organizations,
and for their ability to create value for society while continuously
renewing themselves. The authors build on strands of practice theory
and systems theory to enrich more traditional and limited task-based
understandings of management in a way that fully recognizes their
complexity. In so doing, they develop a rich language that can
inspire practitioners, scholars, students and other readers to recognize
managing as a noble calling: more subtle, more collaborative, more
exciting, more innovative and more positively impactful than many have
led us to believe.»

Professor Ann Langley, HEC Montreal


«With the St. Gallen Management Model, Simon Grand and Johannes
Rüegg-Stürm have succeeded in identifying value creation as the
central focus of management in the dynamic interplay of environment
and organization. At the same time, they convincingly demonstrate
the outstanding importance of communication and culture
for effective management practice.»

Lars van der Haegen, CEO, BELIMO Holding AG


«Johannes Rüegg-Stürm and Simon Grand, shrewd theorists by any
stretch of the imagination, have seasoned the St. Gallen Management
Model with great practical experience and brought it up to date with
the latest developments in management and the advanced literature.
Are you looking for unconventional perspectives on management practice?
Read this book.»

Professor Günther Ortmann, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg


«‘Managing in a Complex World’ draws on a long tradition of ‘The St. Gallen
Management Model’ (SGMM), a model evolving over the last 60 years through
the work of a group of scholars interested in addressing the many challenges
associated with managing increasingly complex organizations. The authors,
Johannes Rüegg-Stürm and Simon Grand, address the key management issue
of creating value in different organizational contexts, including private, public,
nonprofit, etc. What is compelling, is the premise that value creation is both a
process and an outcome – not just in pure economic terms – but importantly
in terms of value to the community, society, and to the environment.
The central theme is that the SGMM can help managers understand how
collaborative reflection and imagination can generate new possibilities for
effectiveness and well-being. Drawing on established systems-oriented ideas
and practice perspectives, the authors take the reader through the various
elements of SGMM and their application. Each chapter is clearly structured,
with models and figures that map the various elements of complexity in an
insightful way. Teaching resources, including visuals, are also provided on
the SGMM website.
The book provides an important resource for managers, going beyond traditional
and often quite dense and abstract organization theory books to present complex
ideas accessibly. The relevance of established theories and models are updated to
consider today’s management challenges and significant alternatives offered.
Indeed, one of the highlights of the book is the focus on practice, emphasizing
that it is in the interplay of activities, practices, collaborative communication and
relationships that things get done. The implications of this are drawn out in a
number of ways. For example, four ways of designing value-creating processes
are offered, chapter 4 focuses on managing as a collaborative reflective
design practice and readers are taken through what this means, including how
to create a communicative space for reflection and design, and what the
language of reflection looks like. In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly
important to question taken-for-granted practices and processes as a means
of shaping new responsive and responsible organizations.
In short, Managing in a Complex World is a valuable resource for managers,
consultants, and students of management. It is not a reductionist ‘How to…’ book,
nor does it simplify the complex and challenging conditions facing managers.
What the authors do is to confront complexity, take it on, and offer
a way of managing that preserves and leverages its possibilities.»

Professor Ann L. Cunliffe, Escola de Administração de Empresas
de São Paulo da Fundação Getulio Vargas


«This is a book that achieves the rare feat of portraying great complexity
in an easy to read and straightforward way. «Managing in a Complex
World» presents the St. Gallen Management Model, which brings together
two perspectives on management. The authors refer to this as the task
perspective and the practice perspective. I think of them as the what of
management and the how of managing. While my scholarly interest
has always been more in the practice perspective, I deeply appreciate the
importance of this combination. By putting these perspectives together,
the authors make visible the deep paradoxes of management discussed
in the epilogue and show how they are, frankly, manageable.»

Professor Martha S. Feldman, University of California, Irvine


«This book takes a risk. It defines reflection as the task of management.
But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that managers withdraw from their
daily responsibility for a business and merely ponder how to keep track
of things. Quite the contrary. It constantly interferes. It makes sure that
every aspect of a business is reflected from the perspective of all other
aspects, if necessary. Employees reflect customers, shareholders reflect
stakeholders, decisions reflect processes, and strategies reflect business.
Managers become moderators of the way in which a business keeps itself
informed about itself. Nobody knows better. Everyone knows something together.»

Professor Dirk Baecker, University of Witten / Herdecke


«Sometimes a management team is assigned to implement fundamental
changes in the existing organization to improve performance, agility, etc.
Such praiseworthy projects often fail because those involved try to give
more importance to the individual functions they represent.
Engaging with the St. Gallen Management Model helps to avoid such
unfruitful discussion by focusing on the complexity of an organization’s
value creation as a whole. The authors show that management decisions
should always be made at a reflective distance from everyday events in
order to allow sufficient room for fundamental innovations.
The book provides no ready-made solutions. It discusses instead how
promising solution processes can be designed and which prerequisites
need to be created for these processes to succeed. Jointly studying
the model enables a management team to develop robust ideas about
which design alternatives can be implemented in a carefully targeted and
effective way, taking into account complex requirements.
The St. Gallen Management Model thus makes practices and processes
manageable, through which further developing an organization can be
influenced constructively and responsibly by consensus-building and
by constantly maintaining reflexivity.»

Professor Alfred Kieser, University of Mannheim


«The book continues and updates the system-oriented view for which
St. Gallen has become rightly well-known. It provides a distinctive language
and integrative model for understanding and managing value creation
in organizations. In this new edition, the authors successfully integrate
time-tested concepts from systems theory with recent developments in
management studies, such as practice theory and sensemaking. The result
is an accessible set of ideas that will help new and seasoned managers
to navigate the complexities of their tasks, reflect on their daily challenges,
and strengthen the collective imagination of their organization.»

Professor Davide Nicolini, University of Warwick


«The current edition of the standard textbook on the St. Gallen Management
Model has been supplemented by a practice theory perspective. More than
other theoretical approaches, this promises to bridge the widely lamented
gap between management research and practice. A big step in the right direction!»

Professor Jörg Sydow, Free University Berlin


«As an entrepreneur, I experience every day how important effective,
broad-based communication is. Only in this way can we effectively and
responsibly influence our company’s development. With our Lean Management
Initiative, we have been experiencing for years how valuable it is to enable
our employees to keep creatively looking at their everyday working lives and
to develop solutions to optimize our value creation — “reflective design practice”
in the sense of the SGMM is precisely also a grassroots task! The SGMM’s
understanding of leadership as a collective task also appeals to me. Only with
strong teams that join forces as sworn leadership communities can we repeatedly
bring about real innovations in an entrepreneurial spirit in timely fashion.»

Dieter Marxer, Entrepreneur, Member of the Management Board,
Noventa Group