Operationalization means making theoretical constructs measurable. Before evidence can be collected and the relationships of the effects can be examined, it must be determined how to measure the constructs used, i.e., how they are to be converted into numbers or, at any rate, into evaluable nominal categories. Thus, a catalog must be developed of the criteria and sub-criteria that are constitutive for the theoretical construct of Complementary Management and leadership. Following on from this, measurement instruments for the individual sub-criteria need to be developed. A special research team has been working on these questions for some time.

Corporate Models of Management and Leadership

In the case of corporate models of management and leadership, the question arises as to the conditions under which these can be classified as Complementary Management Models and whether there can be gradual approximations. It is conceivable, for example, that a company-specific model is developed that may be initially based on the model, but which is modified to such an extent that one can no longer speak of real Complementary Management. Conversely, an actual company model can, in fact, stipulate Complementary Management without explicitly referring to the corresponding theory.

Managerial Behavior of Line Managers

Similarly, with regard to the individual management behavior of line managers, it is important to determine whether they practice Complementary Management. Such leadership is based, among other things, on the primacy of employee self-management and the guiding principle of Managing as a Service. At the same time, the line manager must act as a compensatory entity. These and other criteria must be meaningfully specified and made measurable.

Role of the HR function

It is no different with the role of the HR function (synonymous: “HR department”, “human resources”, “HR”). For example, genuine Complementary Management involves active leadership participation by the HR function in the context of HR advisory to line managers (“HR co-management”). This criterion is indispensable. Here, too, a distinction must be made between merely claimed and actually lived Complementary Management.