The theory of Complementary Management is based on a number of fundamental theoretical considerations. In order to gain a better understanding of the theory model, these are briefly presented below.

Underlying Concept of Management and Leadership

Organizational management, in the sense of managing people, is an influence on people in an organization and its units with the aim of achieving the unit’s objectives by generating work performance and meeting other requirements. To lead a unit or its members is synonymous with “directing” or “leading” them. The deliverables of people management and leadership consist firstly of the short- and long-term work performance of employees, secondly of short- and long-term personnel costs, and thirdly of the fulfillment of other requirements made by the market, the legal situation, and the stakeholders.

Management and leadership influence can be exercised in two ways: through anticipatory norm-setting or through situational intervention. Both forms can be exercised in hard, externally directed ways or in gentle, non-directive ways. Since hard external influence usually triggers resistance, it is advisable to primarily exert influence in a gentle manner (e.g., in the form of systematic self-direction, instrumental behavioral reinforcement, nudging, collective social norms, or implicit communication).

Management and leadership in organizations, which are highly structured contexts, must be distinguished from political leadership, i.e., being a leader in poorly structured contexts, even though many sources narrow it down to just that. However, people management/leadership, employee management/leadership, and human resource management/leadership are one and the same. Of course, certain aspects of management and leadership are usually assigned to the HR department and others to line managers/leaders. However, these are not separate spheres but rather a division of labor in dealing with a single mandate, namely leadership and management of personnel.

Management and Leadership Model
Regulatory balance
One HR
Managing organizations

Balance of Regulations and Latitudes

Normative recommendations for leadership are only effective if they contain a meaningful balance of regulations and regulation-free spaces. If corporate people management and leadership is to work well across the whole company, structures and responsibilities must be defined. At the same time, degrees of individual and situational freedom are needed in the right places. Organizations have room for discretion here. Even though certain aspects of leadership – including functions, tasks and actors – need to be regulated, others – e.g., situational and individual modes of application – most definitely should not be. Whether formal leadership rules are actually transformed into informal structures and everyday behavior depends on whether they are a) functional, and b) consistently communicated and called for.

Complexity of Theoretical Management Models

Whether or not Complementary Management is a theory or a theoretical model depends on one’s notion of the term and comes down to quibbleism. In fact, most social and economic science theories are limited to simple causality relations between a few variables. The Complementary Management Model is composed of seven model elements, each with various partial elements as well as interrelations, and is therefore quite complex. Those who consider this to be too overblown may prefer to visualize the theoretical complexity of making coffee or driving a car: How many elements could these be broken down into? The expectation of dealing with a useful theoretical or practical leadership model in a few sentences and making it comprehensible at first glance is just as unrealistic as explaining how to drive a car in a few short steps.

7 Model Elements

People Management and Leadership as a Part of Corporate Management

Organizational people management and leadership is a part of organizational management in the sense of managing an organization. This is defined as a steering influence on market, production and/or resource operations in an organization and its units that may address both people and non-people issues with the aim of achieving the unit’s objectives. This theoretical differentiation between steering and execution only makes sense, of course, if the steering also exists as self-steering, which it indeed does. It can be subdivided into three areas: constitutive management is about the basic set-up and positioning of the unit, strategic management is about steering the business within a certain timeframe, and operational management is about the ongoing implementation of the strategic guidelines. All three task fields are required at the overall organization level, but also at the level of each organizational unit. Against this backdrop, the prominent role and relevance of people management and leadership for success becomes clear: It is indeed a specific form of resource administration (“human resource managementˮ), and as such is on par with, for example, the company’s administration of financial or material resources. At the same time, however, it encompasses all operational management, since all activities in all areas of the business are carried out by people who are to be managed, i.e., led.

Tasks fields of people management