Representing and approaching complex management issues - role and definition
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The complex issues faced by management researchers can be described in many ways. However, this richness and variety can lead to a confusion of language. The paper confronts this issue by discussing the manner in which complex management concepts can be represented and approached. It proposes definitions for various related terms: paradigm, system, framework, map, model, process, procedure, technique, and tool. These definitions are presented from the perspective of manufacturing systems management, although they may be widely applicable in other fields. Dimensions for classifying and relating these definitions are identified based on a number of key characteristics. The forthcoming second part of this paper focuses on the development and validation of frameworks, as they play a central role in the research of management issues.