Parenting in Complex Structures

In complex, interdependent corporate structures, there is overlap and sharing of responsibilities between the operating units and the corporate parent. As a result, the distinction between "business" and "parent" is blurred and a focus on the role and added-value of the parent is less obviously relevant. This article explores the nature of corporate parenting in complex structures and draws out the particular demands placed on parent managers in these structures. It also examines the role of the parent's functional support staff and the complications that result from having more than one level of parenting. It concludes that there are some special parenting challenges in complex structures, but that the quest for "parenting advantage" should remain a fundamental driver of corporate strategy and structure.

Goold, M. & Campbell, A. (2002) Parenting in Complex Structures, Long Range Planning, 35, June