Center for Effective Organizations


Current Trends in Organization Design

In a collaboration between The CEO and the Corporate Research Forum in London, Sue Mohrman and Gillian Pillans examined the major organization design challenges being experienced by global corporations. The study involved interviews and reviews of archival data from 14 large companies in six industries, and the review of published accounts from many others. The report, "Emerging Approaches to Organization Design", chronicles the design changes the companies are taking to align their organization with the strategic challenges and opportunities they are encountering. It is intended as a framework for understanding the tensions and trade-offs involved in designing contemporary global organizations and possible pathways to manage the associated complexity.

Among the key organization design challenges prevalent in these companies are: 1) becoming proficient at working laterally across the various dimensions of the organization such as geographies, customers, functions, and products; 2) striking the right balance of commonality of practice and process and of self-containment and self-regulation; 3) finding effective governance approaches for diverse but interdependent elements of the organization; 4) sharing knowledge across the organization; and 5) focusing on change and innovation while simultaneously focusing on efficiency and reliable performance. We also address the HR challenges that are entailed as organizations increasingly operate laterally even though many of their formal systems are set up for hierarchical functioning.

Click here for the executive summary of the report, which contains a more complete flow of findings

Click here to purchase the full report

See below for a short video of Sue talking about some of the highlights of the study

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