Research and Insights Archive

Research and Insights from the Center for Effective Organizations

People Analytics and Change

Click here for the PowerPoint slides (in PDF format). People Analytics has made great strides in the world of HR, rapidly becoming a core capability that most CHROs feel they cannot do without. Yet even as organizations continue to build greater people analytics capability, the field struggles to find the best ways to engage with […]

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Analytics and OD: Twins Separated at Birth?

Analytics and OD: Twins Separated at Birth?

During the development of the modern HR function over the past half century, four disciplines emerged that define the essential expertise for strategic HR: business strategy, organization design, organizational development (OD) and analytics. As Dave Ulrich has often noted, the traditional HR function was very inward looking. In contrast, each of these disciplines requires an […]

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Socio-Technical Action Research Lab Design Lab Description and Process

The STARLab acronym “Socio-technical Action Research Lab” points to a specific type of lab which is designed to create socio-technical action research. This paper outlines the distinctive features of the socio-technical action research lab. First, it outlines the ideas that provide a foundation for STARLab, along with the essential concepts of tacit knowledge and design thinking. Next, it provides a brief background of the origin of the design lab methodology. Last is a description of how the lab works – planning, environment, and process.

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Designing a Digitally Enabled Prototype—Jointly-optimized Social and Technical Work System

A core concern of the STARLab work has been the “technological lead, social lag” problem. Technological advance is hurtling forward; our social technologies have not kept up. New work systems are being configured around a network of digital platforms into which are built algorithms and routines for coordination, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and advanced analytic capabilities. They provide much integration and guide decision making, as well as enable efficient execution. Organizations are proceeding with the adoption of these systems because the technology exists and because they fear that not doing so will disadvantage them competitively. There is inadequate concern for creating the optimal combination of social/human and technological factors.

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Designing a Digitally Enabled Prototype— The “Changing Face” of Innovation Design

Digitalization both demands and provides a medium for different kinds of innovation. An innovation capability will no longer be an option in the future, and it will likely look very different. The “changing face of innovation” will be driven by new technologies that enable orchestrated approaches, often among an ecosystem of partners, to develop process and product innovation, organizational/managerial innovation, and business model/ecosystem innovation. An innovation capability needs to address incremental product and service extensions, changes in the business (i.e., how value is created and delivered) and revenue model, work system innovations to support new business models, and enable greater connectivity, learning and resource efficiency across boundaries.

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Designing from the Future: Building Prototypes for Digitalized Organizations

The STARLab (Socio-Technical Action Research Laboratory) addresses the gap between the rapid advances in digital technology and the slower evolution of the social systems that are being impacted. Technology advances carry the potential to fundamentally change the nature of work, of the employment relationship, of organizations, and of societies. STARLab’s goal is to accelerate the generation of knowledge about how to design socio-technically integrated organizations to simultaneously address economic and human needs.

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Designing a Digitally Enabled Prototype— a Customer-Centric Design

In the past, growth in the population, markets, customer segments, and customer preferences as well as relatively linear technological advancement meant that a product-centric organization could be successful. Digital technologies allow us to quickly generate insights into customer/consumer behavior, expectations, and valued outcomes, and to build the customer facing part of the organization quite differently than we have in the past.

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Digital Organization Design Challenges: Prototype Solutions and Integration

This document summarizes eight specific organization design challenges facing companies attempting a digital transformation, and describes prototype solutions and responses to seven3 of these challenges. It also presents an integrated reflection on these solutions and an induced design scenario.

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Fast Scaling— A Practitioner’s Guide

The STARLab “Scaling” Community of Practice met virtually (Zoom video conferencing) on three separate occasions during the first quarter of 2018. During these discussions, company examples and research findings were shared. A documented case was presented representing a successful “fast scale” approach to enterprise-wide adoption of a new business model and organization design. Community of Practice members found the case interesting and relevant but requested the journal article be leveraged into a fast scale methodology guide for the practitioner. This paper first discusses key points made in the scale community of practice, and then follows with a practitioner-based methodology for fast scale based on the case study. The appendix describes the initial STARLab research finding from members companies identifying scale as a key organizational challenge in driving digital transformation. A brief perspective is provided to the challenge.

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Design a Prototype of Digitally Enabled Ecosystem Organization Design

The primary focus of business models and organization design has been on the enterprise or business unit. Organizations were defined as systems of activity or work that were deliberately structured and coordinated, boundary maintaining, and goal oriented. Boundaries were an important element of that definition, defining what was “in” the organization and what was “outside” the organization, and allowing managers to control work activities that created value. In particular, intellectual property, property rights, production processes, and employees were sources of competitive advantage and profits.

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Digital Socio-Technical Design

What you will learn
• Basic concepts of high performance organizations
• Examples that demonstrate STS principles, methods, and concepts
• Digital STS design methodology, tools and techniques
• Tools and formats for data collection
• What others are doing and learning from designing digital work systems

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