Certificate in Organization Design


Organization design is a critical organizational capability in today’s dynamic global economy. CEO offers a Certificate in Organization Design for those interested in acquiring this important competency.

About the Certificate in Organization Design

Organization design has been a focus of research and teaching at the Center for Effective Organization (CEO) for the past 30 years. Our work has consisted of numerous studies that have explored, defined, and assessed new organizational forms and corporate structures that have spanned decades in which the economy has transitioned from the industrial era to today’s knowledge-based, diverse, and rapidly changing global economy. CEO researchers have contributed some of the foundational research on high performance systems; team-based organizations and other lateral designs, collaboration; self-forming and planned networks; inter-organizational designs, organizing for knowledge leadership; customer focused designs; global designs; and, most recently, designs for agility and sustainability.

A fundamental tenet of our design program and research is that organizations must consider the impact of their design choices not only on business performance, but also on employees, customers, and the communities and societies in which they operate. Since 2008, we have added a time dimension to the understanding of organization design, as organizations are having to confront the challenges of sustainability and agility. They must build designs that can foster high performance into the future in the areas of financial, social, and ecological outcomes. CEO has also had an active research program examining how organizations build in the capability to change their design through time.

Many organizations have multiple graduates of the program. These include Booz Allen Hamilton, Disney, General Mills, KRAFT, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation, PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company, Raytheon, Shell, Sun Microsystems, T. Rowe Price Group, The Boeing Company, Procter & Gamble, United Airlines, and AARP. The Organization Design program has also attracted an international group of companies from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

A number of corporations have established partnerships with CEO to help them design more extensive in-house organization design capabilities. These partnerships may entail a mixture of sending multiple people to gain organization design certificates in our public programs, in-house tailored design workshops, shadow consulting to some flagship organization design projects, the development of company specific cases, organization design cases, webinars and other virtual educational offerings.

Curriculum Overview

The Organization Design Certificate Program consists of the following three parts:

Part I: Strategic Organization Design Workshop

Our Strategic Organization Design Workshop provides participants with core principles, frameworks, models, and tools. We use examples from our research and consulting to address the core building blocks of design and to demonstrate how to put them together to support strategy. In its 14th year (2012), this program has been attended by 1,000 participants from over 395 organizations.

This workshop will introduce participants to the following topics:

  • Strategy to Design
  • Designing the Lateral Organization
  • Organizing Around the Customer
  • Innovation and Agility
  • Designing for Flexibility and Innovation
  • Designing Performance Management Systems
  • Designing Implementation Processes

Click here to see when this workshop will be offered this year.

The workshop is a prerequisite for attending Part II: Advanced Topics in Organization Design. Attendance at any previous offerings of this workshop fulfills the prerequisite.

2009 marked the 11th year of CEO’s bi-annual Organization Design Workshop… Read the entire article.

Part II: Advanced Topics in Organization Design Workshop

Our Advanced Topics in Organization Design Workshop is a practicum-based course in which participants receive coaching while working through a real design challenge, and learn from each other as the projects are shared and critiqued during the workshop. The Strategic Organization Design Workshop is a prerequisite for this course. Participants who attend both workshops and successfully complete a design project receive a Certificate in Organization Design. In its 11th full cycle, more than 160 participants have received certificates.

This seminar is open only to individuals who have already attended Part I: Strategic Organization Design Workshop (or another CEO Organization Design Workshop). It entails pre-reading, a project requiring participant design case preparation, and peer and faculty consultation about company projects. The seminar provides a deeper exploration of design topics, processes, and analyses:

  • Design Topics
    • The Global Organization
    • Designing for Innovation and Growth
    • The Knowledge Organization
    • Support Services
    • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Design Processes and Implementation
    • Organizational Design Processes / Frameworks
    • Implementation of New Designs
  • Participant Case Analyses and Peer Consulting

Click here to see when the workshop will be offered this year.

Note: In order to receive a certificate, both two parts must be completed.

Coaching, Community and Practice

CEO has long bridged the corporate and academic worlds, informing both with sound research and lasting relationships, and fostering a community of researchers and practitioners dedicated to creating effective organizations. To earn the Certificate in Organization Design is to become part of our community.

Who should attend?

This program is designed for individuals and teams interested in gaining a depth of knowledge and a variety of innovative tools and processes for organizational design. The program is appropriate for HR professionals, internal consultants, line managers, and others involved with strategic design and implementation. It is recommended that candidates have some background in or understanding of organizational design issues.


Candidates benefit from being taught by CEO’s internationally recognized researchers. CEO faculty members have authored numerous books and articles on organization design and effectiveness, including current work on designing for knowledge leadership, designing the strategic human resource function, building strategic change capabilities, and organization development.

Program Fees

Part I: (fees subject to change)
$4,200 per person / Sponsor Companies
$5,550 per person / Non-Sponsor Companies
Part II: (fees subject to change)
$7,250 per person / Sponsor Companies
$8,500 per person / Non-Sponsor Companies

For More Information

To find out more about the Organization Design Certificate Program, please contact Alice Yee Mark (amark@marshall.usc.edu) or call CEO at (213) 740-9814.