Organization Design: The Collaborative Approach

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A significant shift in thinking in the knowledge age is the use of biological metaphors rather than machine metaphors. There is a focus on the whole and the connection of the parts rather than on the parts alone. From our industrial age roots, organizations were thought to have clear boundaries and assumed an authoritarian, hierarchical pyramid like organizational structure.

Our organizations reflected a mechanistic model. This was effective for the time since the need for responding to change was not as immediate. Access to information was not easy nor was the workforce as educated. Access to information and decision making was concentrated at the top. This authoritarian hierarchical model provided clarity, consistency, and control. There has been a shift to a more organic metaphor that focuses on growth and sustainability both for the organization and the environment in which it exists.

Some of the emerging themes that justify a more organic organizational design approach are:. Diversity and innovation thrive where power and information are located where the customer value creating work is done. This allows each concept the distinctive strength that each has to offer. From - Mechanistic. To - Organic. Function driven. Purpose driven. Top down —hierarchical,. Boundaryless [1].

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Supporting organizational design: the role of social technology

Table 1. As an adaptation and simplification of the chaordic organizing approach, organic organizational Org 2 design is offered. Org 2 design provides a similar approach utilizing six lenses or facets to the organization that must be integrated and iteratively designed.

By going through a process of considering each of the facets lenses of the organization, participants will find a great deal of clarity is gained that leads to decisions about how to deliver to the purpose function of the organization. The process is not linear and can not be done in one pass.

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Org 2 design considers six facets See Figure 1 somewhat sequentially Purpose, Principles, Practices, Participants, Pieces, and Processes and absolutely iteratively. The hallmark of the design process is a comprehensive and holistic approach to organizational improvement that touches all aspects of organizational life, so you can achieve:. A well-designed organization ensures that the form of the organization matches its purpose or strategy, meets the challenges posed by business realities and significantly increases the likelihood that the collective efforts of people will be successful.

As companies grow and the challenges in the external environment become more complex, businesses processes, structures and systems that once worked become barriers to efficiency, customer service, employee morale and financial profitability. Although adaptable to the size, complexity and needs of any organization, the design process consists of the following steps. As senior leaders, you come together to discuss current business results, organizational health, environmental demands, etc.

At times, senior teams may go through either a strategic planning process or an executive team development process prior to beginning a redesign initiative, depending on how clear they are about their strategy and how well they work together as a team. Using our Transformation Model , we facilitate a comprehensive assessment of your organization to understand how it functions, its strengths and weaknesses, and alignment to your core ideology and business strategy.

At some point the design process morphs into transition planning as critical implementation dates are set and specific, concrete action plans created to implement the new design. And a key part of this step includes communicating progress to other members of the organization. A communications plan is developed that educates people in what is happening. Now the task is to make the design live. People are organized into natural work groups which receive training in the new design, team skills and start-up team building.

New work roles are learned and new relationships within and without the unit are established. Equipment and facilities are rearranged. Reward systems, performance systems, information sharing, decision-making and management systems are changed and adjusted. Some of this can be accomplished quickly. Some may require more detail and be implemented over a longer period of time. A few years back we worked with a company within the aluminum industry.

The company recognized they were becoming bureaucratic and unresponsive to their customers needs. Following a period of assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the existing organization, they went through a process of organizational redesign in which they organized their front office functions to become more collaborative and customer focused. The diagrams below illustrate, at a high level, this change.

Pre-design Workflow.

What is Organizational Design? - NOBL Academy

Post-design Workflow. The first chart illustrates the tendency of most people within organizations to think in terms of silos and organize people according to the similarity of their functions. The second chart illustrates how the company redefined structural boundaries to become much more cross-functional on the front end of their business. They combined people from a number from a number of departments into teams that took full responsibility for managing customer orders.

Of course, this chart greatly simplifies all of the design decisions which included improvements in workflow and system support, and the role of leaders and other support functions in the new organization. But this gives you an idea of the kinds of integration and improved collaboration that can result from organizational design. The good news is that it can be used in most any type and size of business.

The length of time required to complete a redesign varies depending on the nature, size and resources of the organization. Large and complex redesign projects can be completed within several days. Smaller organizations require much less time and fewer resources. We are experts in strategy and organizational design.


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Call or email us for a no-obligation conversation to answer a question regarding your company or to explore bringing our services in-house. I have gone through your article on how to design and redesign organization.

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It is really interesting to add my knowledge on how to design orgaizations. Kindly please i have my article which we have gone through the re-design process in our department however, we would like your advice if we have followed the correct direction and how we can integrate your model or can it be anyway to share my article with you. Thank you. I see your methodology as a comprehensive model in which everything has a logical sequence and inclusive approach for people of the organization. I am planning to use it in a re-design of a distribution company.

Collaboration as an Organization Design for Shared Purpose

Do you have a detailed list of to-do activities under the seven step model? Or perhaps a questionnaire guide to cover all phases.? Very interesting read. If yes, what would be your guidance around this? Process of Org. Otherwise, the design will be questioned. Estaba buscando esa informacion hace ciclo, te lo agradezco, estoy de contrato con tu punto de vista y alimento igual.

Despues de buscar mucho por Internet encontre lo que buscaba. Hi Allen, Thanks for the interesting information. Hi, Really this is very informative, i have not understood the example which shown in figure 2, please if possible i want some more focus on this. Figure two shows how different functional departments were combined into a single department on the front end of the core business process.