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Designing Dynamic Organizations

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Designing Dynamic Organizations

A Hands-On Guide for Leaders at All Levels


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Creating an effective corporate structure means more than just filling in boxes on an organizational chart.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Constant change, economic uncertainty, unrelenting competition and the frenetic pace of cyber-commerce now strain even the most nimble organizations. Traditional leaders designed many companies, especially those more than a few decades old, along strict hierarchical, top-down parameters, so these firms often find it hard to react swiftly to change. Consultants Jay Galbraith, Diane Downey and Amy Kates have assembled their savvy change management counsel to rescue stuck companies. They designed this “thought-guide” to lead executives through the wilderness of organizational transformation. Their experience-based workbook is chock-full of exercises, questions, formats, charts and tools to direct you step-by-step through the process of creating a “reconfigurable organization” that can handle shifting circumstances. While some examples in this near-classic manual are dated, the advice is still spot-on. getAbstract recommends this excellent, nitty-gritty primer on organizational transitions to executives and human resources professionals.


Organizational Leadership

As a business leader, you need three crucial skills to change your company: 1) the ability to envision the right strategy for your firm, 2) the aptitude to hire the right management team to execute that strategy and 3) the leadership to create a corporate structure that allows your staff to operate smoothly. Most CEOs focus on the first two capabilities but don’t spend sufficient time addressing their organizational framework. Increased competition, the pressure to do more with less and the work world’s everyday “chaos” force managers into “fighting fires.” This leaves them scant opportunity to consider the benefits of a well-planned business framework, much less to implement organizational makeovers. Yet your business rises and falls according to its “structure, processes, metrics and reward systems, and people practices” – the elements of “organization design” that should enable your employees to be productive. A 2000 study found that almost one-third (up from 10% in 1993) of CEOs surveyed saw their failure to reorganize their firms as an “impediment to growth.”

A strong organization design enables your team to respond agilely to change ...

About the Authors

Jay Galbraith teaches at the University of Southern California and at Lausanne’s International Institute for Management Development. Diane Downey is president of Downey Associates International, where Amy Kates is vice president and senior consultant.

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