Models and Forms

The key area of models & forms includes the ‘what’ of organisation design. What does the designer need to look at and which models and frameworks can be of help.


Richard L. Daft, Jonathan Murphy & Hugh Willmott
Organization Theory and Design: An International Perspective (Second Edition)
Cengage Learning, 2014

Introductory textbook which covers all the basics of organization design. Easy to read with many recent case studies and examples.

Elliott Jaques
Requisite Organization: A Total System for Effective Managerial Organization and Managerial Leadership for the 21st Century
Cason Hall, 1998

Elliott Jaques challenges current methods and assumptions in the field of organisation, leadership and management, and presents a unified total management system built upon a rigorous theoretical base, Stratified Systems Theory, that makes it possible to relate all aspects of leadership, work and human resourcing into a coherent whole.

David A. Nadler & Michael L. Tushman
Competing by Design: The Power of Organizational Architecture
Oxford University Press, 1997

David Nadler and Michael Tushman suggest the last remaining source of truly sustainable competitive advantage lies in “organisational capabilities”: the unique ways each organisation structures its work and motivates its people to achieve clearly articulated strategic objectives. Managers must, argue Nadler and Tushman, understand the concepts and learn the skills involved in designing their organisation to exploit their inherent strengths. In this landmark volume, the authors draw upon specific cases to illustrate the design process in practice as they provide a set of powerful, yet simple tools, for using strategic organisation design to gain competitive advantage.

John Child
Organization: Contemporary Principles and Practices
Wiley, 2015

International management expert John Child provides a detailed analysis of the way organisational structure and design affect management performance. This updated edition focuses on understanding “macro” organisational theory and design within the context of international business and the global economy

Jay R. Galbraith
Designing Organizations: Strategy, Structure, and Process at the Business Unit and Enterprise Levels (Third Edition)
Jossey-Bass, 2014

Most up-to-date book containing Galbraith’s view on organisation design, with a focus on advanced models such as the lateral organization, the reconfigurable organization, the network organization and the matrix structure. Includes many great examples such as Disney, IBM and Nike


M. Goold & A. Campbell (2002), ‘Do you have a well-designed organization’, Harvard Business Review, March 2002.

This is an organisation design classic, containing a very useful set of design tests which can be used as a checklist to evaluate an organisation design.

A. Cherns (1976), ‘The Principles of Sociotechnical Design’, Human Relations, 29, 8, 783-792.

This article remains very relevant, not just to projects in sociotechnical design. It contains nine principles that an organisation design project should adhere to.

R.H. Waterman, Jr., T.J. Peters & J.R. Phillips (1980), ‘Structure is not Organization’, Business Horizons, June 1980.

This is the article that originally introduced the 7-S model, which has stood the test of time.

A.G.L. Romme & G. Endenburg (2006), ‘Construction Principles and Design Rules in the Case of Circular Design’, Organization Science, 17, 287-297.

This article proposes the use of explicit principles and rules for organisation design and uses the example of sociocratic/circular organisation design.

L.E. Greiner (1998), ‘Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow’, Harvard Business Review, May-June 1998.

Originally published in 1972 (this is the updated 1998 version), Greiner’s model of the five phases of growth an organisation goes through remains valid and useful today. Each phase has its dominant management style which consequently leads to a dominant management problem that must be solved before growth can continue.


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