A critical review of best practices for a high-performance organisational design

Bohme, Heinrich Martin (2005-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The 21st century is marked by unprecedented changes in technology, political and economic systems, and societal demands, that call for leadership that can develop an organisation's human capacity, structure and functions to perform effectively in a highly dynamic environment. Ever more organisations are required to combine operational effectiveness with strategic flexibility, and organisations with hierarchies, bureaucracies, and many levels of review and approval seem to be incapable of fast response to the new business needs. Information technology (IT) offers additional variables that, when combined with considerations of structure, people, and tasks, can help design more responsive organisations. However, few organisational leaders know how to correct the situation when their organisations are not working well. This study presents IT as the greatest driver of organisational and societal change. Information technology can support different forms of organisational design to cope with the increasing complexity and conflicting demands of today's dynamic business environment. The onus is on management to align the organisational structure with its strategy to improve organisational performance. However, organisations and workplaces differ, and consequently their appropriate work organisation technologies differ. The changes in IT and market structures have shifted the competition from a single organisation to a network scope, resulting in a need for new organisational strategies and structures. Traditional forms of organisation are often deemed inefficient, but this research suggests that leaders should be willing to learn from the past, such as the nature of control issues in work, the importance of infrastructure and design, and that both traditional and new forms are necessary to adapt to the conflicting demands of today's business environment. Most organisations today are still hierarchical with some form of top-down structure, but it remains essential that some people are leaders and others are followers to prevent anarchy in an organisation. Simply eliminating hierarchical structures does not result in more responsive organisations, and thus "healthy hierarchies" should be designed to allow flexibility within a hierarchical structure. Emerging concepts and models of organisation thus rarely completely replace earlier ones, but instead try to create a richer context within which to reinterpret the earlier concepts and their role in a broader, more complex framework. Organisations cannot be represented as "pure" forms, but should be seen as dynamic systems that consist out of clusters of segments, where each segment can be represented as a pure form of organisation. Organisations should be able to gain a competitive advantage if management is able to combine difficult-to-combine attributes, and to design an organisation with different forms to face internal and external challenges. A framework is presented to help practitioners to design or redesign their organisations according to best practices. The framework incorporates the influence of IT on the business environment and the organisation, the concept of a "healthy" hierarchy, the commitment of the key stakeholders to organisational change, and tests to design an organisation according to four fit drivers (product-market strategies, corporate strategy, people, and constraints) and five good design principles.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die 21ste eeu is gekenmerk deur ongekende veranderinge in tegnologie, politiese en ekonomiese stelsels, en sosiale eise. Leiers moet dus 'n organisasie se menslike kapasiteit, struktuur en funksies kan ontwikkel om effektief in 'n hoogs dinamiese omgewing te kan opereer. AI hoe meer organisasies word vereis om operasionele effektiewiteit met strategiese buigsaamheid te kombineer, en organisasies met hierargieë, burokrasieë, en baie vlakke van hersiening en goedkeuring blyk nie in staat te wees om vinnig te reageer op die nuwe besigheidsvereistes nie. Informasie tegnologie (IT) bied addisionele veranderlikes wat kan help om beter reagerende organisasies te ontwerp met inagneming van struktuur, mense, en werk. Min leiers weet egter hoe om die situasie te verbeter wanneer hulle organisasie nie goed presteer nie. Hierdie studie stel IT voor as dié grootste drywer van organisatoriese en sosiale verandering. Informasie tegnologie ondersteun verskillende vorms van organisatoriese ontwerp wat voldoen aan die stygende kompleksiteit en teenstrydige vereistes van vandag se dinamiese besigheidsomgewing. Die onus rus egter op die bestuur om die struktuur van die organisasie in lyn te bring met sy strategie van verhoogde prestasie. Organisasies en werksplekke verskil, en gevolglik sal die toepaslike tegnologieë vir die organisasie van werk ook verskil. Die veranderinge in IT en markstrukture het kompetisie verskuif van 'n enkelorganisasie na 'n netwerk toe, wat 'n behoefte vir nuwe organisatoriese strategieë en strukture tot gevolg gehad het. Tradisionele vorms van organisasie word gereeld as ondoeltreffend bestempel, maar hierdie studie stel voor dat leiers moet gewillig wees om uit die verlede te leer, soos die aard van beheerkwessies by die werk, die belangrikheid van infrastruktuur en ontwerp, en dat beide tradisionele en nuwe vorms nodig is om aan te pas by die teenstrydige vereistes van vandag se besigheidsomgewing. Die meeste organisasies is vandag steeds in een of ander vorm hierargies gestruktureerd van bo na onder, maar dit bly nietemin noodsaaklik dat sekere mense leiers is en ander volgelinge om anargie in 'n organisasie te vermy. Deur slegs hierargiese strukture te verwyder sal nie tot 'n meer responsiewe organisasie lei nie, en dus behoort "gesonde hierargieë" ontwerp te word om buigsaamheid binne 'n hierargiese struktuur toe te laat. Opkomende konsepte en modelle van organisasie vervang gevolglik selde die voriges, en probeer eerder 'n ryker konteks te skep, waarbinne die vorige konsepte en hulle rol in 'n breër, meer komplekse raamwerk geherinterpreteer kan word. Organisasies kan nie as "suiwer" vorms voorgestel word nie, maar eerder as dinamiese stelsels bestaande uit groepe segmente, waar elke segment 'n suiwer vorm van organisasie verteenwoordig. Organisasies behoort dus 'n mededingende voordeel te trek, as die bestuur in staat is om moeilik kombineerbare eienskappe te kombineer, en 'n organisasie met verskillende vorms te kan ontwerp wat interne en eksterne uitdagings trotseer. 'n Praktiese raamwerk word voorgestel om organisasies te ontwerp en te herontwerp volgens beste gebruike. Die raamwerk inkorporeer die invloed van IT op die besigheidsomgewing en die organisasie, die konsep van 'n "gesonde" hierargie, die verbintenis van alle sleutelinsethouers tot verandering van die organisasie, en toetse om 'n organisasie te ontwerp volgens vier pasdrywers (produk markstrategieë, besigheidstrategie, mense, en beperkinge) en vyf goeie ontwerpbeginsels.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50244
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