In running a restaurant, for example, some people know how to cook, others understand how to treat guests, while a third group of people might be excellent at accounting and doing taxes. All these people know and are interested in different, often conflicting things, but they need to work together seamlessly to make a restaurant successful. This is where organisation design comes in.
Organisation design shapes how groups of people get the job done – how they work together to create, produce, and sell goods and services. Organisations are social systems of integrated action among individuals whose interests, information, and knowledge differ. Organisation design provides the framework for the delicate conversion of conflict into collaboration, the mobiliszation of resources and effort toward common goals, and coordination of action that facilitates the survival and success of an organisation and its members.
These organisation design issues –
are often easy to resolve for small, low-tech restaurants – but even there large differences exist when you contrast a McDonald’s with a world class restaurant such as NOMA. Organisation design becomes more complex when you consider companies such as Volkswagen, with more than half a million employees worldwide.
And organisation design today becomes more challenging as digital technologies allow for new forms of collaboration that go beyond the traditional hierarchical firm.