The design of organization is a key element when considering organization development programmes. Organizational outcomes are affected by how flexibly the design features of the organization facilitates resource allocation in regards to people, process, decision making, team environment, communication and politics.
The importance of building flexibility and adaptability into the design of the organizations system cannot be underestimated. As with all OD interventions, they key is to take a holistic and ‘human dynamics’ centred approach, this means stepping away from drawing a neat organisation chart on powerpoint with simple pyramid reporting lines, and considering the complexity of organizational life. This means considering the importance of being able to form project teams and communities around a matrix structure in order to address challenges and the resulting changes efficiently, quickly and effectively whilst sustaining necessary routines.
Relationships and communities extend beyond the organizational boundaries, those involved in organizational design must consider both internal and external operational processes and seek to build flexibility into the connections that are necessary. In order for the organization to avoid repeated ‘restructuring’ and ‘re-organizing’ revolutions, architects must instead design for evolution in order that the organization can respond to the ebb and flow of the wider competitive environment.
“The process of purposefully configuring elements of organization to effectively and efficiently achieve its strategy and deliver intended business, customer and employee outcomes. The resulting configuration is the organization’s design” Mohrman
The purpose of organization design is that it takes account, not just of the tangible structural elements within the organization such as technology, process, buildings, working capital, materials etc. but also considers the people capabilities that can be deployed in response challenges that the organization may face. Capabilities refers to the competency, skill, knowledge and talents that reside in the organization rather than simply particular job tasks that can be fulfilled. It is the utilisation of the human know-how to deliver the organizations value proposition in pursuit of its purpose.
A holistic organisation development approach to organization design delivers both the traditional structural and system design considerations, which are usually delivered in Lean Processing or Business Re-Engineering alongside the OD tradition of both the sensitivity to improving group dynamics, releasing people capabilities, unblocking information flows and delivery of the cultural requirements necessary to deliver sustainable business performance. The whole organisation approach ensures that the design of the organisation is aligned, networked, flexible and fully leverages the people potential across the business.
Ultimately the output of an organization development design structure is a flexible structure which can respond to the changing requirements of the organization and deliver organizational balance in the system to deliver an environment of sustainable performance.