Corporate America has spent the last few years in restructuring mode, drastically reorganizing processes in order to wring profits from a battered economy. However beneficial these efforts may be to the bottom line, say the authors, a reliance on restructuring has had unintended negative side effects, as hierarchies that once controlled the direction of many companies become less relevant, and loyal employees become increasingly disheartened by disruptive — and often short-sighted — strategies. In response, companies resort to even more restructuring, frequently with less than optimal results.The authors recommend that companies shift away from knee-jerk responses such as restructuring and hierarchy building toward a transformation of established corporate structures, a wider distribution of knowledge, and the use of modern performance-measurement systems and technologies. Citing examples at BP, North Carolina’s Duke Power and W.L. Gore, the authors claim that only companies developing their advantage upon the agility and flexibility of their processes, people and technologies can build lasting value for their company, customers and employees.
1. G. Hamel, “Innovation Now!” Fast Company, December 2002, 114–124.
2. M. Hammer, “The Agenda: What Every Business Must Do To Dominate the Decade” (New York: Crown Business, 2001), 136.
3. J.R. Galbraith, “Designing Organizations: An Executive Guide to Strategy, Structure and Process” (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2002), 31–32.
4. Ibid., 16.
5. C. Handy, “What’s a Business For?” Harvard Business Review 80 (December 2002): 49–55.
6. P. McGeehan, “Chief of Goldman Sachs Apologizes for Remarks on Firm’s Productivity,” New York Times, Feb. 4, 2003, sec. C, p. 1.
7. M.T. Hansen and B. von Oetinger, “Introducing T-Shaped Managers: Knowledge Management’s Next Generation,” Harvard Business Review 79 (March 2001): 107–116.
8. Ibid., 107.
9. Ibid., 115.
10. M. Hammer, “The Agenda,” 137.
11. B. Nelson, “Case Study: The Lattice Structure at W.L. Gore and Associates,” in “1001 Ways To Energize Employees” (New York: Workman Publishing Co., 1997), 120–121.
12. C.A. Bartlett and S. Ghoshal, “Matrix Management: Not a Structure, a Frame of Mind,” Harvard Business Review 68 (July–August 1990): 138–145.