Organizational Structure

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Social Business: Flat or Hierarchical? A Surprising Answer

The most effective social businesses of the future may start to look more like organizations that long predate modern corporations — so-called “loosely coupled” organizations such as military, education and religious institutions.

These organizations remain deeply hierarchical, argues Gerald C. Kane, but these hierarchies operate differently than modern corporations, pushing decision-making capabilities down to people who can better deal with conditions on the ground.

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The Role of the Chief Strategy Officer

The Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) is a comparatively new but increasingly important role in many organizations. This article proposes a typology of four CSO archetypes – Internal Consultant, Specialist, Coach and Change Agent – who carry out a variety of responsibilities in the CSO role. By understanding how the duties of the CSO can vary significantly from organization to organization, boards and CEOs can make better decisions about which type of CSO is necessary for their leadership teams.

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The Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

The editors of MIT Sloan Management Review are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize, awarded to the authors of the most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development published from fall 2010 to summer 2011.

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When Is an Outsider CEO a Good Choice?

On average, CEOs recruited from outside the company perform about the same as those who come up through the ranks, the authors’ research suggests. But there are certain circumstances in which outsider CEOs tend to do better: CEOs recruited from outside the company outperform those who come up through the ranks at companies with a recent history of poor performance.

The author studied CEO succession in 90 single-business organizations over 30 years in the U.S. airline and chemical industries.

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Inside the World of the Project Baron

In industrial sectors such as consulting, advertising, filmmaking, software, architecture, engineering and construction, most individual businesses, by definition, are “project-based firms.” This article proposes the term “baronies” to describe the organizational units that direct the projects within project-based firms, and highlights the roles that barons play in three basic types of project-based firms: dominions, tight federations and loose federations.

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Understanding the ‘Bullwhip’ Effect in Supply Chains

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Today's Wall Street Journal  has a noteworthy front-page article about the "bullwhip" effect, as it is starting to play out in businesses as the economy recuperates. What's the bullwhip effect? The WSJ article explains:
"This phenomenon occurs when companies significantly cut or add inventories.

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The Practice of Global Product Development

Best practice in product development (PD) is migrating from local collaboration to global collaboration. Global product development (GPD) represents a transformation for business, and it applies to a range of industries. The objective of this article is to present frameworks that can help companies address strategic and tactical issues when considering GPD. The concepts have been developed through discussions with more than 100 companies in 15 countries in North America, Europe and Asia.

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Overcoming innovation hurdles

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What’s one of the challenges to successful management or process innovation in an existing business? The array of organizational structures that are designed to keep current processes running smoothly.

Courtesy of SAP.

How to Manage Virtual Teams

Based on an investigation of the performance of 80 software development projects with varying levels of dispersion — members in different cities, countries or continents — this article asserts that virtual teams offer tremendous opportunities despite their greater managerial challenges.

In fact, dispersed teams outperformed their colocated counterparts when they had the appropriate processes in place. Those processes can be classified in two categories: task-related and socio-emotional.

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