Organizational Structure

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What to Expect From Agile

What happens when a company whose roots go back over a century — a bank, no less — decides to adopt agile management methods developed in the software industry? Though ING bank in the Netherlands is less than three years into the process — and it’s therefore premature to declare the initiative a success — taking a deep dive into the organization’s early experience with agile is nonetheless instructive.

A New Approach to Designing Work

For years, management thinkers assumed that there were inevitable trade-offs between efficiency and flexibility – and that the right organizational design for each was different. But it’s possible to design an organization’s work in ways that simultaneously offer agility and efficiency – if you know how.

What the Military Can Teach Organizations About Agility

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  • Read Time: 6 min 

Once bastions of command-and-control management style, U.S. military institutions have moved to the forefront of organizational and leadership agility. Today’s military leadership emphasizes efficient movement through four decision cycles — observe, orient, decide, and act — to speed up its response to external threats. It’s also investing significant resources to become more agile and experimenting with innovative solutions.

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Who’s Building the Infrastructure for Lifelong Learning?

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Current trends in both human longevity and technological innovation raise the possibility of people living until 100 and working until they are 80. It’s clear that much will have to change — both in how people understand and anticipate the evolving nature of work, and how they then respond. Providing access to lifelong learning demands a complex system involving stakeholders in education, government, and the corporate world.

The 2017 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

The editors of MIT Sloan Management Review are pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize, awarded annually to the most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development, is Emilio J. Castilla’s article “Achieving Meritocracy in the Workplace.”

Four Habits of Highly Effective Virtual Teams

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

Employers thinking about allowing employees to work remotely are often conflicted. On the one hand, employees are hungry for this valuable work/life option. On the other, a number of prominent companies that once embraced the virtual work option have pulled back, citing the desire for more immediacy and opportunities for serendipity. But for managers who are looking to get the most out of a remote policy, there are best practices to help their organizations succeed.

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How to Catalyze Innovation in Your Organization

The authors’ research suggests that, rather than leaving the development of innovation to serendipity, executives should create collaborative contexts where innovation is likely to emerge from unpredictable pockets of creativity within an organization. By understanding and tapping the power of employee networks, executives can stimulate the creation of these kinds of collaborative environments.

The Silicon Valley Caravan: What Sets the Tech Upstarts Apart?

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  • Read Time: 5 min 

For tech giants and startups alike, Silicon Valley success is grounded in core business values and processes rather than technological know-how — with a unique twist. Tech businesses have made a commitment to flexibility that allows them to reshape their business models to the needs of an ever-changing digital environment, which gives them an advantage over less-adaptable traditional companies.

The Corporate Implications of Longer Lives

People are living longer and working longer — but few organizations have come to grips with the opportunities and challenges that greater longevity brings. Across the world, people are becoming more conscious of their lengthening working lives — but frustrated by their working context. The authors’ research suggests that while people know they will have to restructure their lives and careers, corporations are unprepared.

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How Blockchain Will Change Organizations

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform how businesses are organized and managed. It allows companies to eliminate transaction costs and use outside resources as easily as internal resources. The implications for areas such as accounting, contract negotiation and enforcement, sales and marketing, and capital investment are myriad. Companies should start exploring how this technology could impact their industry and processes.

Organizing for New Technologies

When faced with an emerging technology, many companies have trouble responding — not because they don’t recognize how it impacts their business, but because they have difficulty managing the uncertainty around the new technology’s competitive viability. And when the technology significantly disrupts the company’s existing business, it can create structural impediments to pursuing opportunities.

Winning the Digital War for Talent

Competition for digitally savvy talent has never been higher, but companies’ methods for acquiring and keeping the skilled employees they need are outmoded. Whether they want to develop capabilities in employees or tap on-demand talent markets — or some mix of both — human resources directors need to experiment with new talent management models.

The Downside to Full Board Independence

High-profile accounting and corporate governance scandals have resulted in significant changes in the structure of corporate boards of directors, in particular the development of independent boards in which the CEO is the only employee director. The downside: Independent board members may not understand the business well enough to make optimal strategic decisions.

Do You Have the Will for Digital Transformation?

Research shows that successful digital transformation does not require secret digital knowledge; it simply requires the boldness to recognize that digital transformation is occurring and to begin trying to adapt your business to account for and capitalize on these trends.

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