Organizational Structure

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The 2018 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

The editors of MIT Sloan Management Review are pleased to announce 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. The 2018 award goes to “The Corporate Implications of Longer Lives,” by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, both professors at London Business School.

The Time for Retraining Is Now

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None of us know how our technological future will unfold. But whether there will be a net increase or decrease in jobs overall, it’s clear that these will be different jobs, requiring different skill sets. We need to act now to enable current employers and employees to gain the skills they are going to need in the brave world of AI technology.

How Leaders Face the Future of Work

Some leaders have failed to realize that the daily lives of those who work in their organizations will inevitably be transformed over the coming decades. But it’s the responsibility of leaders to create clarity about the future of work. That means being engaged with creating a narrative about the future of jobs, actively championing the learning agenda, and role modeling work flexibility — for instance, by taking paternity leave or working from home.

Architect Your Company for Agility

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In the digital economy, speed matters. To keep pace with customer demands and competitor moves, companies must be able to quickly experiment with a potential offering and, depending on customer response, continuously enrich and scale that offering, or discard it and move on to the next experiment. Innovating at speed means utilizing empowered teams that are aligned to achieve company-wide objectives.

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The Long Journey to Understanding Intangible Assets

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The “intangible assets” people bring to their jobs are valuable — but challenging to quantify. Understanding the complexities of assets such as a person’s capacity to continue to learn new skills and ability to manage the stress of work and home life can help organizations get a better handle on alternate ways of sustaining employees. Understanding the notion of intangible assets can also help individuals think more concretely about how they allocate their time and energy.

How Office Seating Arrangements Can Boost the Bottom Line

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Investopedia CEO David Siegel doesn’t micromanage — except when it comes to employee seating arrangements. He personally recommends where each new employee should sit with an eye toward improving collaboration between departments. And his entire executive team sits together — no offices, cubicles, or preferential seating. He argues that this approach to team building and breaking down silos has been critical to his company’s success.

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.

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What the Military Can Teach Organizations About Agility

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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.

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.”

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Four Habits of Highly Effective Virtual Teams

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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.

The Five Steps All Leaders Must Take in the Age of Uncertainty

Leaders need a new mental model to better understand the complex interplay between companies, economies, and societies. To do so, they must shift their focus to the broader business and social ecosystems in which their companies are embedded.

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?

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.

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