Today's business climate is characterized by rapid technological change, disruptive competitors, non-traditional labor markets, and complex regulations. Organization design is a discipline ideally suited to building organizations that not only adapt to these conditions, but also enable sustained high-performance. Broadly, organization design focuses on, and aligns, the processes, structures, technologies, and key roles that influence how work is executed and managed. However, designs are not static and are certainly more than just lines and boxes in a diagram. At its core, organization design is an attempt to construct environments that facilitate a desired set of behaviors. Employee behaviors, individually, but especially in the aggregate, can have a dramatic impact on organizational performance. The design of the organization helps determine if these impacts are positive or negative.
A key concept in organization design concerns the degree of 'fit' between an organization’s structure and its strategy. This means that whatever an organization is attempting to accomplish (its objectives) needs to closely match the manner in which work is undertaken (its execution). This is an important concept and not one realized by enough business leaders. Stated differently, an organization’s structure can be a powerful source of competitive advantage. Structures that are closely aligned with strategic objectives enable high-performance, while those that are misaligned with strategy do not. In fact, mismatched structures not only hinder success, they can actually decrease performance.