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The Economist Guide to Organisation Design: Creating high performance and adaptable enterprises [Hardcover]

Naomi Stanford
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 May 2007 Economist (Book 10)

Business failure is not limited to start ups. Industry Watch (published by BDO Stoy Hayward, an accounting firm) 'predicts that 17,043 businesses will fail (in the UK) in 2006, a further 4 per cent increase from 2005'. In America between 1990 and 2000, there were over 6.3 million business start-ups and over 5.7 million business shut-downs.

Risk of failure can be greatly reduced through effective organisational design that encourages high performance and adaptability to changing circumstances. Organisation design is a straightforward business process but curiously managers rarely talk about it and even more rarely take steps to consciously design or redesign their business for success.

This new Economist guide explores the five principles of effective organisation design, which are that it must be: driven by the business strategy and the operating context (not by a new IT system, a new leader wanting to make an impact, or some other non-business reason). involve holistic thinking about the organisation be for the future rather than for now not to be undertaken lightly - it is resource intensive even when going well be seen as a fundamental process not a repair job. (Racing cars are designed and built. They are then kept in good repair.)

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Economist Books (31 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861978022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861978028
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 14.7 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 291,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Risk of failure can be greatly reduced through effective organisational design that encourages high performance and adaptability to changing circumstances. (Personnel Today)

...provides insights and practical help on how to avoid the common mistakes made in restructuring...well worth the price. (Business Executive Magazine)

...contains a whole range of simple and effective tools and models. (Professional Manager)

About the Author

Naomi Stanford is an organisation design consultant based outside Washington DC. Before moving to America, she worked as a senior organisational development consultant for companies such as M&S, BA, Xerox, PwC and Prudential.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The field of organisation design is a complex one and one that is beginning to attract more interest. The author points out that it is not given the time and attention it deserves in terms of management priorities.

This book follows her previous work on Organisation design, which sits on my bookshelf alongside other books in this field of which I suggest are worth buying.(see later]

I was looking forward to getting this book as their has been a shortage of practical/usable material on organisation design which as a Interim Manager/Consultant, I wish to use in my work in a wide variety of situations.

The book has a number of strengths for example chapter 2 on models/approaches/designs and the later material on culture and group processes.The book would have been more useful if more had been provided in terms of tools and techniques to help the reader in dealing with organisation design challenges.It is also very orientated to project management as a means of tackling situations. The pulling together of her work/approaches at the end of the book in terms of guidance for the practioner would have added more value than the chapter on "morphing not future proofing".Overall this book is a good buy.If you have not already read them the following are worth obtaining , as read together with this book provide a comprehensive coverage of the organisation design field:

* Designing Dynamic Organisations-J Galbraith-D Downey-A Kates.This is comprehensive and easy to use.

* Designing Effective Organisations-M Goold-A Campbell.They set out nine design tests which are practical and a good start point to evaluate your own organisation.

Stan Felstead - Interchange Resources - UK
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars guide to organisation design 1 Aug 2007
This book talks about organisation design, but it is actually about far more than that. As one would expect, organisation design impacts other areas than just the structure of an organisation and Naomi covers all the bases. This isn't just a must-have book for OD specialists, but I would suggest that any manager who is thinking about a re-organisation would do well to read this carefully.

It starts by talking about just what organisation design is, why it is important and how it links into the business. The most important of which - it seems to me - is that there must be a compelling reason or business case for undertaking a re-organisation. The design must then be driven by the strategy of the business bearing the whole system in mind, not just focusing on a part of it.

Next she focuses on different models, approaches and designs with some excellent tables listing designs in use, their benefits and their limitations. I particularly liked a list of questions you could use to help you choose a model, approach and/or design.

The book has practical information, but also nice case studies of when a particular approach or model had been used in well known organisations and a warts-and-all story telling you what actually happened.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull and poorly written 9 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sorry, I really wanted to like this book. I thought that as it was an Economist title it would be very well edited. Frankly it read like an unedited shopping list of ideas stripped from a tour of the management section of the library. There was very little insight. It was repetitive and sorry, Naomi, it was badly written. Though I am sure you can see that now. I give it 2 stars because it covers a lot of material that can then be researched via other sources, without that it would be 1 star.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Naomi Stanford believes that executives pay too little attention to changing their companies' organizational designs, perhaps because such initiatives don't promise high-profile careers. Yet, updating your organization's structure is a vital process that can make your company stronger by unleashing its energy and using its resources more aggressively. This handy publication covers material you might study in a college-level organizational design course. However, it isn't a textbook. Think of this manual as a survey of the subject, with many helpful suggestions and thought-provoking ideas. The writing is compact, a little dry and somewhat jargon-laden. However, if you want to examine what your company needs to consider in a design change project, we recommend this solid resource.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
As its title suggests, Dr Naomi Stanford's latest book is written as a practical guide for organization designers, as they tackle the challenges that reorganization brings in a complex and ever-changing world. Despite the author's academic credentials, her book is clearly aimed at practitioners - whether practising managers or organization design consultants. It is academically underpinned by both established and leading-edge thinking in organization design; yet, at the same time, it is easy to read and accessible. The text is further enlivened by the use of diagrams, charts and anecdotes; and the book contains a wealth of tools, hints and tips that the author has drawn from her own practice.

Throughout, Stanford manages to combine a passionate belief in the value of systematic, business-focused organization design with a healthy scepticism for any position that might suggest that the formal outputs of the process (such as organization charts, roles and responsibilities) provide a guaranteed blueprint for success or a once-and-for-all solution.

Anyone who is concerned with improving the effectiveness of organizations and keen to understand how this challenge is viewed from an organization design perspective will find this book interesting and informative. For organization designers and managers who are involved in developing or implementing an organization design for real, this comprehensive and up-to-date book will prove to be an invaluable resource.
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