Organizational designs that seek to enhance congruence and organizational fit may already be outdated. Many scholars and practitioners view the increasingly dynamic and complex internal and external environments (markets, technologies, and climate) in which numerous organizations operate as a key challenge, forcing organizations to develop designs, competencies, and associated behaviors that enable fluidity and continuous change (Schreyogg & Sydow, 2010).
If congruence and fit have been replaced by fluidity, agility and/or ambidexterity as the key components of organizational viability what type of, if any, organizational structures can cope with such a demanding set of requirements? Organizational design from the simplest challenges to the most complex requires a holistic view; a clear picture of the firm’s purpose, its chosen market strategies, an understanding of the resources needed to pursue objectives, and the optimal approach for arranging and utilizing those resources (Miles, 2012). Herein lies the issue; many times the optimal approach today may only last one year, so what to do?
This is where the idea of fluidity comes in; fluidity is full flexibility that seeks to move from hierarchy’s to networks, from formal programs and coordination rules to spontaneous interaction, from specialized departments and staff units to improvised processes and temporary project teams, and from vertical lines of command to lateral organization wide communications (Schreyogg & Sydow, 2010). However, is any one design sufficient today and more importantly for tomorrow? Thus the concept of agility comes to the forefront of design requirements. Agility is thought to be; responsiveness, versatility, flexibility, resilience, adaptability, and innovativeness (Alberts, 2012). The key for an agile organizational design process is its ability to provide appropriate designs at any one given point in time (Alberts, 2012). In other words, any workable design solution has to be sensitive to the idiosyncrasies and tensions of the particular type of organization being designed for (Greenwood & Miller, 2010).
Alberts, D. (2012). Rethinking Organizational Design for Complex Endeavors. Journal of Organization Design, 1(1), 14-17.
Greenwood, R. & Miller, D. (2010). Tackling Design Anew: Getting Back to the Heart of Organizational Theory. Academy of Management Perspective, 24(4), 78-88.
Miles, R. (2012). The Centrality of Organization Design. Journal of Organization Design, 1(1), 12-13.
Schreyogg, G. & Sydow, J. (2010). Organizing for Fluidity? Dilemmas of New Organizational Forms. Organization Science, 21(6), 1251-1262.