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Organizational architecture

Organizational architecture has two very different meanings. In one sense it literally refers to the organization's built environment and in another sense it refers to architecture metaphorically, as a structure which fleshes out the organizations.

Organizational space describes the influence of the spatial environment on the health, the mind, and the behavior of humans in and around organizations. It is an area of research in which interdisciplinarity is a central perspective. It draws from management, organization and architecture added with knowledge from, for instance, environmental psychology, social medicine, or spatial science. In essence, it may be regarded as a special field of expertise of organization studies and change management (people) applied to architecture. This perspective on organizational architecture is elaborated in organizational space.

Organization design or architecture of an organization as a metaphor provides the framework through which an organization aims to realize its core qualities as specified in its vision statement. It provides the infrastructure into which business processes are deployed and ensures that the organization's core qualities are realized across the business processes deployed within the organization. In this way organizations aim to consistently realize their core qualities across the services they offer to their clients. This perspective on organizational architecture is elaborated below.

Nadler & Tushman (1997) Merron (1995) Galbraith (1995) Henning(1997) Churchill (1997) Corporate Transitions International (2004)
Vision, strategic goals and strategic management Strategy The role of the organization Strategy
Informal organization Organizational culture Reward systems Reward systems Organizational culture Organizational culture
Formal organization Organizational structure Organizational structure Groupings Organizational structure Organizational structure
Business processes Processes and lateral links Business processes and work design
Human resources Human resources Human resource development Communication

  • Organizational architecture or organizational space: the influence of the spatial environment on humans in and around organizations.
  • Organizational architecture or organization design: the creation of roles, processes, and formal reporting relationships in an organization.
  • Behavior
  • Function
  • Product or category
  • Customer or market
  • Geography
  • Matrix
  • Simplicity
  • Flexibility
  • Reliability
  • Economy
  • Acceptability
  • Kates, Amy, and Gregory Kesler. Bridging Organization Design and Performance: 5 Ways to Activate a Global Operating Model. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2016.
  • Kates, Amy, and Jay R. Galbraith. Designing Your Organization: Using the Star Model to Solve 5 Critical Design Challenges. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007.
  • R.I. Benjamin and E. Levinson, A framework for managing IT-enabled change by Sloan Management Review, Summer 1993.
  • Karen Dale and Gibson Burrell. The Spaces of Organisation & The Organization of Space -Power, Identity & Materiality at Work, 2008.
  • Jay Galbraith, Designing Organizations, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1995.
  • Raymond E. Miles and Charles C. Snow, Organizational Adaption, 2003.
  • Joseph Morabito, Ira Sack and Anilkumar Bhate, Organization Modeling, 1999.
  • David A. Nadler, Marc C. Gerstein and Robert B. Shaw, Organizational Architecture, 1992.
  • Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman, The design way: Intentional change in an unpredictable world: Foundations and fundamentals of design competence, 2003.


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