When analyzing a case study, students will have an opportunity to learn about the types of problems that many companies and industries encounter. Students will also have an opportunity to analyze the steps other managers have taken to correct specific problems and concerns. This will put your problem solving skills to the test and allow you to engage in exciting discussions with classmates and the professor.

1. Read the case thoroughly before you start.
2. Use the Case Study Outline to analyze the case. Located in Course Documents
3. Answer the Case Questions.
4. See Grading Rubric in Course Documents
5. Select 1 change model that best relates to the Case. Students will be expected to read about the various models in order to select the most appropriate one. Note: Some models may not be suited the Case.
a. Bridges Transition Model
b. Burke & Litwin Causal Model
c. Greiner’s Five Phases of Organizational Growth
d. Nadler & Tushman’s Congruence Model
e. Weisbard’s Six Box Organizational Model

© Jay R. Galbraith. Do not post, publish or reproduce without permission. All rights reserved.
The Star Model™ framework for organization design is the foundation
on which a company bases its design choices. The framework consists of a
series of design policies that are controllable by management and can
influence employee behavior. The policies are the tools with which
management must become skilled in order to shape the decisions and
behaviors of their organizations effectively.
What is the Star Model™?
The organization design framework portrayed in Figure 1 is called the
“Star Model™.” In the Star Model™, design policies fall into five categories.
The first is strategy, which determines direction. The second is structure, which
determines the location of decision-making power. The third is processes,
which have to do with the flow of information; they are the means of
responding to information technologies. The fourth is rewards and reward
systems, which influence the motivation of people to perform and address
organizational goals. The fifth category of the model is made up of policies
relating to people (human resource policies), which influence and frequently
define the employees’ mind-sets and skills.
Figure 1—The Star Model™
© Jay R. Galbraith. Do not post, publish or reproduce without permission. All rights reserved.
Strategy is the company’s formula for winning. The company’s
strategy specifies the goals and objectives to be achieved as well as the values
and missions to be pursued; it sets out the basic direction of the company. The
strategy specifically delineates the products or services to be provided, the
markets to be served, and the value to be offered to the customer. It also
specifies sources of competitive advantage.
Traditionally, strategy is the first component of the Star Model™ to be
addressed. It is important in the organization design process because it
establishes the criteria for choosing among alternative organizational forms.
(See the book, Designing Dynamic Organizations by Galbraith, Downey and
Kates, published by Jossey-Bass in 2002, for tools to help translate strategy
into criteria.) Each organizational form enables some activities to be
performed well, often at the expense of other activities. Choosing
organizational alternatives inevitably involves making trade-offs. Strategy
dictates which activities are most necessary, thereby providing the basis for
making the best trade-offs in the organization design. Matrix organizations
result when two or more activities must be accomplished without hindering
the other. Rather than choosing the “or,” matrix requires an embracing of the
“and.” Companies want to be global and local.
The structure of the organization determines the placement of power
and authority in the organization. Structure policies fall into four areas:
• Specialization
• Shape
• Distribution of power
• Departmentalization
Specialization refers to the type and numbers of job specialties used in
performing the work. Shape refers to the number of people constituting the
departments (that is, the span of control) at each level of the structure. Large
numbers of people in each department create flat organization structures with
few levels. Distribution of power, in its vertical dimension, refers to the classic
issues of centralization or decentralization. In its lateral dimension, it refers to
the movement of power to the department dealing directly with the issues
critical to its mission. Departmentalization is the basis for forming departments
at each level of the structure. The standard dimensions on which departments
are formed are functions, products, workflow processes, markets, customers
© Jay R. Galbraith. Do not post, publish or reproduce without permission. All rights reserved.
and geography. Matrix structures are ones where two or more dimensions
report to the same leader at the same level.
Information and decision processes cut across the organization’s
structure; if structure is thought of as the anatomy of the organization,
processes are its physiology or functioning. Management processes are both
vertical and horizontal.
Figure 2—Vertical processes
Vertical processes, as shown in Figure 2 allocate the scarce resources of
funds and talent. Vertical processes are usually business planning and
budgeting processes. The needs of different departments are centrally
collected, and priorities are decided for the budgeting and allocation of the
resources to capital, research and development, training, and so on. These
management processes are central to the effective functioning of matrix
organizations. They need to be supported by dual or multidimensional
information systems.
Figure 3—Lateral Processes
Horizontal–also known as lateral–processes, as shown in Figure 3, are
designed around the workflow, such as new product development or the
entry and fulfillment of a customer order. These management processes are
becoming the primary vehicle for managing in today’s organizations. Lateral
processes can be carried out in a range of ways, from voluntary contacts
between members to complex and formally supervised teams.
© Jay R. Galbraith. Do not post, publish or reproduce without permission. All rights reserved.
The purpose of the reward system is to align the goals of the employee
with the goals of the organization. It provides motivation and incentive for
the completion of the strategic direction. The organization’s reward system
defines policies regulating salaries, promotions, bonuses, profit sharing, stock
options, and so forth. A great deal of change is taking place in this area,
particularly as it supports the lateral processes. Companies are now
implementing pay-for-skill salary practices, along with team bonuses or gainsharing
systems. There is also the burgeoning practice of offering nonmonetary
rewards such as recognition or challenging assignments.
The Star Model™ suggests that the reward system must be congruent
with the structure and processes to influence the strategic direction. Reward
systems are effective only when they form a consistent package in
combination with the other design choices.
This area governs the human resource policies of recruiting, selection,
rotation, training, and development. Human resource policies – in the
appropriate combinations – produce the talent required by the strategy and
structure of the organization, generating the skills and mind-sets necessary to
implement the chosen direction. Like the policy choices in the other areas,
these policies work best when they are consistent with the other connecting
design areas.
Human resource policies also build the organizational capabilities to
execute the strategic directions. Flexible organizations require flexible people.
Cross-functional teams require people who are generalists and who can
cooperate with each other. Matrix organizations need people who can manage
conflict and influence without authority. Human resource policies
simultaneously develop people and organizational capabilities.
Implications of the Star Model™
As the layout of the Star Model™ illustrates, structure is only one facet
of an organization’s design. This is important. Most design efforts invest far
too much time drawing the organization chart and far too little on processes
and rewards. Structure is usually overemphasized because it affects status
and power, and a change to it is most likely to be reported in the business
press and announced throughout the company. However, in a fast-changing
business environment, and in matrix organizations, structure is becoming less
important, while processes, rewards, and people are becoming more
© Jay R. Galbraith. Do not post, publish or reproduce without permission. All rights reserved.
Another insight to be gained from the Star Model™ is that different
strategies lead to different organizations. Although this seems obvious, it has
ramifications that are often overlooked. There is no one-size-fits-all
organization design that all companies–regardless of their particular strategy
needs–should subscribe to. There will always be a current design that has
become “all the rage.” But no matter what the fashionable design is–whether
it is the matrix design or the virtual corporation–trendiness is not sufficient
reason to adopt an organization design. All designs have merit but not for all
companies in all circumstances. The design, or combination of designs, that
should be chosen is the one that best meets the criteria derived from the
A third implication of the Star Model™ is in the interweaving nature
of the lines that form the star shape. For an organization to be effective, all the
policies must be aligned and interacting harmoniously with one another. An
alignment of all the policies will communicate a clear, consistent message to
the company’s employees.
The Star Model™ consists of policies that leaders can control and that
can affect employee behavior, as suggested in Figure 4. It shows that
managers can influence performance and culture, but only by acting through
the design policies that affect behavior.
Figure 4 — How Organization Design Affects Behavior and Culture
© Jay R. Galbraith. Do not post, publish or reproduce without permission. All rights reserved.
Overcoming Negatives Through Design
One of the uses of the Star Model™ is to use it to overcome the
negatives of any structural design. That is, every organizational structure
option has positives and negatives associated with it. If management can
identify the negatives of its preferred option, the other policies around the
Star Model™ can be designed to counter the negatives while achieving the
Centralization can be used as an example. When the internet became
popular, many units in some organizations began their own initiatives to
respond to it. These organizations experienced the positives of
decentralization. They achieved speed of action, involvement of people
closest to the work and tailoring of the application to the work of the unit.
They also experienced the negatives of decentralization. The many initiatives
duplicated efforts and fragmented the company’s response. There were
multiple interfaces for customers and suppliers. They ran into difficulty in
attracting talent and sometimes had to settle for less than top people.
Most companies have responded by centralizing the activities
surrounding the internet into a single unit. In so doing, they have reduced
duplication, achieved scale economies and presented one face to the customer.
They have combined many small internet units into one large one which is
attractive for professional internet managers. But at the same time, decision
making moves farther from the work, the central unit becomes an internal
monopoly and the result can be lack of responsiveness to other organizational
departments who are using the internet.
To minimize the negatives of the central unit, the management of the
company can design the appropriate processes, rewards and staffing policies.
For example in the planning process, the central unit can present its plan to
service the rest of the organization. The leadership team can debate the plan
and arrive at an approved level of service. The plan can be prepared by
people from the central unit and a horizontal team of people from throughout
the company. Along with its goals of reducing duplications and achieving
scale, the central unit will also be expected to meet the planned service levels
that were agreed. The central unit’s performance will be measured and
rewarded on the basis of meeting planned goals. And finally to keep the
central unit connected to the work, it can be staffed by a mix of permanent
professionals and rotating managers from the rest of organization on one or
two year assignments. This complete design increases the chances that the
central unit will achieve its positives while minimizing the usual negatives.

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