Principles of Organization Design

Sometimes it seems like organizations are always re-organizing–or ‘re-orging’ as some say–or designing departments for the next superstar leader. Are these good ideas? Maybe yes, and maybe no. It depends on a few things, including whether or not the change enables the organization to be more effective rather than being less effective.

So more to the point: What principles should guide organization design? What is the big picture of organization design (as if the activity wasn’t already big enough)?

This episode with Len Nanjad from MNP is packed full of insight. It may be the longest episode on HR ShopTalk so far because every second was valuable and insightful in my opinion. For instance:

– Hierarchy is natural
– Bureaucracy is hierarchy plus many rules
– The levels in an organization will be determined by complexity
– Too many levels might result in micromanaging
– There is a limit on the number of positions a person can meaningfully supervise
– Good organization design can save lives!

And on and on.

Find Len on LinkedIn at

Andrea Adams