Meeting Strategic Business Needs


Previous chapters have identified an increasing variety of organizational forms. New forms are being developed, while at the same time conventional forms persist. The aim of this chapter is to make sense of this varied picture in the wider economic context, and to consider emerging developments. The conventional approach to organization developed historically in relatively stable and simple environments. Under such conditions, it can promote efficiency through its emphasis on clarity of responsibilities and conformity to rules. These attributes are conducive to accountability, predictable behavior and low managerial overheads, but they can inhibit innovation and adaptability. However, Chapter 3 indicated that very few firms, or even public organizations, operate under stable and simple conditions any more.

The need for innovation and adaptability has therefore become significantly more important. At the same time, financial pressures from market competition or from tight budgets mean that efficiency and cost effectiveness continue to be a further requirement. Organization has to be designed in ways that reflect the balance between these various pressures. They can justly be called “strategic business needs” because the performance, even survival, of organizations depends on meeting them.

Understanding these three strategic needs – innovation, adaptability, and efficiency – can help us to make sense of organizational ...

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