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in collaboration with Michael Goold

No previous (benchmark) strategic form can fit your company perfectly. (No matter how successful it was, even in a direct competitor). This is because it is as much about the “people factor” and its cultural dynamics as about tying departments to each other, reengineer the processes or create new job descriptions. The consideration of personalities, relationships, power plays and behaviors should accompany logic.
In today’s information age, networks (either structured or social) have become the main operational form of the business world. More than ever, key strategic resources should be linked to each other and to the outside world, not only by forced procedures and rules but also by structural and social ties that fit the organization. In other words, organizations should be designed and built around the social and structural realities that already exist. Current management practices, which are basically results oriented, may not be able to reveal networks that encapsulate the underlying dynamics. Real hierarchies shaping how the companies operate does not have to be found in organization charts but can be observed via methods designed for this purpose.

To capitalize on this concept, Fifth Thinking analyzes your company as an internal and external networked system; its strategies, its culture, information flows, power and attention structures, competencies and interactions all among each other. Only then can we develop a design that fits your organization.

Blending contemporary design criteria with our approach creates an organization that tackles today’s dynamic and complex business problems. To address this, by guidance of Michael Goold from ASMC, we have adapted the “networked organization” concept.
In a nutshell, Fifth Thinking identifies all value creating opportunities- either structural or social, not stand alone but as a linked system - and designs new generation organizations around these findings.

For our Network Organization design to work effectively, we call for:

  • Co-operative managers, who are willing to participate  fully in the network,
  • Rich information, provided by our intelligence gathering designs, which establishes the basis for collaborative decision making,
  • Respect for unit autonomy and unit boundaries, especially where specialist cultures need to be able to stand back from the network,
  • Realism about what sorts of co-ordination can and cannot be achieved by networking,
  • A recognition that upper levels of management need to play some vital parenting roles, which are essential for the success of the organization,
  • Relationships and performance measures that are designed to avoid the accountability problems that distributed structures often encounter, and

Clear unit roles and relationships and sufficient designed-in processes, so that self-managed networking can take place in accordance with the intentions of the organization designer, without descending into the frictions, ambiguities, and paralysis of traditional matrix structures.

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