Organization Design: Simplifying complex systems, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Organization Design

Simplifying complex systems, 1st Edition

By Nicolay Worren


310 pages | 76 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138502864
pub: 2018-05-17
Hardback: 9781138502857
pub: 2018-05-10
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315145112
pub: 2018-05-20
from $31.48

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A well-designed organization is an effective organization. Decisions about organization design determine the shape and form of the organization – not only the reporting structure and authority relations, but also the number and size of sub-units and the interfaces between the sub-units. Indirectly, such decisions affect individual productivity as well as the organization’s ability to attain strategic goals.    

Organization Design equips the reader with advanced tools and frameworks, based on both research and practical experience, for understanding and re-designing organizations. Particular emphasis is placed on how one can improve effectiveness by simplifying complex roles, processes, and structures.    

Readers will find thorough conceptual explanations combined with examples from different industries. This updated second edition includes a new chapter about traditional organizational forms, and is complemented by a companion website.

This textbook will be essential reading for students, scholars, and practitioners.


"This book makes for an insightful read for anyone interested in organisation design. It is a ‘must have’ for organisation design practitioners."

- Dr Gabriele Birnberg, Senior Director, KPMG UK

"Contemporary thinking about organization design that is both rigorous and practical is rare. Worren combines these attributes in a book that will be very useful for senior managers making design decisions about how to manage and coordinate various sub-units they are responsible for. His approach shows how to manage complexity, not by assuming it away, but by offering useful ways to tame it."

- Phanish Puranam, The Roland Berger Chaired Professor of Strategy and Organisation Design, INSEAD

Praise for the previous edition:

“Nicolay Worren provides a much needed blend of organization design theory and practice as well as a rigorous approach to simplifying today’s complex global enterprises. It is an essential read for any organizational designer”

- Marc Gerstein, past president of the Organization Design Forum and author of Organizational Architecture and Flirting with Disaste

“…The message that organization design is a part of every managers’ job, is a major determinant of effectiveness, but requires considerable skill, comes through load and clear from this book. With its use of challenges, key questions and proposed approaches the book explains complex concepts and provides a good blend academic insight and practical relevance”

- Paul R. Sparrow, Director, Centre for Performance-led HR, Lancaster University Management School

“In training the future leaders of the corporate world, business schools have historically placed little emphasis on organization design. Nicolay Worren’s book on organization design demonstrates this is a huge mistake. How we design our corporations has an enormous impact on their performance! Worren develops a novel, complexity-oriented approach by advocating a ‘design’ rather than ‘decision-making’ attitude. Worren’s book draws on organizational architecture as a key notion and also provides a clear, step-by-step process toward applying core ideas in organizational design and architecture. A must-read for today’s (aspiring) managers.”

- Georges Romme, Dean of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands

“This clearly written book offers a contemporary and thoughtful presentation of the architectural options involved in organisational design. It candidly acknowledges the neglect of organisational design in much research (…). It emphasizes that the topic of organisational design must include processes of design (…) Overall, Nicolay Worren persuasively makes the argument that organizational design deserves to be a core topic in the modern business school."

- Lex Donaldson, Professor of Management in Organisational Design, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales

Table of Contents

  1. Why design matters
  2. Organizational complexity
  3. Traditional organizational forms
  4. Designing multidimensional organizations
  5. Designing sub-units
  6. Defining the vertical structure
  7. Configuring interfaces
  8. Managing the organization design process
  9. Resolving organization design dilemmas

About the Author

Nicolay Worren is an associate professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Before entering academia in 2015, he was a management consultant and participated in more than 25 organization re-design projects. He holds a Master’s degree in psychology from McGill University and received his doctorate in management studies from Oxford University. He writes a blog:

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Human Resources & Personnel Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Strategic Planning
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Workplace Culture
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Development