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  • Webinar on "The Divergent Effects of Digitalization on Organizational Design"

Webinar on "The Divergent Effects of Digitalization on Organizational Design"

  • 21 Nov 2019
  • 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EST)
  • Zoom Webinar - Link to follow
  • 6


  • European Organisation Design Forum Members
  • Organization Design Forum Members

Registration is closed

The Organizational Design Community invites you to join Richard M. Burton and Børge Obel for a webinar titled "The Divergent Effects of Digitalization on Organizational Design"

Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 11.00 AM (EDT) 8.00 AM (PDT), 4.00 PM (GMT), 5.00 PM (CET), 6.00 PM (MSK), 11.00 AM (China ST).


The Divergent Effects of Digitalization on Organizational Design


Digitalization in information systems and intelligent robots is pulling organizations in two different directions – sometimes in the same firm.   In this webinar we examine these two effects with examples and then present a general framework for analyzing and predicting these evolving aspects of organizational design.

The digital era is characterized by three properties: exponential, digital, and combinatorial, (Brynjolfsson and McAfee 2014, p. 37).  Now new types of technologies including artificial intelligence, prediction algorithms, face recognition, and sensors and IOT everywhere put ever stronger pressure on the design of the organization. The new technologies change the world in which organizations operate as well as provide the basis for new ways to organize. The general notion that structure follows strategy requires that a digital strategy requires a revisit of the firm's organizational design.

The digital firm is a general term for organizations that have enabled core business relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, and other external partners through digital networks and digital processes (Laudon and Laudon, 2015).  We will discuss a number of examples including GitHub, Amazon, and other examples from banking, and boss-less startups, among others. 

Fundamentally, organizations are information-processing systems (Burton and Obel, 2004). Uncertainty and interdependency create the need for information processing in an organization. This is in the age of digitalization probably truer today than when the theory was developed. The basic design problem is to create an organizational design that matches the organization’s demand for information processing with its information-processing capacity, Galbraith (1973, 1974).  Underlying the theory is the assumption that “the greater the task uncertainty, the greater information-processing demands by decision makers” (Galbraith, 1973). Further, the more interdependency between the tasks, the more information-processing capacity is needed. Digitization changes both capacity and demand of information processing, but not in the same way in all organizations, as different ways of digitizing will have different effects on capacity and demand.

Exponential, digital, and combinatorial drives the organization to fast rapid innovation, which requires new organizational form with self-organizing, user driven innovation and self-selection teams. On the other hand, new technologies like AI, new types of sensors and prediction algorithms may make the environment less uncertain driving the organization towards a rule based bureaucracy.    

In this webinar, we will present some of these divergent effects of digitalization on organizational design, where digitalization can support new organizational forms with minimal hierarchy as well as be the basis for designing new effective bureaucracies.

Webinar is only for ODC, EODF and ODF members only.

Registration closes 11:00 am Eastern Time, November 20th 2019.

Hope you will be able to join us!

Watch the recording of the webinar 

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Membership in the community is open to any individual, firm, organization or institution with an interest in advancing the knowledge and practice of organization design and who wish to support and enhance ODC's mission.


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