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The Special Issue "The appeal and risks of maverick organization design practices "- Read More

There are maverick organizational design practices that generate a lot of hype and interest. By maverick practices, we mean organization structures, processes, and tools that deviate from the norm. Examples include a refusal to rely on the management hierarchy for the division of labor and the integration of effort, eliminating stable boundaries between groups, or removing traditional mechanisms of allocating work and rewards. Some labels we have seen in the last decade for this include Holacracy (Bernstein et al., 2016), the ‘Spotify model’ (Gerster, Brenner & Dremel, 2020), Haier’s rendanheyi model (Luo et al., 2018), Agile (Rigby, Sutherland & Takeuchi, 2016), and more recently, decentralized autonomous organizations or DAOs (Hsieh et al., 2018). These ideas are often developed by entrepreneurs or leadership teams that are looking to disrupt the status quo. They find some early successes in adopting these novel practices, and – unsurprisingly – other companies proceed to copy what looks like a new best practice. At times, these radically new ways of organizing enjoy only short-lived success, causing the originators to abandon these ideas in part or in whole. In other cases, the originating company sustains the practice for years, further evolving and refining it. Meanwhile, as the originators outgrow or further evolve their maverick practices, the imitators discover that they may have over-rotated, creating major downsides. These companies may end up adopting a much diluted version of the practice or giving up altogether. At times, the maverick vision is used by leaders to inspire change in their organizations even if the ultimate intention is to only adopt whatever part of the original idea is feasible and value-adding.

In this special issue, we want to further explore this dynamic, both from the perspective of the originator as from that of the imitator. For this exploration, we are aiming to collect contributions from both practitioners and academics. Our aim is to contribute to the knowledge at the disposal of practitioners, specifically when it comes to generating, appraising, and applying novel organization design practices.

Editors for Special Issue

Jeroen van Bree, Berenschot & University of Amsterdam

Martin Gonzalez, Google & Stanford University

Oliver Baumann, University of Southern Denmark

Brian Wu, University of Michigan

Submission Deadline:

Full Manuscripts: December 12th, 2023

Journal of Organization Design

The Journal of Organization Design (JOD) is an official publication of the Organizational Design Community published by Springer. JOD's mission is to publish theoretical and practical articles on all aspects of organization design. JOD is particularly interested in publishing articles that are future oriented.

JOD has a distinguished editorial board and a double-blind review process, ensuring that the journal maintains rigorous scientific standards and publishes high-quality work. As JOD is an official publication of ODC, all of members have complementary access to journal's content. Everyone interested can also submit their article for the journal, get it reviewed and possibly published. JOD is covered by the major abstracting and indexing services so authors’ work is widely available. The editorial team of JOD is committed to conducting a prompt review and editorial process so that authors are able to publish their ideas and findings in a timely fashion.

For a complete description of Journal of Organization Design or to sign up for authoring, please visit the journal website.

To access the current issues you need to be an active member of the Organizational Design Community.

Journal Update

The “Organizing for Good” campaign was jointly launched by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC) and the Organizational Design Community (ODC) and generated a lot of engagement, a conference, webinars, and this Special Issue in JOD. 

A collaboration between Brian and Oliver and our guest editors Jerry Davis (University of Michigan), Sven Kunisch (Aarhus University), Jiao Luo (University of Minnesota), this special issue seeks to advance knowledge about the organization design of grand societal challenges, by imaging organization designs as problem-solving systems to foster collective action that is needed to solve these grand challenges. This includes not only the design choices required to successfully implement sustainability initiatives within existing organizations, but also new ways of organizing to meet the opportunities and challenges presented by the growing attention to these issues. In other words, if the organizations we have today are not up to the task of creating a sustainable future for mankind, what new forms of organizing do they need to be replaced with?

Organizing for good—using organization design to take on grand challenges by Oliver Baumann, Gerald F. Davis, Sven Kunisch, Jiao Luo & Brian Wu [Point of View - open access]. 

Have a look at the insightful survey results on “What do/don’t we know” about the role of org design for progressing towards the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). This article highlights a plethora of very current research ideas in the field of org design.

Designing inclusive organizational identities by Ashlyee Freeman & Özgecan Koçak [Research Primer - open access]

In this research primer on creating inclusive workplaces, Ashlyee and Özgecan highlight the need to facilitate employee participation, transparency about DEIB efforts, for managers to act as stewards of the organizational identity, and argue for a bottom-up approach to identity claims. 

Purpose-driven transformation: a holistic organization design framework for integrating societal goals into companies by Rebecca Elliott Carballo [Research article - open access]

Tackling the process of how an organization can start to integrate more societal goals into the organization’s system, Rebecca adapts the star model of organizing to highlight a possible path and uses Nespresso and Etsy to highlight this transformative journey. 

Designing a deep-tech venture builder to address grand challenges and overcome the valley of death by A. Georges L. Romme, John Bell & Guus Frericks [ Research article - open access]

With Europe’s surprisingly limited ability to transform its many technological breakthroughs and innovations into successful ventures and companies, Georges and colleagues develop a comprehensive system design for building deep-tech ventures that help solve the SDGs.

Incorporating the choice of centralized vs. decentralized resource allocation into sustainability frameworks by Runar J. Solberg [Point of View - open access]

In this point of view article, Runar discusses how the mode of resource allocation (decentralized or centralized) influences organizational efforts to find and select sustainability practices.

Harnessing self-management to tackle grand challenges: the points-based participation architecture of São Paulo’s housing movement by Nuno A. Gil, Maria C. Sousa & Felipe G. Massa [Point of View - open access]

Inspired by their ongoing study of the housing movement in Sao Paulo, Nuno and coauthors propose that hierarchical organizations can foster and maintain the collaboration of a large number of autonomous actors by establishing self-managed, mission-aligned collectives.

Fit for solving the grand challenges? From organization design choices to ecosystem solutions by Tina C. Ambos & Katherine Tatarinov [Point of View - open access]

With a view on system level design, Tina and Katherine explore the role and ability of different organizational designs to tackle the SDGs and call for a greater focus on collaborative ecosystem solutions.

Designing human resource management systems in the age of AI by Patrick Nicolas Tinguely, Junghyun Lee & Vivianna Fang He [Point of View - open access]

With an eye on how human-AI interactions will influence organizations, Patrick and colleagues highlight the importance of AI explainability, the impact of AI in high statkes contexts, and its potential impact on employees’ professional identity. 

Klima DAO: a crypto answer to carbon markets by Michal Jirásek [Organization Zoo - open access]

This Organization Zoo article describes Klima DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in the carbon credit trading market. Klima DAO leverages blockchain technology for its governance and product delivery. 

JOD encourages an active conversation in our journal and we are publishing three Commentaries on this article. In Klima DAO: an intermediary in a nascent market, Magdalena Dobrajska questions whether design, objectives, technology, and incentives are in fact aligned for Klima DAOs role as an intermediary in a nascent market. 

Its radically decentralized structure generated a discussion of whether Klima DAO truly represents a novel, flat kind of organization in the Commentary Unveiling the familiar in the unconventional: the case of Klima DAObyNicolai J. Foss & Tianjiao Xu.

In a third Commentary,Some challenges for the “new DAOism”: a comment on Klima DAO, Vivianna Fang He & Phanish Puranam argue that while the generalizability of Klima DAO may be limited, the case still offers useful insights about decentralzed organizing. 

Journal of Organization Design had 3,987 downloads of the 1 paper(s) classified as relevant to SDG17 

Springer Nature journals published over 677 articles directly related to Sustainable Development Goals 17: Partnership for the goals with over 1.6 million downloads. 

Journal article are classified under one or more SDG's based on a model created with Digital Science, Springer Nature, and USNU, a Dutch university consortium on a joint Open Science project. You can learn more here.

Developing a governance model for PPP infrastructure service delivery based on lessons from Eastern Australia published in Journal of Organization Design is one of those paper. 

*Metrics are complied from all time totals available in SN Insights

Inaugural ODC-Accenture Best Paper Award in the Journal of Organization Design

For the first time, four outstanding researchers receive the Organization Design Community-Accenture Annual Prize in distinct categories for Established & Junior Scholar, Academic and Best Practice-oriented Paper in the Journal of Organization Design

In 2023, the chairs of the Organizational Design Community (ODC), the Editorial Board of the Journal of Organization Design (JOD), and representatives of ODC’s corporate member Accenture announced that the authors of the four best articles published in JOD in the past year will receive a best paper award along with a gift, sponsored by Accenture and ODC.

The award honors authors whose research addresses current topics in the broad field of organizational design.

Congratulations to:

Kazuhiro Asakawa (Keio University): Disaggregating the headquarters: implications for overseas R&D subsidiaries’ reporting and the subsidiaries’ knowledge-sharing patterns

for receiving the Annual Prize for Best Research Paper.

Jaeho Kim (Wharton) & Andy Wu (Harvard University): Extending the role of headquarters beyond the firm boundary: entrepreneurial alliance innovation

for receiving the Annual Prize for Best Research Paper by a doctoral student.

Marianne Livijn (Aarhus University): Navigating in a Hierarchy: How Middle Managers Adapt Macro Design 

for receiving the Annual Prize for Best Practice-oriented Paper by a doctoral student.

Nicolay Worren (Norwegian University of Life Sciences), Tore Christiansen & Kim Verner Soldal: Using an algorithmic approach for grouping roles and sub-units

for receiving the Annual Prize for Best Practice-oriented Paper.

Editorial team

Editorial board

Daniel Albert, Drexel University, USA

Kazuhiro Asakawa, Keio University, Japan

Carliss Baldwin, Harvard Business School, USA

Michael Beer, Harvard Business School, USA

Julian Birkinshaw, London Business School, UK

Kirsimarja Blomqvist, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland

Magnus Broundal, Tax Appeals Agency, Denmark

Anne Bøllingtoft, Aarhus University, Denmark

Laura B. Cardinal, University of South Carolina, USA

Timothy N. Carroll, University of the Pacific, USA

Xavier Castaner, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Joe Cheng, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Julien Clement, Stanford University, USA

Giada Di Stefano, Bocconi University, Italy

Magdalena Dobrajska, Charles III University of Madrid, Spain

Anne-Laure Fayard, New York University, USA

Annabelle Gawer, University of Surrey, UK

George P. Huber, University of Texas at Austin, USA

Sirkka Jarvenpaa, University of Texas at Austin, USA

John Joseph, University of California, Irvine, USA

Samina Karim, Northeastern University, USA

Beth Kaufman, The Boston Consulting Group, USA

Daniel Keum, Columbia University, USA

Peter Klaas, WTT, Denmark

Ozgecan Kocak, Emory University, USA

Vegard Kolbjørnsrud, BI Norwegian Business School, Norway

Tobias Kretschmer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

Sven Kunisch, Aarhus University, Denmark

Kristina Lauche, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands

Sunkee Lee, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Christopher Lettl, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

Saku Mantere, McGill University, Canada

Børge Obel, Aarhus University, Denmark

Tomasz Obloj, HEC Paris, France

Marlo Raveendran, University of California, Riverside, USA

Markus Reitzig, University of Vienna, Austria

Luis Rios, Purdue University, USA

Georges Romme, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands

Metin Sengul, Boston College, USA

Nicolaj Siggelkow, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Charles Snow, Pennsylvania State University, USA

Giuseppe Soda, Bocconi University, Italy

Bart Vanneste, University College London, UK

Henk W. Volberda, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Alex Wilson, University of Minnesota, USA

Andy Wu, Harvard University, USA

Sangyoon Yi, KAIST, South Korea


Oliver Bauman, University of Southern Denmark

Marlo Raveendran, University of California, Riverside

Brian Wu, University of Michigan, USA

Associate editors

Weiru Chen (Research Articles, Translationals), CEIBS and Alibaba Group, China

Nicolai Foss (Research Articles), Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Dorthe Døjbak Håkonsson (Translationals, Organization Zoo), Aarhus University, Denmark

Patricia Klarner (Research Articles), Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

Thorbjørn Knudsen (Research Articles), Frankfurt School, Germany

Gwendolyn Lee (Research Articles), University of Florida, USA

William Ocasio (Research Articles), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Brian Pentland (Research Articles), Michigan State University, USA

Mikolaj Jan Piskorski (Case Studies, Translationals), IMD Business School, Switzerland

Phanish Puranam (Organization Zoo, Point of View Articles), INSEAD, Singapore

Kannan Srikanth (Research Articles), Ohio State University, USA

Libby Weber (Research Articles), University of California, Irvine, USA

Maciej Workiewicz (Research Articles), ESSEC Business School, France

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