What kind of organization is yours?

According to Neilson, Pasternack and Van Nuys (2005), organizations can be classified into seven major types:

1. Resilient
  • Inspires both awe and envy because everything seems to come so easily to it: rewards, talent, respect
  • Is flexible, forward looking, and fun
  • Can attract team players easily
  • Is the healthiest type of organization
2. Just-in-Time
  • Demonstrates an ability to “turn on a dime” when necessary, without losing sight of the big picture
  • Has a “can-do” attitude
  • Has “one-hit wonders,” rather than a reliable source of advantage
  • Does not have consistent, disciplined structures and processes
  • Is not always proactive in preparing for change
3. Military Precision
  • Employees know their roles well and implements them diligently
  • Is hierarchical and operates under a highly controlled management model
  • Does not deal well with events for which it has not planned
4. Fits-and-Starts
  • Has smart people with enthusiasm and drive but they do not often pull in the same direction at the same time
  • Does not have strong direction from the top and a solid foundation of common values below
  • Is an overextended organization and almost out of control
5. Outgrown
  • Expands beyond its original organizational model
  • Power is closely held at the top
  • Top-down direction and decision-making is strictly enforced
  • Reacts slowly to market developments and often finds it can not get out of its own way
6. Overmanaged
  • Has multiple layers of organizational hierarchy
  • Managers micro-manage their subordinates
  • Is bureaucratic and highly political
  • Is not very suitable for self-starters and results-oriented individuals
7. Passive-Aggressive

+ Achieves consensus easily, but struggles to implement agreed-upon plans
+ Underground resistance from field operations routinely defeats headquarters initiatives

Among these seven types of organization, the healthiest one is Resilient, followed by Just-in-Time and Military Precision. The other four (Fits-and-Starts, Outgrown, Overmanaged and Passive-Aggressive) are all unhealthy. The following diagram shows the popularity of each type of organization:

Seven types of organization

The following quiz will help you to find out what kind of organization yours is. Please click here to do the quiz.

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc, 2012. The Seven Organization Types, [online] Available at:<http://www.boozallen.com/consulting/optimize-organization/organization-efficiency-and-effectiveness/mission-dna/organization-types-mission-dna> [Accessed 18 December 2012].
Neilson, G. L., Pasternack, B. A. and Van Nuys, K. E., 2005. The Passive Aggressive Organization. Harvard Business Review, October 2005, pp.82-92

One thought on “What kind of organization is yours?

  1. Pingback: The passive-agressive organization | Agile Vietnam

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