To read this content please select one of the options below:

A strategic approach to overhead management

Josh Lee (Partner of Monitor Group and the leader of its Adaptive OverheadTM practice (
Margaret Covell (Formerly a Partner of Monitor Group, was a pioneer of the firm's overhead management methodology.(

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 7 March 2008



Purpose of this paper

The average company spends 23 cents out of every dollar of revenue on overhead, yet most firms lack a plan or system for aligning the with their strategic goals. This paper aims to look at a strategic approach to overhead management.


The paper reframes how overhead can be categorized and assessed.


The paper finds that viewing overhead as an investment in a capability is the key to preventing wasteful stop‐and‐start cost‐cutting initiatives.

Practical implications

The paper presents a way to protect the critical capabilities of organizations that are likely to be at risk during cost‐cutting initiatives.


The paper offers a new framework for classifying what is spent on overhead and for evaluating the strategic logic of it, so that management can instill a new discipline to managing overhead.



Lee, J. and Covell, M. (2008), "A strategic approach to overhead management", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 40-46.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles