Architecting Organizations: A Dynamic Strategic Contingency Perspective

A Focused Issue on Competence Perspectives on New Industry Dynamics

ISBN: 978-1-78052-882-3, eISBN: 978-1-78052-883-0

ISSN: 1744-2117

Publication date: 17 September 2012

Abstract

In this paper we extend established concepts of product and process architectures to propose a concept of organization architecture that defines the essential features of the system design of an organization needed to achieve an effective strategic alignment of an organization with its competitive and/or cooperative environment. Adopting a work process view of organization, we draw on concepts of product and process architectures to elaborate fundamental elements in the design of an organization architecture. We suggest that organization architectures may be designed to support four basic types of change in organization resources, capabilities, and coordination, which we characterize as convergence, reconfiguration, absorptive integration, and architectural transformation. We also suggest the kinds of strategic flexibilities that an organization must have to create and implement each type of organization architecture. We identify four basic types of strategic environments and consider the kinds of changes in resources, capabilities, and coordination that need to be designed into an organization's architecture to maintain effective strategic alignment with its type of environment. We then propose a typology that identifies four basic ways in which organizational architectures may be effectively aligned with strategic environments. Extending the reasoning underlying the proposed alignments of organization architectures with strategic environments, we propose a strategic principle of architectural isomorphism, which holds that maintaining effective strategic alignment of an organization with its environment requires achieving isomorphism across a firm's product, process, and organization architectures. We conclude by considering some implications of the analyses undertaken here for competence theory, general and mid-range strategy theory, and organization theory.

Keywords

Citation

Sanchez, R. (2012), "Architecting Organizations: A Dynamic Strategic Contingency Perspective", Sanchez, R. and Heene, A. (Ed.) A Focused Issue on Competence Perspectives on New Industry Dynamics (Research in Competence-Based Management, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 7-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1744-2117(2012)0000006004

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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