The best books on how to define, think about, and improve organizations

Dave Ulrich Author Of Reinventing the Organization: How Companies Can Deliver Radically Greater Value in Fast-Changing Markets
By Dave Ulrich

The Books I Picked & Why

Designing Organizations: Strategy, Structure, and Process at the Business Unit and Enterprise Levels

By Jay R. Galbraith

Designing Organizations: Strategy, Structure, and Process at the Business Unit and Enterprise Levels

Why this book?

Jay Galbraith was the godfather of organization design. His work on how to design organizations has been the foundation of future work. He provides a system model with five parts (his star model) to diagnose and improve the organization. He also highlights the importance and role of information that flows from good organization design which was ahead of its time.


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Competing for the Future

By Gary Hamel, CK Prahalad

Competing for the Future

Why this book?

This is another classic in that it redefines the organization less as morphology and structure and more as a set of capabilities. Capabilities represent what an organization is known for and good at doing. Creating the right organization is less about roles and rules, but more about identifying and creating the right capabilities.


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Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them

By Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini

Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them

Why this book?

This book does a very nice job highlighting the costs of traditional bureaucracy and shows that bureaucracy costs the economy trillions of dollars. The authors then review how to create an organization where people feel empowered to accomplish all that they can. By fulling engaging the hearts, minds, and actions of people, organizations are more successful over time.


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The Agility Factor: Building Adaptable Organizations for Superior Performance

By Christopher G. Worley, Edward E. Lawler, Thomas D. Williams

The Agility Factor: Building Adaptable Organizations for Superior Performance

Why this book?

Ed Lawler has a lifetime of melding academic theory and organization practice. In this research based book, he and his colleagues not only recognize that agility matters, but they do research to validate processes that create organization agility. Agility is one of the emerging capabilities for a successful organization in today’s changing world. Anything El Lawler works is well thought out, researched, and usable.


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Competing by Design: The Power of Organizational Architecture

By Michael Tushman, David Nadler, Mark B. Nadler

Competing by Design: The Power of Organizational Architecture

Why this book?

In doing organization diagnosis, it is important to have a framework for thinking about and designing organizations. Like an architect, organization and management practitioners can become architects who build blueprints for creating the right organization. The Nadler/Tushman model is one of the most insightful and comprehensive frameworks for organization diagnosis and improvement.


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