The World of Restructuring in Organizations – Nu Leadership Series

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Mohandas Gandhi

Have you ever noticed that some organizations restructure more often than replace a bad manager? Everyone knows the manager is bad, but no one wants to deal with that issue. Therefore, we have another restructuring or reengineering happening in our organizations. Why are organizations still blaming their organizational structures? I’m not sure because it’s a taboo subject in most organizations. However, it’s my observation that “organizational structure isn’t the solution for everything.”

Unfortunately, many managers get caught up in the latest management fads. Structure follows strategy. In my own experience, the adage “when in doubt, reorganize” is in most managers’ toolbox. This logic has produced bad consequences in the government. For example, most government agencies are dealing with session planning. When conducting an internal assessment, the General Accounting Office found itself “too hierarchical, process oriented” and “internally focused.” Therefore, it’s important to develop the proper strategy.

Sometimes organizations can be too rigid in their organizational design; they lose their mission. Therefore, the consequences of overly emphasizing structure can be dangerous. Nadler and Tushman, renowned authors, maintain that employees can become alienated by the lack of variety, creativity, and motivation involved in a stagnant system. However, most leaders don’t want to change their outlook on structural changes.


General Accounting Office. (2003). Transformation, Challenges, and Opportunities (GAO-03-1167T, September 16, 2003).

Nadler, D. & Tushman, M. (1997). Competing by Design. New York: Oxford University Press.

Zenger, J. Musselwhite, E., Hurson, K., and Perrin, C. (1991). Leadership in a team environment. Training & Development, 45 (10), 46.

© 2007 by Daryl D. Green