The Evolution of Enterprise Organization Designs

Journal of Organization Design, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 1-13, 2012

13 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2012 Last revised: 14 Jan 2015

Date Written: August 1, 2012


This article extends Alfred Chandler's seminal ideas about strategy and organizational structure, and it predicts the next stage of organizational evolution. Chandler described the evolution of vertical integration and diversification strategies for which the functional and multidivisional structures are appropriate. He also explained how the dominant structure at any point in time is a concatenation or accumulation of all previous strategies and structures. I extend Chandler's ideas by describing how early 'structures' became 'organizations' (people, rewards, management processes, etc.) and by discussing the more recent strategies of international expansion and customer focus. International expansion leads to organizations of three dimensions: functions, business units, and countries. Customer-focused strategies lead to four-dimensional organizations currently found in global firms such as IBM, Nike, and Procter & Gamble. I argue that the next major dimension along which organizations will evolve is emerging in firms which are experimenting with the use of 'Big Data.'

Keywords: organization design, organization structure, strategy and structure

Suggested Citation

Galbraith, Jay R., The Evolution of Enterprise Organization Designs (August 1, 2012). Journal of Organization Design, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 1-13, 2012, Available at SSRN:

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