Open Program

Advanced Organization Design

Create the structure that fits your strategy and your people.

This four-day program will give you the tools and frameworks you need to assess, challenge and implement successful organization structures.

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Upcoming Dates

22 Jan 2018 - 25 Jan 2018

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21 May 2018 - 24 May 2018

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01 Oct 2018 - 04 Oct 2018

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Program Overview

This program is designed around a rigorous framework for making organization structure decisions and for identifying linking processes, skills and attitudes that are needed to make the design work. This is an opportunity to improve your skills in an area where most companies fall short.

You will learn:

  • The theory and tools of organization design work, including organizational charts, a language for organizational roles and relationships, the nine tests of good organization design and a tool for defining decision responsibilities
  • The process of organization design – the steps of analysis, who should be involved, how long it should take, how changes should be communicated and your role in the process
  • The methods other participants have used in their business design work.

Content and Structure

Residential Phase

The tools and frameworks are presented to you, then applied through short exercises based on case studies or current organizational challenges that you face. More involved case studies are used to help you link the tools together.

Syndicate groups are used to help you share your experiences and support each other as you learn together. Action learning groups help you develop new perspectives about your issues. The program focuses on:

  • The Star Model – a framework for understanding organizations
  • The Stakeholder Model – for assessing organization performance
  • A list of structural archetypes that define the main alternative ways of structuring an organization
  • The organizational model – a method for drawing organization charts that communicates the relationships that should exist between different parts of the structure
  • A language for roles and relationships to help clarify the part that each element in the structure plays in helping the organization succeed
  • A list of ten levers that can be used by designers to help make the organization more effective  – four hard levers (such as structure) and six soft levers (such as rewards)
  • The nine tests of organization design (see the model below)
  • A framework for understanding strategy so that it can be translated into implications for organization design
  • The RAPID tool for allocating responsibilities for decisions
  • A process for doing organization design work  involving a diagnostic, listing design criteria, developing options, evaluating preferred options and communicating and implementing change.
Nine tests diagramProcess steps

View program timetable


Ashridge is committed to ensuring that your learning is sustainable and continues long after you leave Ashridge. You will be given a toolkit to take away, have access to a website with other relevant material and be able to contact your tutors for ongoing support.  

Related content

All Ashridge Open Programs are taught in English, find out how we can help you to improve your English.

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Advanced Organisation Design has an average net promoter score of 86%.

"You, Iain, Mikel, and the group really opened new horizons. This programme will give me guidance and inspiration for the next few years."  

Ralph Sobiech, Director, Merck

"Brilliantly useful course content made more powerful by being surrounded by colleagues who were from interesting roles/organisations and other nationalities. The dynamic of having an academic, consultant and business leader is fundamental to the course content success. Thank you."

Alison Bawn, Head of People Support, Virgin Media.

"Thank you very much. I have found the four days excellent. The mix between learning, case studies, live studies and additional coaching has meant I have learnt a lot and have been able to relate it back to my organisation challenges."

Emma Harvey, Programme Director, Axa UK.

“This was a highly relevant program and balanced the academic and pragmatic application brilliantly. The other course participants were also superb experienced professionals who made the debate even more relevant.”

Jackie Lanham, Director of Group Resourcing & Development, The Co-Operative Group.

“My class colleagues gave invaluable insights and made the theory come to life. It was a great investment of time and I found it very worthwhile.”

Jacqueline Abbott-Deane, Director, Tactix Consulting.

“Loved it. Will be really useful for my organizational issues.”

Lorna Hunt, Head of HR - EMEA and Marketing, William Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd.

“The course was really really great, one of the best I have ever been on. I have learnt a lot and I feel very privileged to have been taught by all of you!”

Anaam Naomi Heer, HR Manager, Jaguar Land Rover.

I not only learnt a great deal. The course helped with a reorganization I am leading more than I could ever have imagined.

Deborah Strazza, Head of Organization Effectiveness & Talent, John Lewis Partnership.

Program fee

Price: £4,750.00 + VAT
What is included in your open program fee?
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Who is it for?

The program gives advanced training to experienced Organizational Development specialists, line managers and senior HR professionals. It is particularly suited to HR business partners working closely with a function, division or business unit. It is also suitable for consultants and other professionals whose work involves organizational design.

Benefits to you and your organization

  • You will be able to assess the suitability of your current structure or of a proposed new structure
  • You will learn how to lead an organization design project
  • You will be able to identify where a company's structure is weak and generate ideas to make the structure more effective
  • You will be able to decide where processes, skills, people decisions, values, reward systems and leadership styles need to be strengthened to make your chosen organization structure work.

Research Base

This program is based on two streams of research at Ashridge. The first is the work by Andrew Campbell and Michael Goold on the management challenges of large complex organizations. One project, completed in 2002, focused on organization design. The result was a ground breaking book Designing Effective Organizations. This book provides the first rigorous framework for making organization design decisions.

The second stream of research has been focused on collaboration. In particular on how to improve collaboration inside organizations. Andrew Campbell and Michael Goold studied synergy initiatives within organizations and published The Collaborative Enterprise.

More recently, Howell Schroeder and Andrew Campbell have been working with companies on the skills and behaviours needed to make collaborative relationships work. This research has resulted in a much deeper understanding of the different relationships that exist inside organizations and has led to articles such as an Internal collaboration is not a team and Organization charts as organization models.

Faculty Team

Andrew Campbell

Andrew Campbell


Read more about Andrew

Iain Slater

Iain Slater


Read more about Iain

Mikel Gutiérrez

Mikel Gutiérrez

Read more about Mikel