15.320 | Spring 2011 | Graduate

Strategic Organizational Design


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Description

Traditional strategy courses focus on gaining competitive advantage from products. This course focuses on gaining competitive advantage from organizational design. Special emphasis will be placed on early examples of innovative organizational forms that haven’t yet been proven but that may, in the future, provide significant competitive advantages.

The course should be especially useful for students who hope to be:

  • Consultants helping companies develop effective organizational designs.
  • Entrepreneurs looking to leverage organizational design to create strategic advantage for their companies.
  • Leaders inventing new ways of organizing work to achieve their visions in any kind of organization.


The following book is required for the course:

Malone, Thomas W. The Future of Work. Harvard Business School Press, 2004. ISBN: 9781591391258.

Additional readings are also required and cited on the Readings page. These required readings include excerpts from the following books, although reading these books in their entirety is also highly recommended:

Kates, Amy, and Jay R. Galbraith. Designing Your Organization. Jossey-Bass, 2007. ISBN: 9780787994945.

Surowiecki, James. The Wisdom of Crowds. Anchor/Random House, 2005. ISBN: 9780385721707.

Tapscott, Don, and Anthony D. Williams. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Portfolio/Penguin, 2006. ISBN: 9781591841388.

Hamel, Gary. The Future of Management. Harvard Business School Press, 2007. ISBN: 9781422102503.

Howe, Jeff. Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business. Crown Business, 2008. ISBN: 9780307396204.


Class participation

You are expected to participate actively in class discussions, and part of your grade will depend on your presence in class and the quantity and quality of your contributions to class discussion.

Reaction papers

To help you integrate and think about the course readings, a very short paper (about 1 page) is due at the beginning of each class session for which readings are assigned, up to a total of 5 papers during the semester. (You can pick the 5 sessions for which you want to write papers.) These papers should contain your reactions to the readings for the session and possibly previous class discussions. Please do not just summarize the readings. Instead, please focus on your own thoughts about the readings. For instance, you might relate the readings to your own experiences, to other readings, to questions you have, or to other possibilities like those discussed in the readings.

You may, of course, discuss the readings with other students, but the papers are expected to be your individual work.

Team project

Information on the team project can be found in the Projects section.


Class participation 35%
Reaction papers (5) 15%
Team project 50%

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2011
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes