© 1998

Strategic Organizational Diagnosis and Design

Developing Theory for Application


Part of the Information and Organization Design Series book series (INOD, volume 4)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 1-40
  3. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 41-82
  4. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 83-110
  5. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 111-144
  6. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 145-164
  7. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 165-210
  8. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 211-240
  9. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 241-279
  10. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 281-345
  11. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 347-355
  12. Mikael Søndergaard, Dorthe Døjbak
    Pages 399-437
  13. Richard M. Burton, Børge Obel
    Pages 439-461
  14. Back Matter
    Pages 463-480

About this book


STRATEGIC ORGANIZATIONAL DIAGNOSIS AND DESIGN, 3rd Edition, systematically surveys the substantive literature on organizational design and develops the theoretical framework of multiple contingency organizational design. The multiple contingencies in the theoretical framework cover the contingencies of size, technology, environment, and strategy, as well as leadership style and organizational climate and culture. These contingencies are mapped into design parameters such as organizational configuration, specialization, decision authority, information processing, coordination and control, and incentives.

The book examines a variety of existing organizational situations — which can include the reader's organization — and provides the structure and analysis to diagnose and assess what can be done to have a more efficient and effective organization. Burton and Obel's dynamic multiple contingency theory of organizations provides the analytical framework and tools for the OrgCon© — a knowledge-base expert system which has been thoroughly vetted with business executives.

The accompanying software, the OrgCon© with training guide and cases (CD bound into the book), provides a managerial tool kit to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of organizations. Specifically, OrgCon© offers the manager or student a "hands on" knowledge of organizational design. It guides the manager or student through cases or their own organization and enables them to analyze real world organizational problems and seek concrete organization design solutions. The book and the software tool kit are an integrated package and combine to provide the analytical framework and tools that will result in building intuitive understanding of organization design through interactive applications.

For additional information on the book and OrgCon©, see the following URLs: (hardbound) (paperback)


Top Management complexity information processing learning management organization organizations software strategy

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.The Fuqua School of BusinessDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of ManagementOdense UniversityOdenseDenmark

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Strategic Organizational Diagnosis and Design
  • Book Subtitle Developing Theory for Application
  • Authors Richard M. Burton
    Borge Obel
  • Series Title Information and Organization Design Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag US 1998
  • Publisher Name Springer, Boston, MA
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-7923-8229-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-0-7923-8247-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4684-0021-2
  • Series ISSN 1568-2668
  • Edition Number 2
  • Number of Pages , 504
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Management
    IT in Business
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


"The first edition of Burton and Obel's Strategic Organizational Diagnosis and Design offered the first ever synthesis of the entire contingency theory literature into a lucid and coherent teaching framework. At the same time, the methodology for organizational diagnosis and design captured in the Organizational Consultant software provided a uniquely valuable new teaching, learning, and consulting tool.
The second edition of this modern classic in organization design extends the scope of the first edition by adding a whole new section on organizational climate, and one on analyzing companies organizations using publicly available data. The Organization Consultant has been rewritten for Windows and significantly enhanced. Teaching organizational design with this book and software package was exceptionally easy, enjoyable and fruitful, so that my teaching evaluations for this class reached an all-time high!" (Class: Designing Project and Company Organizations
Instructor: Raymond E. Levitt, Professor of Construction Engineering and Management, School of Engineering, Stanford University)

"I have been teaching organization theory in the business school for some years; the students have great difficulty with the concepts and their meaning for them as future managers. Based upon the Burton and Obel book and ORGCON software, I have developed a pedagogy which excites the students about organizational design and gives them a structure for understanding the basic concepts in organization theory. I begin the course with a Danish company prospectus which provides a lot of information about the company. In small teams, the students develop the data inputs for the ORGCON software. They are asked to operationalize organization theory concepts in a managerial design context. Thereafter, the integration of theory and application is quite normal and they are able to focus on the complex problems of design choice and organizational change for implementation." (Torkild Jorgensen, The Aarhus School of Business)