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Special collection: "New Trends in Organization Design"

The editors are currently evaluating submissions to a collection on "New Trends in Organization Design." 


In private as well as public organizations, we have been seeing changing organizational forms, a growing amount of importance placed on ecosystems for competitive advancement, the emergence of platform organizations, an increase in hybrid organizations, and many different experiments with flat organizations (absent hierarchy). The field of organization design is undergoing a renaissance. 

This collection is devoted to exploring new trends in organization design, including new themes and methods within the field.  

Aims and scope

How do we design organizations for the future? This is one of the “hot” topics preoccupying both researchers and practitioners:

“The way we organize to get things done and to create value is not fixed; it is shaped by available technologies, social norms, and regulatory systems of the times. Connective technologies, sensors, and vast amounts of data are rapidly changing how we do this and what is possible. They are reshaping patterns of work and organizational structures we’ve built up in the last century.” 

—Marina Gorbis, executive director of Institute for the Future, 2018.

“Design and experimentation are moving ahead as natural experiments that explore a portion of the “what might be” space. We are observing closely for insights and understanding. We need to go further to expand the design space and investigate the underlying mechanisms of structure and coordination through experimentation utilizing lab studies, simulations, field studies, and ethnographies, among other approaches.”

—"The science of organizational design: fit between structure and coordination" (Burton RM and Obel B. 2018.  7(1): 5)

In a 2003 Organization Science article called "Making a difference: Organization as design," Sjoerd Romme wrote that the “idea of a design involves inquiry into systems that do not yet exist—either complete new systems or new states of existing systems.” 

Increasingly competitive and multifaceted business landscapes, commonly referred to as VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environments, require organizations to be adaptive—implementing strategies rapidly and effectively in response to opportunities and challenges in global and local markets. Further, how do we design organizations for the future where people want to work? 

Experimentation is at the heart of the science of organizational design.

Guest Editors

Børge Obel  (Lead) is Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture, Denmark. He is also a professor in the Department of Management, Business and Social Sciences at Aarhus University, Denmark, and at EIASM, Brussels. He holds a PhD and a Dr. Oecon. from Aarhus U. His research interests fall within strategy, management, and organizational design. He teaches graduate courses in organizational design. 

Richard M. Burton is Professor Emeritus of Organization and Strategy at The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, USA. He holds a DBA, MBA, and BS from the University of Illinois, USA, and an Honorary Doctorate from Aarhus. He has written numerous articles and books with colleagues worldwide. His research focuses on organizational design—how to fashion a complex organization for goal attainment. 

Dorthe Døjbak Håkonsson is professor at Department of Management, Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University; professor at Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus; and and affiliated with the Interacting Minds Center at Aarhus. She holds a PhD from University of Southern Denmark. Her research interests fall within behavioral organization design. She teaches graduate and executive courses in organizational design, and bachelor courses in organizational behavior. 

Erik R. Larsen is Professor of Management at Aarhus University. He has a Master in Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark and a PhD in Economics from Copenhagen Business School. He previously held appointments at University of Lugano, Cass Business School, University of Bologna and London Business School. He has published widely in the areas of organizational theory, operations, and energy deregulation. 

Journal of Organization Design Editors-in-Chief
John Joseph, University of California, Irvine, USA
Metin Sengul, Boston College, USA