Organisation Diagnosis Projects

Case Studies

Organisation Diagnosis Projects

E-Business in a UK Clearing Bank

The re-organisation of this national clearing bank into centres of excellence (e.g. call centres, service centres) had been intended to provide a nationwide service. An unexpected consequence was the fracturing of the integrated service previously received through the branch network. An in-depth analysis of the organisational structure of the bank, combined with process mapping enabled the creation of mechanisms to re-integrate the service to the customer.

Restructuring IS in a Pharmaceuticals Company

Applying the Viable System Model to the parent organisation showed misalignment of the IS department to the needs of the business, which led onto this exercise in analysis and redesign of the IS department. The department had been seen as over-centralised, remote and as providing a poor service to its internal customers.  Analysis had shown that an even more significant problem was about to hit the department since it was not structured to be able to effectively deliver the big cross-company program changes that were due to be introduced. The restructuring led to a closer identification between IS support teams and their customers, and to an improvement in their capacity to deliver company-wide programs effectively.

Recommending Structural Change in a University Department

This teaching school within a university had significant problems, with toxic relationships between the school management team and the rest of the staff, and extreme levels of stress.  Diagnosis using the Viable System Model found a near-absence of any organisational structure or management processes, making it virtually impossible for the staff to deliver, except through unsustainable individual and team heroics.  Recommendations to implement effective structures into the school gave the management team and the staff a clear programme to collaborate on, building bridges and co-developing a better place to work for all.

Settling the Centralise-Decentralise Debate in a Sales Function

An international materials supplier delivered on a national and local basis. Some contracts could be made to supply nationally and drawn off locally over the period of the contract; others were one-off. This mixture of local and global concerns for one function made the issue of centralisation and decentralisation extremely complex. The models developed through an organisational analysis improved the company’s understanding of the important issues. Providing strong integrating mechanisms allowed the company to centralise those aspects that required global consideration whilst leaving local service provision decentralised.

Structural Review in a Large NHS Teaching Hospital

Following a major restructuring, the largest division in this hospital was undergoing problems. These intractable problems were very ill defined, and apparently interlinked. Organisational diagnosis of the divisional structure of the hospital using the Viable System Model revealed how a set of systemic problems were disadvantaging this division at both an operational and a strategic level, giving rise to this set of problem symptoms. Using System Dynamics modelling showed the heavily interdependent nature of their most acute organisational problems. An integrated plan was developed to tackle a range of systemic problems in a structured and developmental way.

Restructuring to cope with Cuts

The information support services in a large pharmaceutical company faced cuts in funding together with changes in priorities from their internal customer base. The challenge for the leadership team was to maintain as many of their existing key services whilst extending to cover new priorities whilst cutting costs. Fractal developed a process that allowed the leadership team to assess organisation options to find the one that offered the greatest resilience to both the immediate changes being threatened and those likely in the medium term.

Restructuring for Privatisation

A publicly owned research organisation was threatened with major changes as it and its industry moved towards the private sector. Organisational analysis helped the organisation recognise the differences in structure that they needed to operate effectively as an independent business rather than in their traditional role as the intelligence unit for a large public sector body.