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McKinsey 7-S Framework

What is the McKinsey 7-S Framework?

The McKinsey 7-S Framework is a management model created in the 1980s by two former McKinsey consultants, Robert H. Waterman Jr. and Tom J. Peters, to keep track of and assess changes in organizations. Waterman and Peters aimed to analyse how well an organization is positioned in order to achieve their goals.

The 7 Ss are known as structure, strategy, systems, skills, style, staff and shared values. If an organization wants to perform well, all 7 aspects must be implemented and work together in alignment. Therefore, the framework is used to help businesses identify which elements need to be realigned to ensure the 7 Ss can work together, to improve performance during many types of change. Waterman and Peters emphasise the importance of co-ordination, rather than structure, in the success of organizations.

No matter what type of change, the McKinsey Framework can be used to understand how all elements of the organization are interrelated and to ensure that the impact change in one element has on the other elements of the organization is taken into consideration. The McKinsey 7-S Framework is still an essential tool for today’s businesses to understand the complexity of organizations.

What are the 7 Interdependent Elements?

Structure – the way activities are divided, integrated and coordinated.

Strategy – the overall purpose of the business and how they seek to achieve competitive advantage.

Systems – the procedures for measurement, resource allocation and rewards.

Skills - the competencies and capabilities of an organization.

Style – the behavioural patterns of key groups within an organization.

Staff – the human resources of an organization.

Shared Values- the workforce is united with the same values in the organization.

The elements are broken down into two separate groups; ‘Hard’ elements and ‘Soft’ elements.

The three hard elements are strategy, structure and systems. These elements are easily identified and can be directly influenced by management in the organization.

The four soft elements are harder to define and are based on company culture, but they are equally as important to ensure company success. These elements are the skills, style, staff and shared values within the organization.

Why would I use the McKinsey 7-S Framework?

To improve company performance.

To align processes and departments during a merger or acquisition.

To analyse effects of future organizational change.

To determine how to introduce a new strategy in the most efficient and effective way.

Want to learn more about the McKinsey 7-S Framework?

Enduring Ideas: The 7-S Framework

McKinsey 7-S Framework

McKinsey 7-S Framework: A Simple Guide

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