Background Note | HBS Case Collection | February 1991 (Revised May 2016)

Note on Organizational Structure

by Ethan Bernstein and Nitin Nohria


Provides the reader with a basic understanding of organizational structure. The first section outlines some of the key tools and criteria that must be taken into account in designing organizational structures. In the second section, some archetypal forms of organizational structure and their strengths and weaknesses are described. Finally, some emerging trends in how organizations are structured are discussed in the last section of this note, supplemented by a brief summary, in timeline format, of the evolution of organizational structure in theory and practice.

Keywords: Organizational Structure;


Bernstein, Ethan, and Nitin Nohria. "Note on Organizational Structure." Harvard Business School Background Note 491-083, February 1991. (Revised May 2016.)