Module Note | April 2010

Balancing Specialization and Diversification in Operations

by Robert S. Huckman


This note describes a module—taught as part of Operations Strategy, a second–year MBA elective at Harvard Business School—that helps students understand and manage the tradeoff between specialization and diversification in operations. The module introduces students to the benefits and limitations of focused operating models. It then examines the challenges created by operational diversification. It concludes by examining the multispecialty operation, a common organizational approach to managing the tradeoff between the benefits of focus and operational diversification. The module provides insight into addressing common challenges in the design and implementation of multispecialty models.

Keywords: Operations; Diversification; Organizational Design; Curriculum and Courses;


Huckman, Robert S. "Balancing Specialization and Diversification in Operations." Harvard Business School Module Note 610-079, April 2010.