Article | Journal of Organization Design | 2013

The Strategic Fitness Process: A Collaborative Action Research Method for Developing Organizational Prototypes and Dynamic Capabilities

by Michael Beer

Abstract

Organizations underperform and sometimes fail because their leaders are unable to learn the unvarnished truth from relevant stakeholders about how the design and behavior of the organization is misaligned with its goals and strategy. The Strategic Fitness Process (SFP) was designed to enable leaders to overcome organizational silence about the misalignment with the environment and chosen strategy. By enabling an honest, organization-wide and public conversation, senior management teams, working collaboratively with scholar-consultants and organizational members, have access to valid data (the unvarnished truth), can conduct a valid diagnosis, and can develop a valid plan to change the structure, processes, and behavior of an organization while at the same time developing commitment that ensures execution. SFP is also a research method. By applying SFP iteratively to new and challenging situations, scholar-consultants can invent new organizational prototypes as well as learn if a standardized and institutionalized organizational learning process like SFP can enhance dynamic capabilities. The SFP model is illustrated with an application to Hewlett-Packard's Santa Rosa Systems Division.

Keywords: organization alignment; dynamic capabilities; organization design; organizational prototyping; organizational silence; organizational learning; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Strategic Planning; Organizational Design;