What's New (and What's Not)
in the Strategic Enterprise
Janet L. Spencer, J. Carlos Rivero, David A. Nadler
Today's business leaders stand at a crossroads: the models and frameworks that shaped leading organizations from the end of the Second World War through the conclusion of the Cold War have been rendered obsolete by a new era of digital business, perpetual innovation, and global competition. The design and leadership of complex enterprises capable of creating and sustaining value over the long term requires an entirely new way of thinking about organizations. We believe the answer lies in an emerging pattern of organization architecture: the Strategic Enterprise (“The Strategic Enterprise,” 2000).
In our view, the Strategic Enterprise will take its place as the third modern paradigm of organization design. From the late 1940s through the early 1960s, the dominant model was the integrated operating company—a tight collection of closely related operating units characterized by similar business designs and closely linked by consistent patterns of management structures and processes. Then came the conglomerates, portfolio holding companies consisting of widely varying businesses loosely linked through a common financial pool. The Strategic Enterprise, in