Coordination and Communication in Modern, Complex, Multiunit Firms

by Erin McCune on August 3, 2008

in Caught My Eye, Change Management, Management, Women Professionals

My work often involves bridging gaps, resolving misunderstandings, and fostering collaboration between the finance department and other parts of large, complex organizations. So I was intrigued by this recent research from HBS on " interaction patterns in modern, complex, multiunit firms."

Key findings:

  • Communication is heavily constrained by formal organizational structure: the vast majority of communication occurs within business unit and functional boundaries, not across them. This points to the importance of drawing the right organizational boundaries.
  • Women, mid- to high-level executives, and members of the executive management, sales, and marketing functions are most likely to participate in cross-group communications. These individuals provide a bridge for distant groups in a company's social structure.

Communication (and Coordination?) in a Modern, Complex Organization
Published: July 31, 2008
Paper Released: July 2008
Authors:    Adam M. Kleinbaum, Toby E. Stuart, and Michael L. Tushman

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