Business Role Design - CASE STUDY

Issue: The Problem

Significant organisational and strategic change had created a lack of accountability, ambiguity and blurred work roles. This effected the executive and several divisions of a national sales and distribution firm. Discontent and a lack of collaboration were impacting effort. 

Ideas: Our Thinking

Experience told us that executing a new strategy is supported by a parallel re-alignment of roles. Structural change requires a re-examination of the assumptions and practices relating to specific roles. We drew on the thinking of Borwick and our experience in role design. We proposed an Organisational Role Analysis Project.

Innovation: What We Did

An advisory team was created to sponsor and drive the project. Together we defined the project outcomes and the method for communication and action. The plan involved using the ORA methodology with 15 key roles in the organisation.

The project commenced with an introductory session that included role reviews for the advisory team. Adjustments to the method were made to fit with the organisation. 

A series of tailored small group ORA sessions were implemented and findings recorded.  A member of the advisory team attended all sessions to support the project. The sessions highlighted role confusions, structural overlap and mis-alignments. Hypotheses for changes were recorded for discussion.

A set of larger role workshops were devised to explore opportunities for re-alignment and generate action. The project concluded by sharing the re-defined roles across the division through role diagrams, definitions and drawings. New performance plans and goals were aligned to the roles.

Impact: The effect

The program assisted in 

  • Designing new role boundaries 
  • Creating clear and common understanding of each role and responsibility
  • Developing a clear plan for collaboration between roles
  • Increasing the authority of people to initiate and plan in their area
  • Defining clear performance goals and targets
  • Deepening relationships between participants

An advisory team was created to sponsor and drive the project.


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