Valve, one of the world's top video game software companies, has also become an iconic example of an organization with virtually no hierarchy. A 400-person organization, Valve's unique organizational form (described in detail in the case and accompanying employee handbook) includes 100% self-allocated time, no managers (and therefore no managerial oversight), a structure so fluid that all desks have wheels to allow free movement between "cabals" (teams) on a regular basis (which happens frequently enough that Valve created a homegrown tracking app to allow peers to find each other), a unique hiring apparatus that supports recruitment of T-shaped individuals, and a purely peer-based performance review and stack ranking. As customer demand and market forces draw Valve into hardware in 2013, Valve questions whether their organizational model will need to change as it expands from software into hardware-and, if so, whether they should prioritize strategy over structure or structure over strategy. The case, therefore, presents students with a strategic and organizational challenge that tests students' understanding, and Valve's resolve, with regard to the congruence between their organizational model and strategic direction. As customer demand and market forces draw Valve into hardware in 2013, Valve questions whether their organizational model will need to change as it expands from software into hardware-and, if so, whether they should prioritize strategy over structure or structure over strategy. The case therefore presents students with a strategic and organizational challenge which tests students' understanding, and Valve's resolve, with regard to the congruence between their organizational model and strategic direction.
To understand how to foster scalable creative collaboration across an organization and the importance and methods of thinking about organizational structure and design as a company grows.Sub-objectives: To place students into a uniquely successful, ""flat"" (yet scalable) organizational model. To build deep understanding of how this new sort of organization works and what it feels like to work within it, including its strengths and limitations. To encourage students to appreciate the influence of organizational structure--from this new form to more traditional structures--on how work gets done. To consider deeply and pragmatically the congruence between the novel structure of this organization and the strategy it can adopt (i.e., structure following strategy or strategy following structure. To provide students with an opportunity to ground their understanding of organization design in an iconic 21st century organization which was truly built with a sole focus on its talent.
Human resource management;
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