Management SummaryStern Stewart Research // Volume 60

A glance at today’s management agenda shows a clear picture: In many companies, the role, character and orientation of administrative and interdisciplinary functions are being redefined under the catchword “lean”. Basically, “lean” is about setting up cross-divisional functions such as HR, Legal, Communication and IT to be more flexible and independent of the divisional or regional business structure, thus sustainably improving their quality and efficiency by means of clearly defined management responsibilities.

The starting point for the optimization is clearly defining the functional tasks based on their fundamental character along four distinct groups (refer to Stern Stewart Research, Vol. 55): supervisory, expertisedriven, transactional-driven and business-specific tasks. Only truly business-specific – not necessarily all business-related – tasks remain embedded in the organizational business structure. This is based on the hypothesis that it is easier to achieve functional excellence with unified management while at the same time being close to the business via business-partner models than vice versa. If has frequently proven inadequate to accumulate own functional resources in each business accompanied by futile standardization attempts via policies and guidelines.

The clear separation of functional tasks forms the basis for a systematic advancement of the operating model in the administrative and cross-divisional functions.



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Thomas Berner

After a management career in banking, Thomas is now the go-to source when it comes to digitalization of business models and support functions. Thinking outside-the-box and rigidly challenging existing structures, he is a challenging yet rewarding discussion partner to his clients. When it comes to more conventional areas such as re-designing organizations and optimizing front & back office processes.

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