The 7-S Framework is a management model describing seven factors used to organize a company in a coherent and efficient manner. Taken as a whole, these elements determine the way in which a business operates. It is important to take into account all seven factors to ensure proper implementation of this model.
These elements are interdependent, failure to pay attention to one element may adversely affect the others.
Over time, the importance of an element may vary. For example, if a company is well structured and survives to grow into a large business, with many employees, then the people elements such as Staff, Skills and Style may become more important to the efficient day to day operations of the company.
History of the 7-S Framework
The 7-S Framework was originally postulated in articles inside business journals in the early 1980’s before being taken up by McKinsey & Company, as an basic business tool used in their day to day operations, as a top tier management firm. Because of their extensive use of the 7-S Framework it has become known as the McKinsey 7-S Model.
What are the 7 S’s
Shared Values (Superordinate Goals):
This is the center of McKinsey’s model interconnecting the other elements. The technical term superordinate goals is a rather archaic term meaning shared values. This term includes concepts of what an organization wants to achieve, what the organization stands for and what it believes in. This includes the company’s purpose, central beliefs, attitudes, mission,vision and shared values.
Compare: Strategic Intent
The plan in which the business will employ it’s resources, over time, to reach it’s strategic goals. This will include the business environment for a particular company, competition in the market and the customers who will benefit from the services or products the company provides.
The manner in which the business units relate to one another: Centralized (Hub and Spoke), Functional Divisions (Top-Down); Decentralized, such as a matrix or a network, etc.
The processes and procedures that dictate how the work should be completed: Human Resources (Recruiting, Training, Promotion, Appraisals), Finances (How the money is spent), Manufacturing (Tooling,Production, Shipping), Information Systems
The total number and various types of personnel within the organization.
An organizations culture and how key management personnel achieve the company’s goals.
Compare: Management Styles
The capabilities of individual employees or the organization as a whole.
Compare: Core Competences
Benefits of the 7-S Model
Management must understand that the 7-S’s are interrelated, so they are forced to act on all elements to drive the organization.
It guides organizational change: As the company grows one element may require more focus.
Combines hard elements (Strategy, Structure, Systems) with soft elements (Skills, Staff, Style, Shared Values)
This model can be used as a diagnostic tool for identifying ineffective businesses.