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Five Org Design Things N° 4
By Clay Parker Jones profile image Clay Parker Jones
3 min read

Five Org Design Things N° 4

Tesla and vertical integration; hotels and the theory of the firm; Shipt dystopia; Range's newest raise; digital service.

Tesla & Vertical Integration

Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW
Self-driving AI sends shivers through traditional supply chains

This is an absolutely wild read. There are a few things here: one is the seemingly inescapable pull of existing supply chain configurations; the second is vertical integration of capabilities, versus the traditional product/geo/function matrix; the third is leadership's willingness to build, not rent. Send this one to your boss immediately.

Org form

Productivity heterogeneity and variation in organisational form
Why do so many transactions take place within firms rather than between independent agents via markets? This column sheds new light on this question by analysing hotel chains’ decisions about whether

This is a summary of a new research paper on balancing in-sourcing and out-sourcing of management in the hospitality space. The paper itself isn't out yet, but there's an interesting finding in there: hotels with middling occupancy rates are generally all managed by employees from the chain, not by franchisees with skin in the game. Low- and high-performing hotels tended to be managed by franchisees; outsourcing, then, is not a guarantee for performance, but a necessary condition for it. I'm not sure that there are generalizable theories of the firm in here, but it sure is interesting.

Today in the dystopia

Target’s Delivery App Workers Describe a Culture of Retaliation and Fear
The Target-owned grocery delivery company Shipt is rolling out a new algorithmic pay model that is already draining paychecks. And workers are terrified to speak out.

Another day, another last-mile problem with unit costs that have to be subsidized by investor capital or unpaid labor. We have to stop trying this kind of thing.

Range raised $6mm

Range | Make Teamwork Work
Build successful teams with Range. Stay in sync, focus on what matters, and get more done.

I was super excited to see what the smart folks coming out of Medium would do after experimenting with self-organization, and Range seems like they're finding good traction. Range focuses on standardizing/ritualizing meetings and check-ins, and is something of meta-logbook for objectives. I'm not sure it's designed for enterprise (I'm not sure it would land with teams at R/GA, say), but it's definitely making progress in a good direction.

Digital Service ≠ digital services

This link doesn't come through that well with my special card formatting, but it's worth a read. So I linked the headline. This is a post by Peter Karman, who spent a couple years at 18F. In it, Peter describes a different way of thinking about the efforts underway to digitize government that happens to align perfectly with my views on what must change within large organizations. That is to say: it's almost never the technical stuff, but how we think about risk, relationships, and process.

By Clay Parker Jones profile image Clay Parker Jones
Updated on
Organization Design Five Things