The organization is not just the structure; rather it is made up of seven elements, shown above. These are divided into two types: Hard and Soft. Elements in green are hard; they are easy to identify and feasible. They can be found in strategy elements, corporate plans, organizational structures and other documentations. The soft elements are hard to describe. They are sort of intangible. Hence it is more difficult to plan or influence these elements.
Effective organizations achieve a fit between all these seven elements. If one element changes then this will affect all the others. For example, a change in HR-systems like internal career plans and management training will have an impact on organizational culture (management style) and thus will affect structures, processes, and finally characteristic competences of the organization.
In any change process in an organization, more focus is given on hard S’s and often soft S’s are ignored. This is not a good strategy. It is difficult to build new structures and strategies upon inappropriate cultures and values. Many M&A fail because of the clash of culture, value and style.
Hence 7S model is an effective tool in initiating change process in the organization. One should look at the current status of these seven elements in the organization and compare with the ideal state. Then make and plan and implement them.
Let us describe these elements one by one: