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December, 21 in Responsible leadership

In Conversation with Dr. Robert Langan: “You’ll be equipped to lead an organization through changing times, from flexible working to diversity and AI”

What is Organization Design?
Dr. Robert Langan, Academic Fellow teaching Organization Design: The Organization Design course on the Geneva EMBA delves into the drivers and implications of different organizational structures. We look at big picture designs like matrix organizations and discuss how different ways of working can impact changes to organization design and how a company’s strategy and goals play a key role.

How do students apply this module to real-world scenarios?
Students will walk away with a useful, and easily employable framework for evaluating an organization’s design. The course is relevant for all students: understanding an organization’s design is a powerful tool for understanding how the whole company operates, how people work within it, and why things are the way they are. This module is particularly useful for HR professionals, consultants, and senior leaders who want to understand what’s working well and what might need some adjustment.

What misconceptions might students have about the topic?
Organization Design is more than the structure of an organization. In class we discuss all aspects of an organization’s design, from culture and ways of working (flexible / hybrid / in office) to roles, functions and reporting lines. In our recent class, we had a lively discussion about artificial intelligence, and also discussed OpenAI’s recent drama with their CEO.

Addressing changing workplaces, people and diversity
The course focusses on how to design an organization that can harness innovation, whether for products, services, how people work, how technology is used, etc. This is critical because many things have changed in the last few years, including flexible working arrangements and the increased use of artificial intelligence, among others.

What characteristics contribute to a student successfully completing the Geneva EMBA?
I have an MBA and when I was considering whether to pursue one, a more senior colleague told me that, more than anything, an MBA changes the way you think. After I completed my MBA, I realized how true that was. For students to be successful and really maximize what the Geneva EMBA has to offer, they need to come in with an open mind, be ready to learn, willing to do some reading and to participate.

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