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McKinsey 7-S Model

Blog: Biz-Performance, David Brown

The 7-S-Model

The 7-S-Model is better known as McKinsey 7-S. This is because the two persons who developed this
model, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, have been consultants at McKinsey & Co at that time. They
published their 7-S-Model in their article “Structure Is Not Organization” (1980) and in their books “The Art of Japanese Management” (1981) and “In Search of Excellence” (1982).
The model starts on the premise that an organization is not just Structure, but consists of seven
elements:

Those seven elements are distinguished in so called hard S’s and soft S’s. The hard elements (green
circles) are feasible and easy to identify. They can be found in strategy statements, corporate plans,
organizational charts and other documentations.
The four soft S’s however, are hardly feasible. They are difficult to describe since capabilities, values
and elements of corporate culture are continuously developing and changing. They are highly
determined by the people at work in the organization. Therefore it is much more difficult to plan or to
influence the characteristics of the soft elements. Although the soft factors are below the surface, they
can have a great impact on the hard Structures, Strategies and Systems of the organization.

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