Benchmark Study: Skunk Works In Milestone Two, you recommended a strategic plan to the organization from the course scenario for the IoT innovation project. Now that senior management of this company has approved your recommendation, your task is to recommend ways the organization can better support innovation. Remember that your perspective is still that of a middle manager for one of the top U.S. producers of luxury and mass-market automobiles and trucks.
In this assignment, you will read a case study and write a report that compares the course scenario organization’s structure and innovation culture with those of Skunk Works. This report may help you identify ways to improve your organizational structure and culture in an effort to better support innovation.
Using the information about the company in the Organization Overview document and referring to the Skunk Works case study in this module’s resources, compare the organization from the course scenario with Skunk Works and identify differences in organizational structure and culture related to innovation. Your comparison should include the following points:
Organizational Structure : Compare the organization’s structure with that of the Skunk Works innovation team at Lockheed. Identify the points of similarity and difference and discuss their implications for an organization’s overall ability to innovate.
Shared Vision : Compare the shared vision of the organization and that of the Skunk Works innovation team. Identify the points of similarity and difference and discuss their implications for an organization’s overall ability to innovate.
Creative Climate : Compare the creative climate of the organization and that of the Skunk Works innovation team. Identify the points of similarity and difference and discuss their implications for an organization’s overall ability to innovate.
Effectiveness of Teamwork : Compare the effectiveness of teamwork in the organization and the Skunk Works innovation team. Identify the points of similarity and difference and discuss their implications for an organization’s overall ability to innovate. MBA 580 Organization Overview
(Processes, Structure, Culture)
Your company manufactures and distributes automobiles across six continents. The structure is very
complex and it is difficult to accurately count the levels of hierarchy. The company operates under a tall
matrixed structure design.
Tall structures can be cumbersome, and decision makers are often those farthest from the customer.
Communication can be slow and difficult, also slowing down decision-making speed. The specialized
functions and organizations, often referred to as centers of excellence or centers of expertise (COE),
allow for deep knowledge and expertise. Your company has many functional COEs where increased
structure, governance, and control allow for resource and process efficiencies. Resources are
centralized, reducing duplication of effort across the organization. These efficiencies can, however,
result in rigid, inflexible processes. In addition, COEs can create functional silos or reduced cross-
functional coordination and lack of connectedness, where each function is striving toward its own
Your company follows a centralized and standardized approach where enterprise-wide decisions are
often made centrally and at the top of the hierarchy. This centralization makes it easier to implement
common policies and practices, prevents parts of the organization from becoming too independent, and
capitalizes on specialization.
Matrixed organizations are often associated with this specialized COE structure. Rather than having
permanent cross-functional teams or organizations working on specific projects or product launches,
matrixed organizations pull teams together from the various functional departments. Specialists are
pulled from functional areas to work on a specific project or product design. In essence, they report to
two managers at the same time and may work on multiple projects simultaneously. Although the project
manager, who is on the same leadership level as the functional vice president (VP), supervises the
project, the true management authority still resides with the VP.
Specialists supporting specific product launches generally remain “seated” with their functional team
but meet regularly with their product team to advance the project. They may be fully dedicated to the
project or still work on other unrelated projects.
Finally, product teams are pulled together at the enterprise level and are not region-specific. Although
they may produce differentiated projects for unique regions, their primary focus is on enterprise-wide
Organization Structure Chart
Product A Product B Product C
Functional VPs: Project Manager Project Manager Project Manager
Specialists are pulled from functional area
to work on specific project or product
design. In essence, they report to two
managers at the same time and may work
on multiple projects simultaneously.