The Coming Shape of Organization

Belbin is a master of group and organisational structures, as well as management strategy and tactics, and he conveys this mastery skilfully

Management Learning

The Coming Shape of OrganizationIn The Coming Shape of Organization, Dr. Meredith Belbin uses his insight and expertise in teams to take the reader on a fascinating journey.

Dr Belbin moves from exploring the problems of typical hierarchies to restructured, flatter organisations, which give rise to their own set of issues.

In search of alternative systems, Dr Belbin outlines ways in which continuous deployment and career development can result in more effective use of people’s talents. He describes the worlds of the higher social insects, where evolution has generated a common set of principles governing the most advanced of organisations. He then suggests that these integrated strengths could be fruitfully combined with the strategic abilities of humans, for increased effectiveness.

Dr Belbin foresees a model in the form of the helix, in which individuals and teams move forward on the basis of excellence rather than function. Here, information technology can assist in the evolution of human organisations to enable them to become both more advanced and more viable in the future.

Nothing changes without reason. For one system to replace another, smoothly and effectively, two conditions are needed in combination: a sense of disillusionment with the old system along with some beckoning of the new.
– Meredith Belbin


  • In search of the future
  • The faltering organization
  • The problem with Mr Big
  • Lessons from a diminutive masterclass
  • Concurrent versus sequential decision-making
  • Replacing traditional hierarchy
  • An alternative way of arranging work
  • Teams communicate with teams
  • Employing the highly talented
  • The culture and the organization
  • Strategic leadership comes of age
  • The organization of public affairs
  • Forces making for change
  • The evolution of common shape

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(R Meredith Belbin, The Coming Shape of Organization (Butterworth Heinemann, 1996) ISBN: 0 7506 3950 4)