After a period of theoretical foundations that lasted until the 1970s, organizational scholars started to consider the study of organizational design as a productive line of inquiry. Although, this initial interest vanished in a short time. Some researchers sustain that the cause of this long lasting neglect was related to the grater complexity of the new organizations and a deepening interest in understanding parts of the overall design. Whatever the causes of the neglect, at the beginning of the 2000, several contributions called for a return to the study of organizational design. These calls were rooted on the assumption that new theories of organizing were necessary to replace or add to existing ones because economic and institutional features changed, as well as new organizational forms emerged, therefore older theories were unable to fully disentangle the new context.
The questions posed by those calls have remained substantially unanswered and the underlying issues are still relevant. Moreover, new challenges have progressively come up.
The pervasiveness of the information and communication technologies is changing the society at large, therefore impacting existing businesses and prompting the creation of dispersed organizational forms. Global trends in wages, labour productivity, energy costs and exchange rates are redrawing the map of international cost competitiveness, hence affecting the “traditional” development of organizational forms. Flexible and temporary working relationships are the core feature of the “on-demand economy”, where organizations are created and disbanded through mobile phone apps.
Although the economic setting is constantly evolving, the problems of any form of organizing remain rather stable, involving the division of labor and the integration of effort. Indeed, research on organizing should deepen the current understanding about how today’s organizations accomplish the associated choice of task division, task allocation, the provision of rewards and the provision of information.