MWH: A Leader in Water, Hydropower, and Environmental Remediation

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MWH is a global engineering services firm considered to be a leader in water, hydropower and environmental remediation. It was trying to turn the geographically organized department into one organized by function and the reorganization will depend on effective collaboration. The existing relationships are providing through ONA analysis, a method for mapping relationships among people in a group. This case looks into the old structure under which departments are fragmented by geography and constrained by hierarchy and other gaps in connectivity. Challenges are listed for discussion and recommendations are provided for steps to be taken to align the department’s network with MWH’s business objectives. ISSUES ADDRESSIING

1.An IT department organized by geography instead of functionality had been acceptable when MWH was smaller, which is now impossible for the IT department to deliver sophisticated, standardized solutions. The information-seeking relationships that existed at the birth of iNet were based on shared geography, not on shared functional areas. 2.There was only limited collaboration across the IT business centers and this fragmentation results in internal customers experiencing varying levels of service, functionality and costs for technical solutions and applications. Even more crucial was service to external customers. 3.The lack of standardization. Employees had no strong process base to guide them and they got work done by turning to other people for help. The leaders of the various IT groups met two or three times a year in an effort to drive standard approaches for the company, but the groups continued to operate independently, each serving its own master and employing its own measures and processes. 4.There was limited collaboration between some locations for MWH, this imposed a big challenge for the iNet project because some are planned to be built into important serve locations globally. 5.Some groups were not providing optimal solutions to customers because they did not leverage each other’s expertise, therefore higher than industry average IT cost lead to lower competiveness of service quality and cost. 6.There was hierarchy exist. Overall, there was a relatively high level of collaboration among the most senior iNet employees, but less connectivity was evident among those at lower levels. 7.The network size varied a lot from 1~2 to more than 25 overloaded by some people which reveals a serious asymmetry of the relationship distribution. 8.A lot of relationships existed within immediate team only; few had any ties outside of MWH. 9.The serendipitous interactions could preclude effective information-seeking. RECOMMENDATION

All the issues addressed above occurred from inefficient organization structure and lack of collaboration, which can be solved by carefully designing and building a networked organization. Following are the reconditions for successfully carrying out iNet project to: 1) Increase responsiveness and adaptiveness through real time operation. 2) Maximize the knowledge potential of the enterprise by leveraging expertise companywide and share information. 3) Minimize disruption and duplication, which promises delivering optimal solution and with lower cost. Recommendations are from two aspects: restructure company departments and better managing networked relationships throughout the whole organization. Organization Restructure

1.Fluid boundaries
MWH need to breakdown the geography base departments and carry out a function integration to increase its capacity to respond quickly and effectively to market forces, therefore improve the quality of conformance to customer requirements and reduce costs. Centralization of like tasks or functions and management of geographically separated units will enhance a more network-oriented improvement. From exhibit we can see that the new organization structure has fewer departments and levels, all the new departments are no longer designed...
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