Culture, Organisational Structure and Service Management July 10, 2018 – Posted in: Service Management – Tags: ,

There is a mutual influence between the culture and the structure of an organisation that provides services. In the Integral Service Management Framework (ISMF) this can be seen because culture is an aspect that is positioned in the bottom left quadrant and organisational structure is positioned in the bottom right quadrant. The four quadrants each interact with each other and thus form an integral whole, which determines what a Service Management System (SMS) looks like for an organisation.

Practically speaking, culture is what binds people and what determines how they communicate, collaborate and interact. The structure of an organisation influences culture by facilitating communication, collaboration and interaction. For instance, a hierarchical organisation typically has a top-down communication culture, where people at the base are expected to follow directions from the management layers above them. This often results in a lack of bottom-up communication, through which issues related to processes or the services are flagged. An overly hierarchical organisation can also result in decision-slowness: where accountability is too high up in the organisation, a process such as Change Management takes much longer than when accountability is closer to the operation. This then results in a slower responsiveness to requested changes.

Customers notice this by having to wait longer for their change and service requests to be fulfilled and by more cumbersome interaction with representatives of the service provider. Culture and organisational structure therefore influence not only the service provider itself, but also the customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX).

Service providers should realise these aspects of their organisation if they want to strive for optimal service value generation for their customers. Using the ISMF to visualise these aspects of Service Management and the influence on the customers can help service providers doing a better job creating happy customers.

Dolf van der Haven is the author of Service Management: It’s All About the People; A Quick Guide to the Integral Service Management Framework and A Guide to ISO/IEC 38500:2015 Governance of IT. All available on

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