The 7S Framework

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Explanation of the 7-S Model of McKinsey.


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What is the  7-S Framework? Description

The 7-S Framework of McKinsey is a management model that describes 7 factors to organize a company in an holistic and effective way. Together these factors determine the way in which a corporation operates. Managers should take into account all seven of these factors, to be sure of successful implementation of a strategy. Large or small. They're all interdependent, so if you fail to pay proper attention to one of them, this may effect all others as well. On top of that, the relative importance of each factor may vary over time.

Origin of the 7-S Framework. History

The 7-S Framework was first mentioned in the journal "Business Horizons" in an article "Structure Is Not Organization" by Robert H. Waterman, Thomas J. Peters and Julien R. Phillips in June 1980. It appeared also in "In Search of Excellence" by Peters and Waterman, and was taken up as a basic tool by the global management consultancy company McKinsey. Since then it is known as their 7-S model.

The meaning of the 7 Ss


McKinsey 7-S frameworkSuperordinate Goals (also called Shared Values).

The interconnecting center of McKinsey's model is: Superordinate Goals (Shared Values). This term includes higher elevation concepts of what an organization wants to achieve, stands for and what it believes in: purpose, vision, mission, shared values, central beliefs and attitudes. Compare: Strategic Intent


Plans for the allocation of a firms scarce resources, over time, to reach identified goals. Environment, competition, customers.


The way in which the organization's units relate to each other: centralized, functional divisions (top-down); decentralized; a matrix, a network, a holding, etc.


The procedures, processes and routines that characterize how the work should be done: financial systems; recruiting, promotion and performance appraisal systems; information systems.


Numbers and types of personnel within the organization.


Cultural style of the organization and how key managers behave in achieving the organization's goals. Compare: Management Styles.


Distinctive capabilities of personnel or of the organization as a whole. Compare: Core Competences.

Strengths of the 7-S Model. Benefits

  • Diagnostic tool for understanding organizations that are ineffective.
  • Guides organizational change.
  • Combines rational and hard elements with emotional and soft elements.
  • Managers must act on all Ss in parallel and all Ss are interrelated.

Book: Ethan M. Rasiel, Paul N. Friga - The McKinsey Mind: Understanding and Implementing the Problem Solving Tools and Management Techniques -

7-S Framework Forum
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  7S X 7S Matrix: Tracking the Mutual Congruency of the 7S Elements
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  Competitive Edge with 7S Model?
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  Changes in Shared Values and Staff
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  One More S: Solidarity
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  7-s Model as Basis for a Project Audit
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  What is the NEW 7S Framework?
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  McKinsey 7-S Background
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  7-S within Government
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  Extra S-es in the 7S Framework by McKinsey
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  Applying the 7 S Framework. Implementation
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Best Practices - 7-S Framework Premium
  McKinsey 7S in Fast Changing Environment: A DYNAMIC 7S Model?
Given that the business environment is changing al...
  CDOCi Acronym | CDOCi Tool
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  7S Data Collection and Analysis
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  Measuring the Scores on each S of the 7S Framework
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  Guiding a Change Program with 7-S Model
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  Involving Staff in 7-S Framework
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  Why are Shared Values in the Center of 7's?
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  Does the 7-S Model still holds true today?
Does the 7-S Model still holds true in today's bus...
  Applications of the 7-S Framework
While some models of organizational effectiveness ...
  Limiting choice of 'S' in 7S Framework?
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  How to Link 7S Model with Leadership and Management
How do you link the 7 s framework with leadership ...

Expert Tips - 7-S Framework Premium

7S Checklist with Questions for Each S

Here's a list of questions you can use to analyze ...
Usage (application): Firm Analysis, Organizational Analysis

Categorizing the S-es in McKinsey's 7-S Model

The seven S's can be broken down into:
- 3...
Usage (application): Strategy, Strategic Change, 7S Implementation

How to Identify Potential Problem Areas in 7S?

You can create a 7S Confrontation Matrix with all ...
Usage (application): Strategy, Strategic Change, 7S Implementation

Improved 8S Framework for Strategy Execution

As the business environment becomes more complex a...
Usage (application): Strategy, Strategic Change, 7S Implementation

Resources - 7-S Framework Premium

Original Article Introducing the 7S Framework

The 1980 Business Horizons article "Structure is N...
Usage (application): History of 7S Framework

McKinsey's Approach to Problem Solving

Presentation about some of McKinsey's thoughts on ...
Usage (application): Consultancy, Organizational Analysis and Change

7-S Framework

Presentation about the 7S framework....
Usage (application): Analyzing the state of an organization

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Compare with the 7-S Framework: Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change  |  Ashridge Mission Model  |  Strategic Alignment  |  McKinsey Matrix

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