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 a 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
  How to Use the 7S Model in Education?
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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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  7S McKinsey for ISO 14001
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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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  McKinsey 7-S Model on Innovation
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  What is the NEW 7S Framework?
The new 7 S-es are:
1. Superior Stakeholder S...
  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
I believe the 7's is very difficult to implement a...

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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
What are some of your data collection methods for ...
  Measuring the Scores on each S of the 7S Framework
Hello all, have there been parameters developed to...
  Guiding a Change Program with 7-S Model
How can the 7-S model be used to inform or guide a...
  Involving Staff in 7-S Framework
Implementing the 7-S can be challenging especially...
  Why are Shared Values in the Center of 7's?
Why are Shared Values (or Superordinate Goals) in ...
  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?
While reading for my management course, I couldn't...
  How to Link 7S Model with Leadership and Management
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Expert Tips - 7-S Framework Premium

7S Checklist with Questions for Each SSign up

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 ModelSign up

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?Sign up

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

Improved 8S Framework for Strategy ExecutionSign up

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 FrameworkSign up

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

McKinsey's Approach to Problem SolvingSign up

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

7-S FrameworkSign up

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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