The 7S Framework

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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 framework

Superordinate 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

Special Interest Group

7-S Framework Special Interest Group.

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Forum discussions about the 7-S Framework. Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.

topic How to Link 7S Model with Leadership and Management
How do you link the 7 s framework with leadership and management. Because when discussing leadership and management most writers say leaders set the major objectives and strategies and managers will t...
Comments6 comments
topic Why are Shared Values in the Center of the 7S Model?
Why are Shared Values (or Superordinate Goals) in the center of McKinsey's 7S Model? Please help me... Thank you..^^....
Comments14 comments
topic Using McKinsey 7-S Model for Organizing Innovation
I am interested in the application of the 7-S model on organizing innovation structurally in a company. For instance: what are the choices available for each S, related to the environment of the comp...
Comments6 comments
topic Applications of the 7-S Framework
While some models of organizational effectiveness go in and out of fashion, one that has persisted is the McKinsey 7S framework. Developed in the early 1980s by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, two con...
Comments5 comments
topic Communication in the 7S Model of McKinsey
How do you link the 7S Model to problems related to communication in an organization?...
Comments2 comments
topic Limiting choice of 'S' in 7S Framework?
While reading for my management course, I couldn't help but wonder if the choice of an alphabet limits the scope and skews the interpretation of a model. When formulating a model, how easy / difficult...
Comments5 comments
topic McKinsey 7S in Fast Changing Environment: A DYNAMIC 7S Model?
Given that the business environment is changing all the time, what are the strengths and weaknesses of using the 7S Model in an organisation? Is it necessary to update McKinsey’s model for current vo...
Comments11 comments
topic 7-s Model as Basis for a Project Audit
Could McKinsey's 7-s model be used as a standard/norm for auditing control over projects in organizations. Anyone with experience on this matter?...
Comments5 comments
topic Does the 7-S Model still holds true today?
Does the 7-S Model still holds true in today's business environment? Companies are increasing outsourcing their functions, and headquarters are only becoming a virtual company. Look at a company like ...
Comments14 comments
topic Extra S-es in the 7S Framework by McKinsey
I was able to utlize the 7S model very effectively to conduct the assessment of the state of the public health system for my research thesis. However, the model was limited in coverage of other critic...
Comments3 comments
topic CDOCi Acronym | CDOCi Tool
You can combine 7S analysis with a method called "CDOCi": A way of reviewing a strategy or project by getting a team of people to write down their perspectives on the: - C - Current situation - D -...
Comments1 comments
topic Google and its Success with 7S
Hi I am an MBA student and I need to write an assignment about Google's success. How can I explain its success with 7S framework? Any ideas? Thanks a lot....
Comments2 comments
topic Involving Staff in 7-S Framework
Implementing the 7-S can be challenging especially without the buying in of staff and management. How can these people best be involved for a swift strategic change?...
Comments4 comments
topic Applying the 7 S Framework. Implementation
I believe the 7's is very difficult to implement at the ORGANIZATION level. So if we would be able to implement the HARD S's i.e., Strategy, Structure and System that would be more then enough for a c...
Comments3 comments
🔥 The 7 S Model is an Architectural Tool for Strategy and Management
When you analyze the components of the 7 S Model, you can understand that it is a sober meta-model. It is giant, open, flexible, elegant, diagnosing, analyzing, exploring, scrutinizing the process of ...
Comments4 comments
topic McKinsey 7-S Historic Background
I am doing a presentation on the 7-S framework and was wondering if anyone knew the first time it was successfully implemented and by who? Any other interesting ideas are welcomed as well....
Comments1 comments
topic Changes in Shared Values and Staff
The values of the organisation may change over time with changes of personnel entering the organisation from the outside. Especially in a growing company a few things happen quickly: 1. Advent of fre...
Comments1 comments
topic One More S: Solidarity
I think this is a sound model but Solidarity is missing in this model. It should be the 8S model. Solidarity is a concept of oneness. See the concepts of Dr. Abdullah Alama Muhammad Iqbal which has be...
Comments7 comments
topic 7S X 7S Matrix: Tracking the Mutual Congruency of the 7S Elements
I have used the 7S for organisational assessment and analysis. I used it in a 7x7 matrix to check the S's for coherence as whether Structure supports Strategy and so on. This analysis highlights the ...
Comments2 comments
topic Measuring the Scores on each S of the 7S Framework
Hello all, have there been parameters developed to measure and/or track the 7 elements of the McKinsey 7S framework in detail?...
Comments4 comments

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Best Practices

The best, top-rated topics about the 7-S Framework. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

🥇 Competitive Edge with 7S Model?
(How) Can a firm achieve a competitive advantage with the 7S framework? For me its the shared values and style that make up the competitive advantage of a company. It spells what it really is as an o...
Comments4 comments

🥈 7 S model in the Post Merger Phase
I'm a Masters student looking at the post merger phase of a university. How can I apply the 7 S model in studying the post merger phase? Please assist....
Comments3 comments

🥉 Guiding a Change Program with 7-S Model
How can the 7-S model be used to inform or guide a change program?...
Comments11 comments

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about the 7-S Framework. Here you will find professional advices by experts.


7S Checklist with Questions for Each S

Firm Analysis, Organizational Analysis
Here's a list of questions you can use to analyze an organization in terms of the 7S Framework: STRATEGY: - What is ou...

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

Strategy, Strategic Change, 7S Implementation
The seven S's can be broken down into: - 3 Hard S-es (Strategy, Structure and Systems) which are relatively easy to ide...

How to Identify Potential Problem Areas in 7S?

Strategy, Strategic Change, 7S Implementation
You can create a 7S Confrontation Matrix with all 7 S-es listed both horizontally and vertically. In the cells or inters...

Improved 8S Framework for Strategy Execution

Strategy, Strategic Change, 7S Implementation
As the business environment becomes more complex and more changeful, James M. Higgins suggests the introduction of the ‘...
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding the 7-S Framework. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.


Original Article Introducing the 7S Framework

History of 7S Framework
The 1980 Business Horizons article "Structure is Not Organization " by Robert H. Waterman, Jr., Thomas J. Peters and Jul...

McKinsey's Approach to Problem Solving

Consultancy, Organizational Analysis and Change
Presentation about some of McKinsey's thoughts on problem solving, thereby including the 7S-model of McKinsey. Besides t...

7-S Framework

Analyzing the state of an organization
Presentation about the 7S framework....

Research Links

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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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