Growth Phases model
(Greiner)

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Growth Phases Model | Greiner CurveWhat is the Growth Phases model? Description

The growth phases model of Larry E. Greiner suggests that organizations go through 5 (6) stages of growth and need appropriate strategies and structures to cope.  It is a descriptive framework that can be used to understand why certain management styles, organizational structures and coordination mechanisms work, and why some don't work at certain phases in the development of an organization. The 1972 Growth Phases model of Greiner describes five phases of organizational development and growth:

  1. Growth through creativity. Start-up company, entrepreneurial, informal communication, hard work and low earnings. Ending by a leadership crisis.
  2. Growth through direction. Sustained growth, functional organization structure, accounting, capital management, incentives, budgets, standardized processes. Ending by an autonomy crisis.
  3. Growth through delegation. Decentralized organizational structure, operational and market level responsibility, profit centers, financial incentives, decision making is based on periodic reviews, top management acts by exception, formal communication. Ending by a control crisis. Compare: Centralization and Decentralization.
  4. Growth through coordination and monitoring. Formation of product groups, thorough review of formal planning, centralization of support functions, corporate staff oversees coordination, corporate capital expenditures, accountability for ROI at product group level, motivation through lower-level profit sharing. Ending by a red tape crisis.
  5. Growth through collaboration. New evolutionary path, team action for problem solving, cross-functional task teams, decentralized support staff, matrix organization, simplified control mechanisms, team behavior education programs, advanced information systems, team incentives. Ending by an internal growth crisis.

More recently Greiner added a sixth phase to his Growth Phases model:

  1. Growth through extra-organizational solutions (mergers, holdings, networks of organizations)

Book: Larry E. Greiner - Power and Organization Development -


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Internal and External Challenges After Having Established a Start Up Business…
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The 'Growth Through Collaboration' Phase Elaborated
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Best Practices

The top-rated discussion topics about Organizational Growth (Growth Phases). Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.


🥇 Growth of Communities
Does this apply to community organizations as well, or are these growth phases only specified for business organizations (...)
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🥈 Is an Organizational Crisis a Must for Growth?
It is typical for Greiner's thinking that the growth phases are seperated from each other by organizational crises. With (...)
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🥉 Length of Greiner Phases
Is there any typical time frame for each phase? (...)
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Organizational Death... A Taboo?
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Growth Through Training and Development
I think growth through training and development could also be added in this chart. Because you can give growth to any b (...)
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Greiner Five Phases of growth
1. The Five(six) Phases of growth is a measure of influence of age and size on the organizational structure. The cycle m (...)
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Examples of Companies in Revolutionary Periods
What would be examples of companies currently going through a revolutionary period? Why? (...)
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What Leadership Style is Required in Greiner's 6th Stage?
What kind of leader (style) is preferable in the growth through alliances stage of the model by Greiner? Should it be so (...)
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Input parameters for each phase of growth?
Thinking about each phase of growth, what are the required parameters to be mandatorily considered as inputs to make the (...)
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Alternative Forms of Organization Development
Hi everyone.. Can anybody give me some ideas regarding alternative forms of organizational development. Please I tried e (...)
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Greiner Chart should be a Circle
While reading about Greiner's Growth Phases model, I realized that after reaching phase 6, it's clearly impossible to in (...)
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When Can We Call a Company a Multinational?
Can anyone clear to me that in which situation we can say 'multinational' to acompany? What are the steps that a company (...)
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Add Learning and Innovation
There must be one more step - Learning and Innovation - which will generate internal growth and will be similar to the o (...)
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Limitations of the model by Greiner
Given that the model has been shown in a continuous single line against time suggests that all the levels are at a highe (...)
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Phase 6... Create Alliances And/or Rebuild Organization?
Does management restructure the organization at this point and continue to move forward or will the rapid pace of techno (...)
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Greiner vs. Mintzberg?
What's the main difference with Mintzbergs model? (...)
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Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Organizational Growth (Growth Phases). Here you will find professional advices by experts.


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Information Sources

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Growth Phases Model Diagram

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Compare with: Organization Chart  |  Mergers & Acquisitions  |  Competitive Advantage  |  Core Competence  |  Parenting Styles  |  Relative Value of Growth  |  BCG Matrix  |  Distinctive Capabilities  |  Organizational Configurations  |  Leveraged Buy-out


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