The Nadler-Tushman Congruence Model

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The Nadler-Tushman Congruence Model


The business community is often believed to be a matter for the economists to handle. However, the results achieved by the economic entities drastically impact individual and social aspects of life, such as living standards, customer demands or unemployment rates. As a consequence then, the organization plays a vital role within the community. To best understand this, one should analyze a given organization from an open system perspective. In this order of ideas, the organization should be looked as an integrant ensemble, or as a "total system" (Nadler and Tushman, 1980).

"An economic model to analyzing economic entities from this standpoint has been promoted by David Nadler and Michael Turshman and it is called the Congruence Model. It basically revolves around the idea that an organizational system is formed from various components, which interact and become transformed to sustain the company in reaching its final objectives. "Simply put, we need to deal with questions of the inputs the system has to work with, the outputs it must produce, the major components of the transformation process, and the ways in which these components interact" (Nadler and Tushman, 1980).

Palm and Inc.

As the firm grew rapidly in the early 1970s, the demand of their clientele increased proportionally. In 1976, Ron Daniel was convinced that the firm could no longer succeed with the generalist model. Therefore, changing the structure of the firm was necessary. For example, he appointed one of the most respected and productive senior partners as Palm & Inc.'s first full time director of training and created industry-based Clientele Sectors. He also encouraged more formal development of the firm's functional expertise in areas like strategy, organization, and operations.

The following decade, Palm & Inc. experienced slower growth due to competition from BCG as well as the overall economic and social environment in Europe and the US. This led the firm to realize the need for knowledge management, client impact, and developing multiple career paths for the firm's consultants to create growth in the future. As the company made these changes, it increased their capacity to support the strategic objective of changing Palm & Inc. into a firm focused more on clientele services.

To develop the knowledge infrastructure, Palm & Inc. made a major commitment to build a common database of knowledge accumulated from client work and hired a full time practice coordinator who acted as an "intelligent switch". They also expanded its hiring practices and promotion policies to create a career path for deep functional specialist whose narrow expertise would make them more I-shaped than the normal profile of a T-shaped consultant. They also created computerized data bases such as Firm Practice Information System, Practice Development Network and a manual Knowledge Resource Directory.

Palm & Inc. felt a need for a more client service oriented team. They focused the teams from being Engagement Teams (ET) to Client Service Teams (CST). As CSTs the firm could add long term value and increase the effectiveness of individual engagements.

Finally, to focus on growth of individual consultants, Palm ...
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