Charles Handy divided the management cultures in four types on his now classic book on business administration, Gods of Management:

  • Zeus culture, a club culture with centralized power in which speed of decisions and accountability are prioritized over any other virtue
  • Apollo culture, a role-based culture with many rules and procedures, in which stability and predictability are prioritized, creating resistance to change
  • Athena culture, a task-based culture focused on providing solutions to concrete problems, ideal in times of expansion when new products and technologies get introduced
  • Dionysus culture, an existential culture in which the organization exists for the sole purpose of helping the professionals to achieve their personal goals

In the last reorganization, Microsoft has shifted from an Athena-like culture to an Apollo-like culture, a typical change in business re-organizations also predicted by Handy in his book. However, the general consensus is that this move towards this kind of management culture is inferior, as shown in multiple studies:

  • Managerial overload and organization design: a divisional organization is more efficient than the functional organization when the number of projects is large, and Microsoft has 13 products and services with revenues of more than 1 billion dollar per year.
  • Organization Design: different management structures are compared based on the internal co-ordination costs imposed on the firm, very relevant to the Microsoft reorganization
  • A double moral hazard model of organization design: a model based on moral hazard to explain why sub-optimal business structures are chosen is introduced, starting from general fact that the divisional structure is more efficient than the functional structure.

Only the malleable nature of software and the command to deploy a common software platform on any device and any type of screen may outstrip the previously presented disadvantages: be that as it may, MSFT is pursuing a much-needed goal for the whole computer industry.

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