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McKinsey 7S Model


The McKinsey 7S Model is a management tool developed by business consultants Robert H. Waterman, Jr. and Tom Peters. It emphasizes the interconnected nature of seven core elements within an organization: strategy, structure, systems, shared values, skills, style, and staff. The model suggests that for an organization to perform well, these seven elements must align and reinforce each other.


The phonetics of the keyword: McKinsey 7S Model is: mə-kɪn-zi sevən ɛs mɑ-dəl

Key Takeaways

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  1. Comprehensive Organizational Analysis: The McKinsey 7S Model offers a holistic approach to understanding the complexities of organizations. It examines seven key elements of an organization: Structure, Strategy, Systems, Skills, Staff, Style, and Shared values. By understanding these elements, one can identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas with potential for improvement.
  2. Interconnectedness: One of the unique aspects of the model is the interrelationship between the seven elements. Changes in one element can have a ripple effect upon the others. Thus, it emphasizes the need for a balanced and harmonious relationship between all seven elements for achieving organizational effectiveness.
  3. Change Management: The model is particularly valuable in planning and managing change within an organization. It helps focus on multiple aspects that need to align to make the change successful, something a lot of other models miss. Therefore, it often serves as a valuable tool in change management processes.

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The McKinsey 7S Model is a crucial business/finance term due to its comprehensive approach towards organizational effectiveness. It offers businesses a way to understand their organization’s functioning and potential areas for improvement. This model, developed by McKinsey & Company, assesses seven key interrelated elements within an organization including strategy, structure, systems, skills, style, staff, and shared values. By evaluating and adjusting these seven elements, organizations can better align their resources, improve performance, sustain growth, adapt to change, and achieve strategic goals. This holistic perspective on business performance makes the McKinsey 7S Model a significant tool in corporate strategy and management.


The McKinsey 7S Model is a holistic management tool designed to assess organizational effectiveness, bringing into focus the interconnectedness of seven core elements: strategy, structure, systems, shared values, style, staff, and skills. The primary purpose of this model is to ensure that all these elements are aligned and working harmoniously, which is crucial for achieving the strategic objectives of an organization. It provides a bird’s eye view of the organization’s current situation, revealing potential misalignments and weak links that might affect performance and hinder achieving goals.The McKinsey 7S Model is often used when implementing change within an organization, preparing it for new business directions or strategies. It serves as a diagnostic tool to identify areas of improvement or transformation needed to align the 7S elements. By evaluating each ‘S’ and the interrelation among them, organizations can understand better the underlying issues affecting their overall performance. This analysis can inform the development of an effective plan that addresses every misalignment, ensuring the smooth transition towards new operational paradigms, and helping to maintain the organization’s competitive edge in the ever-evolving business landscape.


1. Starbucks: One of the key reasons behind Starbucks’ global success is an excellent representation of the McKinsey 7S model. The company has a strong strategy of offering high-quality coffee and unique customer experience. They have a well-defined structure with each employee (from baristas to higher management) aware of their roles and responsibilities. Shared values of community, connection and ethically sourced coffee are deeply ingrained across the organization. Skills such as providing exceptional customer service and creating a welcoming atmosphere are emphasized upon. Staffing is done strategically with the aim of creating a diverse workforce. Starbucks also has effective systems and procedures in place to ensure smooth operations. 2. Apple: The tech giant Apple also effectively uses the McKinsey 7S model. Their strategy is focused on innovation, designing, and developing. Structurally, Apple is divided into various functional areas based on product lines. The company’s shared values include a commitment to innovation, user-friendliness, and high-quality products. The skills within the company include creative design, cutting-edge engineering, and marketing capabilities. Apple focuses on hiring and retaining staff who are competent and fit their dynamic work culture. The systems implemented by the company include supply chain management systems, quality control, and financial monitoring systems.3. Procter & Gamble (P&G): P&G uses the McKinsey 7S model to maintain its position as a leader in the consumer goods industry. Their strategy focuses on understanding consumer needs and creating products to meet them. The organizational structure is effective, with a clear hierarchy and reporting lines. Shared values include leadership, integrity, and a focus on improving consumers’ lives. Across the organization, P&G cultivates skills like marketing, research, and development, and management. Staff are chosen meticulously, not only for their skills but also for cultural fit. Systems are in place for smooth communication, resource management, and decision-making processes.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the McKinsey 7S Model?

The McKinsey 7S Model is a management model developed by well-known business consultants Robert H. Waterman, Jr. and Tom Peters in the 1980s. This model is a tool for diagnosing the functioning of an organization by examining seven key elements: strategy, structure, systems, shared values, style, staff, and skills.

Who developed the McKinsey 7S Model?

The 7S model was developed by business consultants Robert H. Waterman, Jr. and Tom Peters at McKinsey & Company in the 1980s.

How is the McKinsey 7S Model used?

The McKinsey 7S Model is used to assess the organizational effectiveness of a company. It can be used during restructuring process, during mergers and acquisitions, or as part of a regular review of the overall business strategy.

What are the seven S’s in the McKinsey 7S Model?

The “S’s” in the McKinsey 7S Model stand for Strategy, Structure, Systems, Shared Values, Style, Staff and Skills. Each of these aspects must be aligned with each other for the company to perform at its best.

Can you explain how Shared Values are represented in the 7S Model?

Shared values refer to the core values of the company, often manifested in the company’s culture, ethics and norms. They act as the guiding principles of the company and are at the center of the 7S model, signifying their significance in driving the company’s decisions and behavior.

What does ‘Style’ refer to in the McKinsey 7S Model?

In the McKinsey 7S Model, ‘style’ means the leadership approach of the company’s management team. It pertains to how managers interact with their subordinates, make decisions, and manage conflict within the organization.

How does the 7S Model define ‘Skills’?

‘Skills’ in the 7S Model refer to the abilities and competencies that exist within the company. They involve the areas where the company excels and that gives it a competitive advantage over other businesses.

How does the McKinsey 7S Model relate to a company’s business strategy?

The McKinsey 7S Model relates to a company’s business strategy as it insists that for a company to perform optimally, its business strategy (one of the seven S’s) should be well aligned with its structure, systems, shared values, style, staff, and skills.

Is the McKinsey 7S Model only applicable to large corporations?

No, the model is versatile and can be applied to any organization, regardless of its size. It can be equally useful for small businesses, non-profits, or even government agencies, providing them with a clear framework to review and improve their performance.

Can the 7S Model be used during change management?

Yes, the McKinsey 7S Model is an excellent tool for managing change within an organization. It helps to ensure that all aspects of the organization are in alignment, which is crucial during periods of change or transition.

Related Finance Terms

  • Strategy
  • Structure
  • Systems
  • Shared Values
  • Skills
  • Staff
  • Style

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