Galbraith Star Model

The Galbraith Star Model is a model for organisational design and analysis. It is useful in planning and strategy to explore key aspects of an organisation.
Galbraith Star Model Mutomorro

What is the Galbraith Star Model?

The Galbraith Star Model stands as a framework designed for organisational analysis and planning. This model allows you to dissect and understand the various components of your organisation, ensuring that they are not only aligned but also cohesively working towards your business objectives. It’s a tool that enables you to look at your organisation from different angles, making sure that every part is optimised for efficiency and effectiveness.

The reason the Galbraith Star Model has remained popular, despite being developing in the 1960s, probably lies in its simplicity and apparent comprehensiveness. It breaks down the complex structure of an organisation into five manageable parts: Strategy, Structure, Processes, Rewards, and People. Each of these parts plays a crucial role in the overall performance and health of the organisation. By examining and adjusting these components, you can steer your organisation towards success.

Understanding the Galbraith Star Model is the first step in applying its principles to your organisational challenges. It’s a guide that helps you to identify areas of improvement and to strategise on the best way forward. Whether you are looking to enhance your organisational design, streamline processes, or improve employee satisfaction, this model provides a structured approach to achieving these goals.

Using the Galbraith Star Model

The main functions of the Galbraith Star Model revolve around providing a framework for organisational analysis and design. It serves as a tool for diagnosing problems within the organisation and identifying areas that require change. The model encourages a holistic view of the organisation, ensuring that changes in one area are compatible with and supported by the other components of the model.

Another key function of the model is to guide the implementation of strategic changes. It does so by offering a structured approach that aligns the organisation’s strategy with its structure, processes, rewards system, and people. This alignment is crucial for the successful execution of any strategic initiative. The Galbraith Star Model ensures that every part of the organisation is working towards the same goal and that resources are allocated efficiently to support these efforts.

Lastly, the Galbraith Star Model facilitates organisational learning and adaptation. It encourages continuous assessment and refinement of the organisation’s components based on changing internal and external environments. This adaptability is essential for sustaining competitive advantage and for the long-term success of the organisation.

Applications for the Galbraith Star Model

The Galbraith Star Model can be used in various ways to enhance organisational performance. It can serve as a diagnostic tool to identify misalignments within the organisation and areas that are in need of improvement. By systematically examining each component of the model, you can uncover root causes of inefficiencies and develop targeted strategies to address them.

Furthermore, the model can be used in the planning and implementation of strategic initiatives. Whether you are undergoing a reorganisation, introducing new processes, or aiming to change the organisational culture, the Galbraith Star Model provides a comprehensive framework to guide these transformations. It ensures that all aspects of the organisation are considered and aligned with the strategic direction.

Additionally, the Galbraith Star Model can be utilised for continuous improvement. It encourages an ongoing evaluation of the organisation’s components, promoting a culture of adaptability and learning. This continuous improvement mindset is crucial for staying relevant in today’s fast-paced business environment.

The 5 Parts of the Galbraith Star Model

Galbraith Star Model

1. Strategy (Direction)

Strategy, within the context of the Galbraith Star Model, refers to the plan or direction that the organisation chooses to follow in order to achieve its long-term objectives. It’s the guiding force that drives all decisions and actions within the organisation. A well-defined strategy considers the external environment, including market trends and competitive dynamics, as well as the internal capabilities and resources of the organisation.

Examples of strategic elements include the organisation’s mission and vision statements, strategic goals, market positioning, and competitive advantage. These elements provide a clear direction and purpose, guiding the organisation in its decision-making processes.

In analysing strategy as part of the Galbraith Star Model, you should examine how well the organisation’s strategy is understood and embraced across all levels. Assess whether the strategy is aligned with the current market conditions and internal capabilities. Also, evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy in guiding the organisation towards its objectives.

2. Structure (Power)

Structure refers to the way in which an organisation is arranged or organised to achieve its strategic objectives. It encompasses the organisational hierarchy, departmentalisation, and the distribution of authority and responsibilities. The structure should facilitate efficient communication and coordination of activities within the organisation.

Examples of structural elements include the organisational chart, reporting lines, and the grouping of business units or departments. These elements define how tasks are allocated, who reports to whom, and how decisions are made and executed.

When analysing structure, consider how well it supports the implementation of the strategy. Look at whether the structure allows for efficient workflow and information flow across the organisation. Assess the level of bureaucracy and whether it hinders or supports flexibility and quick decision-making.

3. Process (Information)

Process refers to the workflows, procedures, and systems that are in place to transform inputs into outputs. It’s about how work is done within the organisation, including the methods and tools used to achieve tasks. Effective processes ensure that the organisation operates efficiently and delivers quality products or services.

Examples of processes include the production process, quality control measures, and the customer service procedure. These processes dictate the day-to-day operations and significantly impact the overall performance of the organisation.

In analysing processes, evaluate how well they are designed to meet strategic objectives. Consider the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes, and how they contribute to customer satisfaction and competitive advantage. Assess whether the processes are flexible and adaptable to changes in the environment.

4. Rewards (Motivation)

Rewards refer to the systems in place for recognising and compensating employees for their contributions to the organisation. It includes both financial and non-financial rewards. An effective rewards system motivates employees, aligns their efforts with the strategic objectives, and fosters a positive organisational culture.

Examples of rewards include salaries, bonuses, promotions, recognition programs, and professional development opportunities. These rewards can influence employee behaviour and performance, driving them towards achieving organisational goals.

When analysing rewards, consider how well the rewards system aligns with the organisation’s strategy and objectives. Evaluate whether the rewards effectively motivate employees and whether they are perceived as fair and equitable. Also, assess the impact of the rewards system on employee retention and satisfaction.

5. People (Skillset/Mindset)

People refer to the human resources of the organisation, including their skills, attitudes, and behaviours. The people component recognises that employees are a critical asset and that their engagement, development, and well-being are crucial for organisational success. An organisation must ensure that it has the right people, with the right skills, in the right positions.

Examples of the people component include recruitment and selection processes, training and development programs, and performance management systems. These elements ensure that the organisation attracts, develops, and retains talented individuals.

In analysing the people component, evaluate how well the organisation’s human resource practices support the achievement of its strategy. Consider whether employees have the necessary skills and knowledge for their roles. Assess employee engagement levels and the effectiveness of communication within the organisation.

Alternatives to the Galbraith Star Model

While the Galbraith Star Model provides a comprehensive framework for organisational analysis, there are other models and tools available that also offer valuable insights. Alternatives include the McKinsey 7-S Framework, which also focuses on aligning various elements of an organisation but includes Shared Values as a central component. Another alternative is the Balanced Scorecard, which provides a more quantitative approach to measuring organisational performance across different perspectives.

Each of these models has its strengths and can be used in conjunction with the Galbraith Star Model or independently, depending on the specific needs and context of the organisation. It’s important to choose the model that best fits the organisation’s objectives and that can provide the most meaningful insights for decision-making.

Pros and Cons of the Galbraith Star Model


One of the major advantages of the Galbraith Star Model is its holistic approach to organisational analysis. It encourages a comprehensive view of the organisation, ensuring that all components are considered and aligned with the strategic objectives. This can lead to more effective and sustainable organisational changes.

Another benefit is the flexibility of the model. It can be applied to organisations of different sizes and across various industries. The model also allows for customisation, enabling organisations to focus on the components that are most relevant to their specific challenges.


However, the Galbraith Star Model is not without its drawbacks. One potential limitation is the complexity of implementing changes across all five components simultaneously. This can be resource-intensive and may require significant time and effort to manage effectively.

Another challenge is the potential for oversimplification. While the model provides a structured framework, it may not capture all the nuances and complexities of a particular organisation or industry. This could lead to oversights or misalignments in the analysis and planning processes.


The Galbraith Star Model offers a valuable framework for understanding and improving organisational performance. By examining and aligning the five key components of Strategy, Structure, Processes, Rewards, and People, organisations can enhance their efficiency, effectiveness, and adaptability. While there are alternatives to the model and potential challenges in its application, the Galbraith Star Model remains a powerful tool for organisational analysis and design.

Remember, the success of applying the Galbraith Star Model, or any organisational framework, depends on a clear understanding of the model, thoughtful analysis, and careful implementation. With these elements in place, you can leverage the Galbraith Star Model to drive your organisation towards its strategic objectives.


 James Freeman-Gray 

I'm James. A change consultant and organisational development specialist. I've been working in people-centred change for over 15 years. I partner with causes, champions, teams & leaders on projects for social, environmental, technological & human good. If you think I can support in making your change a success, drop me a message. 

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