organization design course

why the course is needed

The structure and development of many organizations emerge from uncoordinated change interventions (typically driven by external consultants who follow different approaches) in response to increasingly rapid environmental change. Globalization and the need to adapt production and / or selling to different cultures exacerbate that and threaten the cohesion and identity of an organization.

The patched up organization experiences disorder, discontinuities, duplications, internal competition and other complex problems and therefore the need for more changes. The staff loses creativity, gets change weary, burns out, lapses into complacency, or gets bureaucratic.

what the course is about

The course explains how these and other problems (dis)solve by transforming the organization, through redesigning it, making an implementation plan and implementing the design accordingly.  The design guides the organization to function in new ways which do not recreate the problems and lead to a more desirable future.

It outlines the key concepts of (w)holistic thinking, including the principles associated with the seven forces of organization (environment, ethos, aims, process, structure, governance and substance) and the generic organizing principles that co-produce all systems. It applies this knowledge to the design of a (w)holistic learning organization.

A learning organization is structured as a three-dimensional matrix. This structure ensures the optimal interaction of all functions within the organization. Since each function is linked to its own functional environment, the organization becomes a matrix that is interconnected in a multi-dimensional way with its environment.

The organization is held together by a mission, self-referring ethos and coordinating governance. The matrix structure channels the flow of information and activities through strategic performance and knowledge management. A learning based approach to strategic performance management leads to the continuous development of the organization and each of its functions. Entrenched environmental awareness allows them to change in harmony with their environment. In this way they keep producing relevant and efficient outcomes according to client needs.  The matrix based performance management also drives the continuity of coordinated strategic intent into operational excellence.

All this wires the organization for ongoing change, development and learning. It ensures that it is sustainable and does not lose stability. By analogy, it can surf on the ocean of environmental change on its matrix board, taking advantage of each new wave and avoiding the rocky patches. (The Biomatrix Organization Transformation Programme guides an organization to build its surfboard and enhance its surfing skills.)

Since an organization consists of different functions, the course also covers project, function and process system design in overview. And it deals with the theory and methodology of implementation planning and change management and stakeholder facilitation.

become a (w)holistic leader and manager

Participation in the Biomatrix Organization Design Course will transform you into a (w)holistic thinker based on biomatrix systems theory.

You will understand the theory and methodology of complex problem (dis)solving, as well as system (re)design, development and change in general and that of an organization specifically. Throughout the course you are guided by template-based assignments to apply this knowledge to the redesign of your organization into a learning organization as a case study. You will also learn about and make an implementation plan for the design and a change management plan for facilitating the change.

Once you have completed the course,  you will be confident and able to

  • assess and contextualize other tools and methods used in organizational change interventions
  • act as a consultant and change manager in (w)holistic organization (re)design and transformation
  • act as a learning facilitator and change manager in an in-house delivery of the Biomatrix Organization Transformation Programme to your organization in order to transform it.

course content

The course consists of five e-learning modules. During each module, the participants apply the learned theory in template-based exercises to their case study system and reflect on the theory and methodology.

module 1: overview of general and Biomatrix systems theory

This module explains the key concepts and methods of systems and complexity theories in general and of Biomatrix systems theory specifically. Self-reflection assignments promote a (w)holistic view of the world and of sustainability.

module 2: systemic problem (dis)solving

This module explains the theory and practical steps involved in complex problem analysis and dissolving them through ideal system redesign.  Assignments guide problem analysis and brainstorming of solutions for the case study system.

module 3: seven forces of system organization (entity system perspective)

This module explains the matrix design of entity systems based on seven organizing forces and their organizing principles. Assignments guide the ideal redesign of the case study system.

module 4: implementation planning

This module explains how to make an implementation plan for an ideal design.  Assignments guide the implementation planning of the ideal case study design.

module 5: change management design

This module explains the theory and practical steps involved in managing the transformation of a system with stakeholder participation and alignment. Assignments guide the change management planning for the case study system transformation.

see other courses and programmes

The Organization Design Course is one of several Biomatrix Design Courses which educate senior managers and decision-makers in the theory and methodology of sustainable system (re)design and complex problem solving. The courses are based on Biomatrix theory which explains how systems are organized, change and develop.

project design course
function design course
business process design course
public/private partnership design course
industry design course
public policy and governance design course

in-house programmes


duration of the course

The average duration of the course is 10 months based on 1 day per week (i.e. about 42 days), to be completed within a year.

However, some participants could take considerably less or more time to complete the course, depending on their mode of study, work experience and nature of case study.


We offer two pricing options for the self-managed course. The content and assignments remain the same.

$1100 – includes certificate from Stellenbosch University, feedback from BiomatrixWeb, prescribed starting dates.

$800 – no feedback, no certificate, no prescribed starting dates.


On successful completion, the participants may receive a certificate in Organization Design from Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

admission requirements

No formal qualifications are required. Ideally the participants have a tertiary education as well as management experience.

in-house delivery

Our courses can also be delivered in-house. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

course developer and facilitator

Dr. Elisabeth Dostal is the developer and facilitator of the online Courses for Sustainable System Design based on Biomatrix theory (which she co-developed) and the Biomatrix design methodology.

Her areas of expertise are futurism, systems thinking and strategic management. She acted as a management consultant to business organizations, NGOs and government departments on issues of organization development and restructuring, as well as strategy and public policy design.

more information

visit Stellenbosch University
short courses webpage

download information flyer:
biomatrix organization design course.pdf


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