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MIT CISR 2021 Research Projects

Accelerating Decision Making Without Breaking the Business

Decision Rights/Governance; Enterprise Architecture: Organizational Structure and Agility

MIT CISR research has shown that companies are able to make better and faster decisions by devolving decision making to teams that are closer to customers or end users. These teams are not just held accountable by managers; they have the authority to decide for themselves WHAT they will accomplish and HOW to get things done. Company leaders, in turn, need to guide these decisions by setting four decision rights guardrails that serve as enabling constraints that align teams with enterprise-wide interests. The guardrails revolve around a company’s purpose, data, corporate policies, and resource allocation processes.

In this research project, we will more closely examine these guardrails, with an emphasis on best practices that effectively and efficiently accelerate decision making and action in companies. We will survey executives and conduct case studies to answer the following research questions:

  • What are successful practices and key mechanisms for each of the decision rights guardrails?
  • What are the integration and standardization requirements for each guardrail? How should the decision rights for these practices and mechanisms be distributed among key organizational stakeholders (e.g., teams, units/lines of business, centers of excellence, leadership)?
  • How do the four guardrails compare in terms of their contributions to key organizational performance indicators (e.g., organizational agility, time to market, cost of operations)?

Seeking: Survey respondents, and interviews with digital leaders, enterprise architects, IT governance officers, data experts, product/solutions owners, and other practitioners that are working to effectively and efficiently accelerate decision making and action in their companies

Contact: Nick van der Meulen


Nick van der Meulen, Research Scientist

Nick’s work centers on how companies need to organize themselves differently in the face of continuous technological change. Nick is passionate about separating hype from reality using quantitative data, while also studying the complexity of business practice through in-depth case studies.

Cynthia M. Beath, Professor Emerita
Related publications

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MIT CISR research is funded by the more than ninety firms that sponsor our work and participate in our consortium. 

MIT CISR Patrons
Axway, Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Pegasystems Inc.
Standard Bank Group (South Africa)
The Ogilvy Group
MIT CISR Sponsors
Allstate Insurance Company
ANZ Banking Group (Australia)
Australian Taxation Office
Banco Azteca (Mexico)
Banco Bradesco S.A. (Brazil)
Banco do Brasil S.A.
Bank of Queensland (Australia)
BNP Paribas (France)
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Cabot Corporation
Caterpillar, Inc.
CEMEX (Mexico)
Charles River Laboratories, Inc.
CIBC (Canada)
Cochlear Limited (Australia)
Commonwealth Superannuation Corp. (Australia)
Credit Suisse (Switzerland)
Cuscal Limited (Australia)
CVS Health
DBS Bank Ltd. (Singapore)
Doosan Corporation (Korea)
Fidelity Investments
Fomento Economico Mexicano, S.A.B., de C.V.
Fortum (Finland)
General Mills, Inc.
General Motors Corporation
Henkel AG & Co. (Germany)
Hitachi, Ltd. (Japan)
HSBC Technology & Services (USA) Inc.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
Kaiser Permanente
King & Wood Mallesons (Australia)
Koç Holding (Turkey)
Markel Corporation
National Australia Bank Ltd.
Nomura Holdings, Inc. (Japan)
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. Systems Consulting Division (Japan)
Pacific Life Insurance Company
Pioneer Natural Resources USA Inc.
Posten Norge AS (Norway)
Principal Financial Group
Procter & Gamble
Raytheon Technologies
Reserve Bank of Australia
Royal Philips (Netherlands)
Santander UK/Grupo Santander
SC Global Tubular Solutions
Scentre Group Limited (Australia)
Schneider Electric Industries SAS (France)
Scotts Miracle-Gro
SIGMAXYZ Inc. (Japan)
State Street Corp.
Stockland (Australia)
Suncorp Group (Australia)
Teck Resources Limited (Canada)
Tetra Pak (Sweden)
Trinity Health
Truist Financial Corporation
UniSuper Management Pty Ltd (Australia)
Webster Bank, N.A.
Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia)
WestRock Company
Wolters Kluwer
Zoetis Services LLC
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