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Center for Environmental InnovationCenter for Environmental Innovation
Organizations in Transition (OIT)

A CEI & University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Collaborative Research Project

Project Description

This program is designed to examine the current approaches taken by companies when they size and organize their EHS departments.  The goal of this program is to develop a “real-time” assessment of actual practices, evaluated against a backdrop of organizational management theory.  The initial phase will be a series of detailed interviews with corporations that have recently undergone a major merger or acquisition.  We will then convene a forum, “Managing EH&S Organizations in an era of Corporate Mergers”, to share current and past experiences.  The deliverable will be a report summarizing opinions of interviewees and forum participants regarding:

  • Current best practices;
  • Practices to avoid;
  • Key characteristics for successful organizational transitions;
  • Theoretical underpinnings based on organizational behavior; and
  • Additional areas for further investigation.

Additional workshops and interviews focusing on specific issues such as shared services, trans-national organizations, and outsourcing are in the planning stage.  The results of these initial efforts will support the planning and design of additional investigations, including surveys, workshops and business management interviews.  Although the entire program will span more than one year, the sharing of information at the workshops will provide immediate value to the sponsors and participants.

Click here to view a list of the current sponsors for this project.

In the final phase of this program, we will use information from decision makers’ opinions to support the development of guidelines and best practices for organizational design to achieve maximum competitive advantage, while acting socially responsible.  Both "solid" (e.g., formal, direct reporting) and "dotted line" (e.g., influence, matrix, virtual) relationships will be considered in defining these best practices.

Guidelines will also be differentiated according to the needs of small, medium, and large companies  and major industry sectors.  The first sector to be evaluated is the energy industry.  In addition, we will examine key internal EHS-related processes that require cross-functional groups operating as a team.  The first process for evaluation is the preparation of external environmental and social responsibility disclosures, since assembly of this information involves input, review and approval by a wide cross-section of independent functional groups.

The intended audience for the results of the research will be business executives, human resource (HR) departments and EHS managers.  Articles will be published in a variety of journals and professional magazines to reach environmental, health and safety practitioners, HR managers, and business executives.


Click here for additional information including a description of the program need, funding sources and published literature

Complete a Sponsor Application Form.

Request more information about "Organizations in Transition"


Center for Environmental Innovation, Inc.
350 Hidden Valley Drive
Prescott, AZ 86303-5384


Richard MacLean
Program Director

Andrew J. Hoffman
Senior Investigator
University of Michigan Ross School of Business



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This page last updated 7/20/2018