Organizational structure in Icelandic companies 2004-2007


  • Einar Svansson
  • Runólfur Smári Steinþórsson



Structure, processes, scope, complementarities, dualities.


The subject of this article is to discuss the development of organizational structures, processes and the scope of activities among the 200 biggest companies in Iceland in the period of 2004-2007, based on a survey conducted in 2007. The survey was posted in standard mail.The questionnaire was translated from an international research on innovating forms of organizing (Innform). The main goal was to investigate whether new forms of organizing had been adopted extensively by big Icelandic companies or were developing alongside use of traditional organizational forms. The questionnaire was sent to 192 companies and 62 were received (32.3% answer ratio). The main results of the survey are as follows: The biggest companies seem to put the main emphasis on the multi-divisional form (the M-form) based on products and services as well as with a focus on the customer. Well over half of the companies that responded (70%) uses also or mainly the functional form (the U-form). The main results are therefore that the structure of big Icelandic companies is in very many respects similar to the structural characteristics that was revealed in the Innform project, especially in the European countries studied. The results also confirm that the organizational structure in big Icelandic companies is developing during the period of the study. It is confirmed that project based structure is taking hold and there is a clear increase in the use of a holding structure. The biggest change during the period in any one area measured during the period is in human resource management. Change in scope, outsourcing and use of strategic alliances are modest and are measured less than was the case in the Innform study at the time it was conducted in Europe a decade earlier than the study in Iceland. Further research based on the same questionnaire and also on case studies are now planned to make it possible to compare the present results with data on the development of organizational structure of Icelandic companies 2008-2013.

Author Biographies

Einar Svansson

Lector Professor at the Bifröst University.

Runólfur Smári Steinþórsson

Professor at the University of Iceland.



How to Cite

Svansson, E., & Steinþórsson, R. S. (2012). Organizational structure in Icelandic companies 2004-2007. Icelandic Review of Politics & Administration, 8(2), 515–542.



Peer Reviewed Articles