Pentagram is an organisation with broad skills with many different specialities. These are Architecture, Books, Editorial, Exhibitions, Identities, Interactive, Interiors, Marks, Packaging, Print, Products and Signage.
They are design focused with seven partners each responsible for separate projects in their own specialised field.
According to Mintzberg’s theory, their organisational structure is most like an adhocracy or team model. The partners are at the top and they form project teams from the other workers. It is a multi-disciplinary structure, organised around the equal partners who all practising designers. The partners may work independently or collaboratively depending on the project, but one of the partners is always in overall control of each project. Each project has a team that is supported by central administrative resources. There are no project managers.
According to Charles Handy’s theory, the organisational structure resembles a spider’s web with the partners in the centre and working closely with the other staff. This allows for speedy decisions but can cause problems if the partners are inefficient.
Wolff Olins is more specialised and focuses on the single field of corporate identity or ‘brand design’. They make more money. Staff are grouped by job function and work on multiple projects simultaneously. According to Charles Handy’s theory the organisational structure resembles a ‘matrix’ or net. There are three separate departments who work on separate floors (project managers, designers and consultants). All departments are interdependent. The organisation of work is task based. Value is placed on expertise and talent. Individual workers can therefore charge high prices which increases running costs.
The main difference between the two is the location of power.