St. Gallen management model

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The St. Gallen Management Model (SGMM) is a management framework developed in the 1960s at the University of St. Gallen , which was first published in 1972 by Hans Ulrich , the pioneer of system-oriented management teaching in German-speaking countries, together with Walter Krieg and later was initially developed further by Knut Bleicher (1991) and Johannes Rüegg-Stürm (2002). The division of corporate management tasks into three levels, highlighted by Knut Bleicher in 1991, has become well known: normative management, strategic and operational management. These three levels correspond to systems 3, 4 and 5 of the Viable System Model .


The model developed against the background of the desire, which has been cherished since the 1950s and increased in the face of the Cold War , to create a regulatory framework for responsible management. In the 1960s, approaches from cybernetics were incorporated into the model. In the 1980s this mechanistic-control-oriented view was overcome; instead, an integrative and interdisciplinary model was developed that tended to emphasize development processes. The New St. Gallen Management Model (NSGMM) also includes interaction with the environment and stakeholders and is therefore communication-oriented. The current St. Gallen management model of the 4th generation has a systemic and entrepreneurial orientation and differentiates management into operational, strategic and normative aspects. At the same time, it shows management and organization in their dynamic interaction with the environment and now conceptualizes management as a reflective design practice.

The rights to the St. Gallen management model belong to the Malik Management Center St. Gallen, which has given them to the University of St Gallen for use.

Three levels of management

Normative management

The highest of the three management levels of the St. Gallen management model is called normative management (justifying).

This level "deals with the general goals of the company, with principles, norms and rules of the game that are aimed at enabling the company to remain viable and develop."

The main concern here is the ethical legitimation of entrepreneurial activity in view of the conflicting concerns and interests of the various stakeholders .

At the normative management level - according to the model - an organization should define its corporate policy , principles / guidelines, principles and corporate standards.

See also "Responsibility of top management" in DIN EN ISO 9000/9001 . In detail: Chapter 5 of ISO 9001: 2008 "Management responsibility" was renamed in ISO 9001: 2015 to Chapter 5 "Management".

Strategic management

The strategic management (aligning) is the middle of the three management levels of the St. Gallen management model.

At the strategic management level, an organization develops procedures in order to pursue the guiding principles defined in normative management and to achieve goals. Such business strategies are formulated in a business plan, for example . The aim is to establish long-term competitive advantages through a basic configuration of the company that is superior to the competition.

The implementation of the strategies is the responsibility of the operational management.

Operational management

The lowest of three management levels of the St. Gallen management model is the so-called operative (executive or executive) management.

Here, the content that was developed in the strategic development process is implemented in everyday activities, whereby unforeseen disruptive factors must be taken into account. The strategy helps to accept and reject opportunities - it forms the guard rails, so to speak, within which decisions are made at the operational level.

At the operational management level of an organization, the management of the employees and / or the subcontractors, the provision of the means (resources) as well as the planning, control, monitoring and quality assurance of the business processes take place. Operational planning implements strategic requirements. It is short-term and lasts up to a year. It is detailed, relatively precise and contains all individual goals.

Operational management is also responsible for the social aspect of staff management, cooperative behavior and vertical and horizontal communication.

The “new” St. Gallen management model

The six basic categories of the new St. Gallen management model

The revised model has been known since 2002 as the “New St. Gallen Management Model” or “HSG approach to integrated management theory”. The motive for the renewal results on the one hand from the striving for integration and holism, on the other hand from the development of a thought pattern for dealing with further education , research and teaching .

Hans Ulrich and his team were aware that a functioning management system can not only be based on pure science, but must also meet the requirements of reality.

In the new St. Gallen management system, a distinction is made between six central categories. On one level, there are the categories of environmental spheres, stakeholders and interaction topics that relate to the social and ecological environment. On the other level are the categories of elements of order , processes and development modes, which relate to the internal view of the organization.

With the development of the first SGMM, Hans Ulrich introduced the term “empty space framework for something meaningful”. The St. Gallen model thus shows itself as a design framework for managers to recognize their own company as holistic and to identify and solve problems from it. In addition, the vacancy framework should offer sufficient flexibility to implement additional methods and approaches.

Environmental spheres

Environmental spheres designate relevant reference areas in the company's environment. The company interacts with the elements of these systems, which is why they must be analyzed very precisely for trends and changes. Society represents the most comprehensive of these spheres. However, technology, economy and ecology are also important.


Stakeholder groups refer to all groups and individuals who are affected in any way by the company's added value or damage. The purpose of a company emerges from the value contribution for these stakeholders . However, the claims of different parties are necessarily fraught with conflict, which is why the company must find rules and procedures within the framework of the normative orientation process in order to prioritize.

Interaction topics

"Interaction topics refer to objects of the exchange relationships between stakeholders and the company around which the company's communication with its stakeholders revolves". These are norms and values , concerns and interests as well as resources . Values denote fundamental views about a life worth striving for, norms build on them and denote explicit laws and regulations. Interests denote immediate self-interest, while concerns denote goals that can be generalized. These person- and culture-bound elements stand opposite the object-bound resources .

Process perspective

The most important process categories of the new St. Gallen management model

The St. Gallen management model understands a company as a system of processes . Processes are routine procedures that shape the everyday life of a company. The superior mastery of these routines, especially in a short process time, is an important prerequisite for business success. A distinction is made between management processes, business processes and support processes.

Management processes

Management processes encompass all fundamental tasks that have to do with the "design, control (control) and development of purpose-oriented socio-technical organizations". A distinction is made between normative orientation processes, strategic development processes and operational management processes.

Business processes

Business processes embody the core activities of a company that are directly geared towards customer benefit. They include the customer processes (brand management processes, customer acquisition processes and customer loyalty processes), the service creation processes and the service innovation processes.

Support processes

In-house services for an effective execution of business processes are carried out here. These include, for example, educational work ( learning processes ) and human resources work ( advanced training programs ).

Moments of order

Everyday events, which take place in the form of processes, require a coherent orientation and meaning. These functions fulfill the moments of order. They arise explicitly and implicitly from everyday events and structure them in turn. So there is a circular connection between processes and elements of order. The sub-areas are strategy, structures and culture.


As mentioned earlier, the strategy is based on long-term decisions that serve to build competitive advantage. The strategy as a moment of order denotes the content dimension (“What?”). It should provide information about the concerns, needs and forms of communication of the stakeholders , the range of services, the focus on value creation , possible areas of cooperation and core competencies . The strategic development process (see management processes), on the other hand, focuses on the “how?”: How should the generation process be designed? How is the content effectively communicated and communicated at the various levels?


Structures are required to define the necessary degree of division of labor and to coordinate these sub-areas effectively. This is done using organizational structures ( organizational chart ) and process structures (determining which tasks are to be carried out in which sequence, for example in the form of a process plan ). The management can bring about changes here comparatively easily, since the issues involved are explicitly defined.


Culture describes the implicit, underlying structures of a company. This includes norms and values, attitudes, attitudes and argumentation patterns. The division of labor leads to a differentiation of the culture within the company. An essential success factor of a company can be based on culture, since its elements are difficult to put into words even by those who support it and are therefore difficult to copy by other companies. It is a great challenge for management to influence the corporate culture that has evolved , as, in contrast to the formal organizational structure, it is organically and unconsciously anchored in the behavior and thinking of employees.

Development modes

Development modes describe the different types of further development of a company. The continuous improvement of the existing is called optimization , while the discontinuous, only erratic creation of something completely new is represented by renewal .

Differentiation from other management concepts

The St. Gallen management model with its system-theoretical foundations was explicitly differentiated from the earlier business administration theory of purely economic, purposeful rational action, from the authoritarian Harzburg model by emphasizing self-control and feedback.

The SGMM distinguishes itself from other systems such as the DaimlerChrysler Production System (DCPS) or the Toyota Production System (TPS) by emphasizing the aspects of development through training and further education. In addition, these systems focus more on production and process management. The SGMM is a complex model that is shaped by system theory and interpreted as an integrated management system. It is the design of an open system that relies on feedback and communication in order to identify weak points and optimize them. Therefore, above all, reflective, feedback-happy performers are promoted. The production-oriented systems are designed more closed and allow little deviations due to the strict structure from top to bottom. Calculative results are wanted here.

In contrast to the 7-S model , the SGMM not only looks at the company, but also its environment and its stakeholders. In contrast, 7-S only looks at the company, weights all influencing factors equally (the selection of which is not justified further) and does not sufficiently differentiate between the various process types (primary, secondary, etc.).

The 4th generation of the St. Gallen management model

In 2014, the current version of the model came out under the name The St. Gallen Management Model of the 4th Generation with three levels of resolution. This new generation was developed by Johannes Rüegg-Stürm and Simon Grand. The 4th generation of the St. Gallen management model conceives management as a reflective design practice and aims to support joint processes of reflection on entrepreneurial tasks and challenges. It would like to be a working tool for a deeper intellectual examination of management and is also understood as an invitation to critically question current management practice, to develop alternative perspectives and to discover new scope for the division of labor and its further development in one's own area of ​​responsibility.

The 4th generation model works with visualizations of different levels of model formation (zooming-in and zooming-out) and thus continues the path of dialogical mediation taken by previous generations.

Environment, organization, management

The fourth generation of the St. Gallen management model understands the interplay between the environment, organization and management as a communication process. The environment forms a space of possibilities and expectations that an organization has to open up again and again in an entrepreneurial way. Organizations are value creation systems that are characterized by the division of labor, specialization and distribution. Management is a reflexive design practice and contributes to the fact that the organization can develop successfully in interaction (in co-evolution) with a dynamic environment. Management understands the model neither as an institution (as “the” management of a company), nor as what individual managers do in terms of individual actions. Rather, management develops its effect from the interplay of diverse collective practices, which are primarily geared towards creating conducive communication conditions and making effective decisions.

Management innovation

The fourth generation of the St. Gallen management model is now closed with a chapter on management innovation. In it, the authors advocate systematic efforts for critical reflection and for the further development of a management practice that has evolved over time. According to the model, this reflection can only be carried out collectively, i.e. by means of targeted communication processes. The prerequisite for management innovation is therefore to develop a common management language and to form innovation partnerships, which, for example, can result from cooperation between practice and research.

The updated version of the St. Gallen management model

In 2019 an updated version of the St. Gallen management model was released. It complements the basic scientific work on the 4th generation from 2017.

The purely communication-centered view used in the 4th generation is abandoned again. In a task perspective, from the perspective of traditional business administration, the appropriate processing of tasks and problems of value creation is presented; In a practical perspective, the essential requirements for effective and responsible management are then dealt with. For this purpose, reference is made to facets of practical theory and modern systems theory.

Management is still seen as a reflexive design practice; In communicative negotiation processes, it is important to use a language of reflection (as exemplified by the SGMM) to reflect together on current and potential opportunities and risks of the responsible, distributed value creation processes. A “dynamic stability” of the further development of internal value-added processes based on the division of labor with evolutionary and revolutionary phases is envisaged.

The continued path of dialogical further development of the findings through the integrative merging of theoretical research, empirical testing and application-oriented experience led to a didactically highly optimized preparation of the findings, which is now much more compatible with traditional business administration in terms of content and language.


The 2nd generation of the model attracted criticism because of its theoretical weight. Helmut Kasper, Wolfgang Mayrhofer and Michael Meyer from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration criticize the fact that at the center of the St. Gallen management model of the 3rd generation are still people with their individual responsibility, i. H. the role of the individual manager is overemphasized. They replace this image of a technocratic leader from the outside by looking at relationships, relations and connections between communications. In his theory of post-heroic management, Dirk Baecker also criticizes the overemphasis on individual responsibility and the strict content-related specifications by managers. In contrast, the manager even introduced uncertainty into the organization by referring to the open future. The last versions of the model also only marginally consider the aspect of human resource development.

The claim that the NSGMM enables an interlacing of objective and subjective perspectives by emphasizing the actors' respective constructions of reality in the sense of social constructivism is extremely difficult to meet in practice. However, the NSGMM does not claim to offer prescription solutions.

It should be noted also that it the management model does not give a general St. Gallen. There is little in common between the bio-cybernetically influenced interpretations of the Malik school and the social constructivist, but more practice-oriented perspective of Rüegg-Stürm, which is based on the critical dissolution of solidified ideas about management.


  • Rüegg-Stürm, J. , Grand, S .: The St. Gallen Management Model. Management in a Complex World, Bern 2019 . Bern u. a. 2014.
  • Rüegg-Stürm, J. , Grand, S .: The St. Gallen Management Model: 4th Generation - Introduction . Bern u. a. 2014.
  • Knut Bleicher , Christian Abegglen: The concept of integrated management . Visions - missions - programs. 9th, revised and updated edition. Campus Verlag , Frankfurt / New York 2017, ISBN 978-3-593-50599-2 (714 pages).
  • Rolf Dubs (ed.): Introduction to management theory . Haupt, Bern 2004, ISBN 978-3-258-07528-0 (reading excerpt as PDF: Johannes Rüegg-Stürm: Das neue St. Gallen Management-Modell. Pp. 65–141; 316 kB [accessed on April 5, 2010] ).
  • Ulrich Gonschorrek, Werner Pepels : Holistic Management . Berlin 2004.
  • Peter Hauser, Emil Brauchlin : Integrated Management in Practice. The implementation of the St. Gallen concept for success . Frankfurt am Main 2004.
  • Markus Schwaninger : Management Systems. The St. Gallen management concept . Frankfurt am Main 1994.
  • Fredmund Malik : Systemic Management, Evolution, Self-Organization . 2nd Edition. Bern 2000.
  • Christian Abegglen (Ed.): Management in Change. Milestones in the development of an integrated management. Collected writings by Knut Bleicher . Swiridoff, Künzelsau 2005, ISBN 978-3-89929-052-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. Knut Bleicher , Christian Abegglen: The concept of integrated management . Visions - missions - programs. 9th, revised and updated edition. Campus Verlag , Frankfurt / New York 2017, ISBN 978-3-593-50599-2 , pp. 150 ff . (714 pp.).
  2. ^ Regina Schwegler, Moralisches Behavior von Unternehmen , Springer Verlag 2009, ISBN 978-3-8349-1281-7 , pp. 105–111
  3. a b cf. Rüegg-Stürm, J./Grand, S .: The St. Gallen Management Model: 4th Generation - Introduction, Bern a. a. 2014
  4. Malik Management website , accessed August 11, 2017.
  5. Knut Bleicher , Christian Abegglen: The concept of integrated management . Visions - missions - programs. 9th, revised and updated edition. Campus Verlag , Frankfurt / New York 2017, ISBN 978-3-593-50599-2 , pp. 199 ff . (714 pp.).
  6. a b Dubs et al., 2004
  7. H. Ulrich
  8. cf. z. B. Erich Gutenberg, Fundamentals of Business Administration , Springer-Verlag, Berlin 1983
  9. cf.
  10. ^ Rüegg-Stürm, Johannes / Grand, Simon: The St. Galler Management Model. Management in a Complex World, Bern 2019, ISBN 978-3-2580-8015-4
  11. cf. Maria Stippler u. a., Leadership: Approaches, Developments, Trends , Part 2: Systemic Leadership, Bertelsmann Stiftung Leadership Series 2010