Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development


The importance of alignment is widely acknowledged in organizations. Yet, we know little about how alignment is created or measured over time at multiple levels in the organization. This paper attempts to expand and enrich different perspectives and types of alignment that exist and occur in organizations. Throughout, we elaborate on how organizational alignment is understood and defined in the extant literature. Next, we propose a framework for examining different perspectives of organizational alignment emphasizing conceptual similarities as well as distinctiveness. Our core contribution is an emergent theoretical framework that expands on the concept of organizational alignment. We find that while conceptual overlap is problematic from a theory building perspective, the organizational context of alignment necessitates unique and varying ways in which this construct is practiced. We apply the theoretical framework to develop recommendations for senior leaders, human resource and operations managers. Finally, we present implications for both theory and practice.


This article was originally published in the open access Journal of Organizational Learning and Leadership, volume 13, issue 1, in Spring 2015. For more information about this journal, visit:

Original Publication Information

Alagaraja, Meera, Kevin Rose, Brad Shuck, and Matt Bergman. "Unpacking Organizational Alignment: The View from Theory and Practice." 2015. Journal of Organizational Learning and Leadership 13(1): 18-31.