Thieme Meulenhoff

2017ThiemeMeulenhoff is a publishing house which publishes teaching materials. At ManagementSite there is an article about the recent renewal of the work organization of this company. That article is summarized below.

The workplace innovation

The production process has been renewed, better (re)use is made of the existing lesson material and the cooperation between editors is improved. The suppliers have been included in the process of change and thus the supplier network has been renewed and deliveries are more effective and efficient. Project teams have become largely self-governing business teams; functions transformed to roles. Employees are better allocated according to their talents, for instance by using a marketplace for projects and roles. The MT no longer sends but guides; The middle management is largely eliminated. IT is supporting the publishing process rather than steering it.


The initiative for organizational change was taken by the MT. But from that moment on the MT worked on the transfer of the lead. At the start, a Transformation Team was established, assembled with people from every line of the organization. The goal of this team was to start organizational change and engage the colleagues in it.

The organization has slowly changed from a hierarchical to a self-organizing organisation. Important in this change was the rapid change of an important system (CRM) which caused confidence to the employees. It also worked well that the Transformation Team held as many “key moments" as possible in the process, on which employees could provide feedback.


ThiemeMeulenhoff has gained in efficiency tremendously. Employee skills are better utilized now.

Lessons learned

According to the former CIO, the following lessons are drawn:

‘As an organization, you must always be ready to change so you can practice it when needed.’

‘It’s good to realize that the MT is the initiator of change, but at the same time it has to change itself.’

‘What has worked out very well here, as in other cases, is that commitment of staff has been sought at an early stage.’

‘After all, the transition of staff could have been faster. The responsibility could have been put with them at an earlier stage.’


Marc Graveland. ‘Hoe een mammoet agile werd. Casus: Uitgeverij ThiemeMeulenhoff. De omzet daalde, IT slibde dicht, de organisatie een wirwar. En toen?’ In: ManagementSite, coverstory. July 18, 2017.

See for the whole article in Dutch: