Suncor Energy Corp.

Note: This information was produced using AI analysis of the video presentation transcript and has not yet been reviewed and approved by the client or the consultant.

Two Case Studies Suncor executives will discuss:
1. How they successfully merged two stratum IV oil extraction organizations and redesigned the general manager (SVP) role at stratum V. A new highly effective management team was put in place at strata V, IV, and III within one year of an after an acquisition.
2. How they improved the organization effectiveness of a huge, complex stratum IV open pit mine with large employment working at different locations - at the same time improving safety, productivity, quality, environmental sensitivity, and managerial leadership competence.

The Issue:

The managers began this project to address operational and organizational inefficiencies exposed by growth and a complex operational environment. As Suncor underwent significant expansions, such as the opening of the North Steep Bank mine and the integration of operations following the merger with PetroCanada, the complexity of managing large-scale operations with inadequate organizational structures became apparent. This led to issues like unclear accountability, insufficient communication, and coordination problems, negatively affecting safety, productivity, and employee engagement. These problems were compounded by the company's rapid growth, making it difficult to maintain operational standards and culture.

The Intervention:

In the project, interventions from Requisite Organization (RO) and Stratified Systems Theory (SST) were utilized. These included restructuring the organization to clear and define managerial roles and responsibilities better, establishing clear lines of accountability, and realigning the work structures to match the complexity of tasks at various organizational levels. These interventions helped in creating a more effective management hierarchy that supported better decision-making and responsibility allocation. Systems Leadership principles were also applied to reinforce a culture of accountability and collaboration across different levels of the organization, ensuring that managers had the appropriate authority and capability to manage their respective areas effectively.


The project resulted in several improvements:

  1. Enhanced safety outcomes, as seen in the reduction of recordable injury frequencies.
  2. Improved clarity of roles and responsibilities, which helped in reducing operational confusion and enhancing employee satisfaction.
  3. Better alignment between organizational structure and operational needs, leading to more effective management and operational efficiency.
  4. Increased engagement and effectiveness of the workforce by ensuring that leaders were appropriately empowered and responsibilities were clearly defined.

Project Information:

Industrial sector Types of organization Governance RO Stratum of the organization Number of Employees Labour relations Region Country
Energy generation and distribution - electric, gas, oil, coal, solar, wind, thermal, wind, nuclear
Oil and Gas
North America
Types of interventions Specific functions targeted if any Strata in which RO interventions were used Approximate Years of project interventions
Senior management orientation to concepts, Levels of work complexity
CEO & general management, Operations or production
2009 to 2013?

Link to other project-related information on the site:

Project principals

Profile picture for user michaelmacsween
Michael MacSween
Executive Vice President, Major Projects
Suncor Energy Inc
Profile picture for user adriennenickerson
Adrienne Nickerson
Director of Operations
Canadian Oil Sands
Profile picture for user paultremlett
Paul Tremlett
COREinternational inc

Major organizations and consulting firms that provide Requisite Organization-based services

A global association of academics, managers, and consultants that focuses on spreading RO implementation practices and encouraging their use
Dr. Gerry Kraines, the firms principal, combines Harry Levinson's leadership frameworks with Elliott Jaques's Requisite Organization. He worked closely with Jaques over many years, has trained more managers in these methods than anyone else in the field, and has developed a comprehensive RO-based software for client firms.
Founded as an assessment consultancy using Jaques's CIP methods, the US-based firm expanded to talent pool design and management, and managerial leadership practice-based work processes
Former RO-experienced CEO, Ron Harding, provides coaching to CEOs of start-ups and small and medium-size companies that are exploring their own use of RO concepts.  His role is limited, temporary and coordinated with the RO-based consultant working with the organization
Ron Capelle is unique in his multiple professional certifications, his implementation of RO concepts through well designed organization development methods, and his research documenting the effectiveness of his firm's interventions
A Toronto requisite organization-based consultancy with a wide range of executive coaching, training, organization design and development services.
A Sweden-based consultancy, Enhancer practices time-span based analysis, executive assessment, and provides due diligence diagnosis to investors on acquisitions.
Founded by Gillian Stamp, one of Jaques's colleagues at Brunel, the firm modified Jaques;s work-levels, developed the Career Path Appreciation method, and has grown to several hundred certified assessors in aligned consulting firms world-wide recently expanding to include organization design
Requisite Organization International Institute distributes Elliott Jaques's books, papers, and videos and provides RO-based training to client organizations