The Shamrock Organisation

The Shamrock Organisation, proposed by management guru Charles Handy, is a useful model for businesses in the creative industries and other industry sectors.

Charles Handy has written about a ‘Shamrock Organisation’ of three parts.

Firstly there is a small core of permanent key employees who keep the company operating and developing.

Secondly is the ‘contractual fringe’, ie subcontractors who are engaged as needed and paid by results.

Thirdly, the flexible workforce, often casual and/or part-time employees who are taken on as and when needed.

Using slightly different terms, this shamrock model could be described as ‘core staff plus project workers plus external subcontractors’.


This is one of the organisational structures outlined by David Parrish in his book ‘T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity’.

Other organisational formats include the ‘Club Sandwich’ Organisation, Network Organisations and Virtual Organisations.

T-Shirts and Suits is available as a paperback, eBook and Audiobook. It has been published in translations in nine countries around the world.

It is a practical handbook for creative entrepreneurs to refer to and find information, examples from successful creative businesses, and practical tips about using powerful business ideas in a creative context. It’s a creative business guide for entrepreneurs in the creative industries and creative economy.

The Shamrock Organisation and other organisational structures for creative and other businesses

Here’s what it says on the back of this leading creative entrepreneurship book:

Successful creative enterprises integrate creativity and business. T-Shirts and Suits offers an approach which brings together both creative passion and business best practice.

Written in an engaging and jargon-free style, the book offers inspiration and appropriate advice for all those involved in running or setting up a creative business.

Marketing, intellectual property, finance, competition, leadership – and more – are included in this guide.

Examples of best practice are illustrated in eleven ‘Ideas in Action’ sections featuring a range of creative businesses and organisations.


“Clear and concise with a lovely clean design.
T-Shirts and Suits is a great mixture of theory, practice and inspiration.”
– Fiona Shaw. Capsica Publishing


Full-colour paperback (112 pages)
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