Challenges and strategies of matrix

Because the matrix is a relatively new form, however, the companies that have adopted it have of necessity been learning on a trial and error basis. Relationships between functional and product managers should be explicit so that people are in approximate agreement about who is to do what under various circumstances.

managing a matrix team

In this case, the company decided to employ the matrix design from the outset in setting up its new operating division at a new plant site. Understand you are part of a team, whether or not you all report to the same person.

Matrix environment definition

Measures management can take to prevent this pathology do not lie within the matrix itself, as much as with improvements in basic managerial skills and planning. Corporate structures such as the matrix should not have to change because of standard changes in the business cycle. In the balanced matrix form, team members report to both the project manager and functional manager. Make sure they all know and agree who is involved. With that number, the people who need to coordinate regularly are able to do so through communication networks that are based on personal relations. He or she must personally make all important decisions on a round-the-clock schedule until the crisis is over. Prevention and treatment—The best remedies for uncontrolled layering are careful task analysis and reduced power struggles. Otherwise, their time is charged against the budget of their function manager. In what way can such economies be achieved? What you can do: Make sure your goals are linked to the same vision and goals as others you are working with. The outward focus disappears because the short-term demands of daily working life have yet to be worked through. Someone might be seen as dropping the ball when they never knew the ball was in their court. Will decisions, no matter how well thought through, be made too late to be of use? But management can budget such time in advance so that it can scrutinize the variances from the budget.

Charns, and P. After gathering data based on surveys, workshops and interviews with top-level and mid-level managers in multinational corporations in six industries, the authors identified the five challenges most likely to be present in a matrix structure as being: 1.

However, the disadvantages will quickly outweigh the advantages if leaders think this is simply a matter of restructuring or drawing dotted lines on an organizational chart.

benefits of matrix working

As often as not, when a matrix sinks, it may simply be experiencing a healthy adjustment, and ought to be thought of as settling rather than as sinking.

Some actions you can take as a matrix team member are: Resolve the identity of your primary reporting manager Clarify how the input of your various matrix managers will be captured and reflected in your performance evaluation Maintain a regular dialog with your report-to manager to keep them apprised of your progress and priorities Identify conflicting priorities and broker discussions between the various managers to clarify any confusion Take the initiative to propose or encourage your report-to manager to invest in your professional development through training, education, and coaching Gain the support of your matrix managers for these efforts Document everything.

Documentation should be thorough and throughout the project to protect the lessons that are learned and provide evaluation information for the team members. Weisbord, M.

Problems with matrix management

Diagnosis—The essence of a matrix is dual command. As the product manager lost control, a power vacuum developed, into which the functional managers fell, each grabbing for total control. Basic matrix structures have two dimensions e. When management planning has been poor, however, the matrix is a readily available scapegoat. In most matrix organizations there are dual command responsibilities assigned to functional departments marketing, production, engineering, and so forth and to product or market departments. At best, the organization will go back to its pendulum days, alternating between the centralized management of the crunch period and the decentralized freedoms of more prosperous times. What he must do above all, however, is protect the weak dimension in the organization, not necessarily the weak manager in charge of that dimension. Some individuals seemed to enjoy the steady diet of meetings and the chance to practice being a generalist.

Collapse during economic crunch When business declines, the matrix becomes the scapegoat for poor management and is discarded.

The identifying feature of a matrix organization is that some managers report to two bosses rather than to the traditional single boss; there is a dual rather than a single chain of command.

Reporting matrix

In the matrix, however, power struggles are inevitable; the boundaries of authority and responsibility overlap prompting people to maximize their own advantage. Are these concerns based on real hazards? And any form can suffer from a variety of problems that develop because of the design itself. For example, top managers should ask themselves if all the business units need to be balanced by central functional departments. Diagnosis—On the face of it, a matrix organization would seem to double management costs because of its dual chain of command. Diagnosis—Many managers who have had no firsthand familiarity with matrix organizations tend to have half-expressed fears that a matrix leads to anarchy. No organization design or method of management is perfect. There are different types of matrix management styles, and different methods to overcome the challenges that come with them. But once one or two things began to crumble, there was not enough reserve in the system to keep everything else from going wrong. Like any new method it may develop serious bugs, but the experiences that many companies are acquiring with this organization form can now help others realize its benefits and avoid its pitfalls. Under many circumstances, of course, it is perfectly sensible for managers to make decisions in groups. Where Matrix Management Makes Sense Matrix management is ideal for sharing talent and skills across departments. The former are oriented to specialized in-house resources while the latter focus on outputs. Where Matrix Management Is Not Ideal While there are many potential benefits to this flexible style of team structure, there are some circumstances where it is not ideal.
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The challenges of matrix management