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The Matrix Organization Model

Many large multi-national organizations eschew the simplicity of Charles Handy’s Federal Organization model. Instead, they favor the big, complex, and ugly approach that is the Matrix Model.

Watching this video is worth 2 Management Courses CPD Points*.
(See below for more details)

The Nature of Organizations
This video is part of course module number 6.1.2
Program 6: Managing within Organizations
Course 1: The Nature of Organizations
Section 2: Organizational Models

Other videos in this section include:
🎬 Edgar Schein’s Two Organizational Cultures – https://youtu.be/9C64CXJw83E
🎬 Henry Mintzberg’s 4 plus 2 Organizational Types – https://youtu.be/JmvYcskjh3E
🎬 Charles Handy’s Gods of Management – https://youtu.be/yClxu7dzmB4
🎬 Charles Handy’s Shamrock Organization – https://youtu.be/dGGKT0Mr_HA
🎬 Charles Handy’s Federal Organization Model – https://youtu.be/69AYxCvT7m4
🎬 Charles Handy’s Triple-I Company – https://youtu.be/gFRXiMkIg6k
🎬 Peter Senge’s Learning Organization – https://youtu.be/k1k2h1l2VO0
🎬 Adhocracy – https://youtu.be/7QKm0Y3_Hr0
🎬 The Agile Organization – https://youtu.be/67NVUeFQMy4
🎬 Brian Robertson’s Holacracy – https://youtu.be/hz3khhOLT5E
🎬 Virtual Organizations – https://youtu.be/Hsovj2jPNPA

Most modern organizations adopt elements of the Matrix organization, once they reach a certain size. But, in its full horror, the Matrix Organisation is a real nightmare to navigate.

Consider the Technical Director (Bob) of a mid-size UK subsidiary (TechCo) of a global business (MegaCo). TechCo itself sells and operates across the world alongside other brands within MegaCo’s Services Division.

Before MegaCo acquired TechCo, Bob was one of a small group of TechCo Directors. Together they made all the decisions about product development, marketing, sales, and support.

Now, Bob is responsible to MegaCo Services Division Technical Director for Product Development. Also to TechCo’s Managing Director, also to Services Division’s Country Leader.

There are at least three dimensions to MegaCo’s matrix:
1. Brand (TechCo) which sits within Product Set (Services Division)
2. Country (UK), which sits within region (EMEA – Europe, Middle East, and Africa)
3. Function (Technical) which sits within the wider Product vertical

On paper, matrix organizations sound like a great solution to the competing demands of different parts of a large organization. In practice, they force the resolution of those competing demands onto each senior and middle manager.

Even when there is a notional ‘primary dimension’, managers still have a reporting line through other dimensions and therefore can rarely avoid the need to make compromises and so disappoint more senior executives.

The benefit of Matrix Organizations is they avoid over-centralization. The cost is in creating two, three, or more competing centers!

Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, no less, dismiss Matrix Organizations in their 1982 book, In Search of Excellence (https://geni.us/CrE5), as ‘a logistical mess’.

The only way to really make a Matrix Organization work is to give each manager, at every intersection of the matrix, true delegated authority to make the decision that is right at the time.

For that to work, each manager needs good quality information at all times, and the ability to assess the situation and make a considered choice.

1. Assess the pros and cons of a highly matrix organizational structure (3 MC CPD Points)
2. To what extent is your organization a matrix organization? How would it improve and what would it lose, if it were to move further in the direction of a fully-matrix structure? (3 MC CPD Points)
3. Compare these pros and cons with those for a Federal Organization https://youtu.be/69AYxCvT7m4 (2 MC CPD Points)

Free Resources
– CPD Tools – https://gum.co/MC-CPD
Paid resources
– Management Courses Onboarding Kit – https://gum.co/MC-ObK ($3)

– Understanding Organizations https://geni.us/oB774Do
– Images of Organization https://geni.us/hrOemEs
– Inside Organizations: 21 Ideas for Managers https://geni.us/YwwL
– Gods of Management: The Four Cultures of Leadership https://geni.us/bpPeC5

Managers Need a Basic set of kit to do your job well. Here are my top recommendations: https://kit.co/MikeClayton/manager-s-work-kit (the links are affiliated)

Management Courses Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Points
You can record your Management Courses CPD points on our free, downloadable CPD record log.
Download it at: https://gum.co/MC-CPD

Each video has two levels of MC CPD points. For this video:
– If you simply watched the video, record 2 MC CPD points
– If you also carried out all of the recommended exercises, score a total of 10 MC CPD points

Links to our book recommendations are affiliated through Amazon

#Management #ManagementCourses #MatrixOrganization


A Thorough Introduction to Organizational Culture [Compilation]
Introduction to Organizations: A Compilation of our Introductory Videos
What is Globalization?
Kim Cameron: Positive Organizational Scholarship
Charles Handy: Philosopher of Organizations
Edgar Schein: The Master of Organizational Culture
Harold Geneen: Data-driven Charismatic Organization
Chester Barnard: Organizations as Networks of People
Max Weber: The Father of Organizational Theory
How we Work: Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cross-Organization Cultural Dimensions
National Culture within an Organization: Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions
Quinn and Cameron: Competing Values Model of Organizational Culture
Edgar Schein’s 3 Levels of Organizational Culture
Cultural Web: Johnson & Scholes on Where Culture Originates
Introduction to Organizational Culture
Empowerment: The Organization Giving up its Power
French and Raven: Social Power Bases in Organizations
Power in Organizations: The Power of Governance
Robin Fincham: Three Levels of Organizational Power
Amitai Etzioni: How Organizations Secure Compliance
Organizational Power: What is Power?
Virtual Organizations
Brian Robertson’s Holacracy Organizational Model
The Agile Organization
Adhocracy Organizational Model
Peter Senge’s Learning Organization
Charles Handy’s Triple-I Company
Charles Handy’s Federal Organization Model
Charles Handy’s Shamrock Organization
Charles Handy’s Gods of Management
Henry Mintzberg’s 4 plus 2 Organizational Types
Edgar Schein’s Two Organizational Cultures
Why do we need Organizations? Structure vs Agility
The Features of Organizations: What an Organization Needs
Organizations as Processes: Understanding an Organization as a Set of Processes
Organizations as Structures: Understanding an Organization as a Structure
Morgan’s 8 Organizational Metaphors: An Organization is Like a…
What is an Organization? – the Nature of Organizations

Mike Clayton

About Mike Clayton 

Dr Mike Clayton is a (former) Project Manager and now a management educator. Having trained thousands of people at live workshops, seminars, and conferences, he now delivers training mainly via video. He has 14 books with international publishers and runs two successful YouTube channels. He is also the founder of OnlinePMCourses.com

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