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.
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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)
– CPD Tools – https://gum.co/MC-CPD
– 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
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