Media release: The Rise of the Matrix – Stop Whining and Get On With It

90% of Multi-National Companies Operate a Matrix Structure

October 21, 2013:  90% of the top multi-national organizations operate a matrix structure, in spite of its complexity in implementation, according to Global Integration, a specialist training provider for matrix organisations.

An analysis of the Fortune 50 and FTSE 50 shows that the matrix organization is alive and well, even though many academics and writers have often been highly critical of the complexity of the matrix, frequently describing it as a failed experiment from the 1980s.

Kevan Hall, CEO of Global Integration and author of the book “Making the Matrix Work” has worked with 35% of the Fortune and FTSE 50 companies.

He commented: “The matrix is a reflection of the internal and external complexity of today’s large companies.  If we could find a simpler way to operate we would, but the matrix seems best suited to companies that need to be both international and integrated. Most of the challenges of the matrix lie in how people work together to co-operate, make decisions and deliver results – so the solutions tend to lie with skills rather than structure.  People that work in a matrix need to stop whining about its complexity, stop becoming a victim of the matrix and instead enhance their skills to help them operate more effectively within a matrix structure.”

Most criticism of matrix management was during a time without the communication and business process tools we have today and in an old-fashioned environment of ‘command and control’, a style of hierarchy which is diminishing rapidly in today’s business world.  Many critics focus on managerial complaints about having to get things done without the traditional authority and control.  However, as Hall says:

“Do we want managers who can only get things done through power and control?  It’s a very old-fashioned style of management.  If a matrix makes managers abandon command and control, then that is surely a positive result.”

For those looking to climb up the executive ladder, they should take note that nearly 90% of matrixed companies explicitly ask for experience of working within a matrix organization in their executive recruitment ads, so any evidence of success and skills geared towards matrix management is a significant advantage in achieving a rise to the top.

Further analysis of Fortune 50 and FTSE 50 companies, collectively employing more than 13 million people, shows some clear trends in terms of organizational structure within these organizations.

As you might expect, the most popular board structure is primarily based around the power of function, ie. HR, Operations, Finance etc.  However increasingly, representation at board level includes executives responsible for business line (66%) and geographical region (46%).

Interestingly, an increasing number of organisations are introducing element of horizontal structure such as supply chain and global brands that cut across the traditional silos of geography and function.  Several also have ‘digital’ representation, virtually unheard of a few years ago.

Kevan Hall, CEO of Global Integration comments:  “Digital has become the new ‘International’.  In the 70’s and 80’s organisations focused on international growth and it was regarded as a separate business function.  Nowadays, 46% of companies have geographic representation at executive management level and the international function has become integrated across the whole business.  Digital representation seems to be following a similar pattern and is a clear indicator of the importance of the digital revolution on business strategy.”

– ends –

Notes to editors

Information about the analysis:http://www.global-integration.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/1310-Stop-whining-supplement.pdf.

About Global Integration

Global Integration (www.global-integration.com) offers ideas, consulting and training in matrix management, virtual teams and global working. It was founded in 1994, and today boasts a team of consultants who offer training around the globe to companies as diverse as PepsiCo, Abbott, Morgan Stanley and Samsung.    To find out more about their work in this field, visit the Global Integration matrix management page.  Twitter: @globalinteg.

Media enquiries:

Kimberley Gray – Gray Matter PR
Tel: +44 (0)118 969 4904/ +44 (0)7884 405835
Email: kim@graymatterpr.co.uk

Claire Thompson – Global Integration
Tel: +44 (0)118 932 8912
Email: claire@global-integration.com

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