Matrix Monday: Leadership and trust facilitating cross-functional team success

Continuing our Matrix Monday series summarising some of the limited literature available on the matrix, today we look at Leadership and trust facilitating cross-functional team success: by Sheila Simsarian Webber (The Journal of Management Development, 2002)

literature on matrix management, matrix structuresThis is paper examines the challenges faced by cross-functional teams (CFTs) which normally come together for a limited period of time, and looks at why a team climate of trust is an essential requirement to meet challenges successfully.

The author argues that CFTs have a great potential for success if the team’s internal environment is based on trust, but that organizational intervention must normally take place for this to be achieved. She outlines the several challenges that CFTs can face with regard to developing trust, broadly speaking: functional diversity, time allocation diversity, multiple reporting relationship. The implications of these for team trust are also discussed.

First defining what a team climate for trust comprises of, the author goes on to describe the importance of trust in teams and how leadership can promote the development of an internal climate for trust. This process, it is stated, should begin even prior to the formation of the team (for example, through careful selection of the team leaders in addition to team members), as well as during its formation (for example, through the development of positive relationships between team/project leaders, and effective conflict management).

To summarise, Webber says that organizations need to recognise that CFTs will not achieve full performance potential without these necessary interventions.

Further summaries on material relating to the matrix can be found by following Matrix Monday on this blog. Summaries are being shared each Monday on Twitter using the hashtag #matrixmonday. And you may want to become part of the conversation on the matrix on LinkedIn: Matrix Management.

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