Matrix Monday: Making Matrix Structures Work

As part of our ongoing series of reviews on the limited literature available on the matrix, we’re kicking off this working week with a brief summary of Making Matrix Structures Work: Creating Clarity on Unit Roles and Responsibility by Michael Goold (Ashridge Strategic Management Centre) and Andrew Campbell (Ashridge Strategic Management Centre). (European Management Journal, Vol. 21, No. 3, June 2003)

literature on matrix management, matrix structuresThe matrix structure may appear to be a logical organizational solution, yet a lack of clarity on roles can often mean that managers find it confusing and inefficient. This article examines the issue, and argues that a key requirement in matrix structures is to have defined roles and responsibilities.

The authors state that if managers are unclear about their respective responsibilities, there will be conflict about who should take the lead on activities and confusion around decision-making. Case studies of where such situations have arisen are given. They proceed to outline what needs to be specified to managers regarding their broad responsibilities, relationships and accountabilities in order that roles are explicitly defined.

The article also tackles the idea that managers lack a widely accepted language for distinguishing between different unit roles. The authors have devised a taxonomy, or new language, of eight ‘unit types’ in which to aid this process. They call this the ‘roles language’ and contend that it has great value in allowing clearer specifications of how organization designs are intended to work.

You can read the full article here (pdf). We’d love to hear your opinions of the article (summarised here as part of our Matrix Monday series).

If this interests you, you might also enjoy participating in our Matrix Management Group on LinkedIn, and our team of expert consultants is always on hand to discuss your needs.

 

 

Matrix Monday: Making Matrix Structures Work

Explore our training programs to see how we can help.

Virtual Teams Training Matrix Management Training Agile & Digital Training

Educate yourself further with a few more or our online insights:

25 years of experience learning with a range of world class clients

We work with a wide range of clients from global multinationals to recent start-ups. Our audiences span all levels, from CEOs to operational teams around the world.  Our tools and programs have been developed for diverse and demanding audiences.

View more of our clients
Two woman talking with a cup of coffee

Tailored training or off the shelf modules for your people development needs

We are deep content experts in remote & virtual teams, matrix management and agile & digital leadership. We are highly flexible in how we deliver our content and ideas. We can tailor content closely to your specific needs or deliver off the shelf bite sized modules based on our existing IP and 25 years of training experience.

For more about how we deliver our keynotes, workshops, live web seminars and online learning.

Discover our training solutions