Matrix Management

Matrix Monday: Matrix management case studies

This week in our Matrix Monday series, rather than refer to a specific article on matrix management, we are taking a look at a useful resource, Harvard Business Publishing has a bank of case studies on matrix organization.

Much of our own  work with clients is confidential and covered by non-disclosure agreements so we can’t offer them as case studies, although some companies have generously allowed us to do so (Global Integration matrix management case studies).

The ‘case study methodology’ also has limitations: it spends time analyzing what someone else did, when every organization has its own culture, history and special situations. Transferring learning directly from one to another is a challenge, assuming that the lesson learned is the right one in the first place.

But given that proviso, there are often common themes which make it interesting to read case studies on what other organizations have learnt if you are planning a matrix organization implementation, or want to improve your matrix management.

Some of the case studies in the Harvard bank (which may require payment) worth a read include:

ABB –  three articles on the complexity of setting and reconciling performance targets in a global, matrix company; on internal allocation conflicts; and on the structure imposing ritical constraints.

Acer America – on leading a global product roll out.

Becton Dickinson – on the role of  information technology (IT) in a difficult business context.

Eli Lilly – two articles, one on key strategic challenges and the other evaluating the appropriateness of a focused matrix organization with cross functional teams.

Novartis Pharma– on its huge reorganization.

Pinnacle Mutual Life Insurance Co. – includes a description of the processes used to create profit centers when the company adopted GAAP accounting, and some of the implementation problems that were encountered.

Procter & Gamble – examines the different organizational designs, trade-offs associated with each organizational architecture and the accompanying implementation problems of the myriad organizational designs used by Procter & Gamble from the 1920s onward.

Philips – also takes a look at structures implemented by the company over the years.

As an aside, the library also contains a couple of classic articles on matrix management and matrix organizations:

Matrix Management: Not a Structure, a Frame of Mind – on moving corporate thinking away from structure and into mindset and goals.

Problems of Matrix Organizations – nine matrix vulnerabilities, preventions and cures.

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