Matrix Management

New matrix management white paper

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new, research led white paper on the challenges of matrix management. This is based on an in-depth summary of academic and consulting research in the field together with our own experience of 23 years working with many of the world’s leading organizations.

You can download free copies of the white paper here.

The white papers identify the latest thinking on classic and new challenges in making the matrix work, together with early findings on how the move to digital is supercharging changes in more connected ways of working and challenging legacy corporate cultures.

The matrix, or globally integrated organization, has now been established as the preferred way of working for the vast majority of the world’s leading organizations. 84% of the 4,000 US employees surveyed by Gallup in 2015 reported being at least slightly matrixed.

The matrix is so prolific because it makes tremendous strategic sense. So far, there is no other tried and tested organizational design that reflects the internal and external complexities of a large organization. But common practice doesn’t yet mean best practice.  Where does it sometimes go so wrong?

There are strategic and everyday challenges to working in a matrix, but few of these are about the structure itself; they are about people and the way we work together.

We need to support the right mindset with the right skill set, otherwise people tend to default back to their traditional way of working when they are under pressure. So what are the best ways of working in a matrix? And what should we focus on in building the capability and confidence of our team?

Almost all traditional HR PowerPoint presentations and management articles we have seen recommend that to make the matrix work we need to aim for:

  • Greater clarity and less conflict
  • More communication; more team work
  • Clearer lines of accountability and control

Makes sense, right?  Unfortunately, we have learned that this traditional advice makes things significantly worse.  These are linear solutions that worked in the past for one-dimensional organizations in a simpler world.  They do not stack up in the complex, multi-dimensional, digital organizations of today.  Think about it; do you really want MORE communication?

Using industry examples and research studies, the Matrix management white paper lays out what to focus on instead:

  • Create clarity where you can and embrace ambiguity
  • Cooperate where you need to; stop doing it where you don’t
  • Balance control with empowerment

We hope you will find it useful and would love to hear any comments or questions.



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