Managing Chaos in a Matrix World

Atkinson, Philip
November 2003
Management Services;Nov2003, Vol. 47 Issue 11, p8
Academic Journal
In the article, the author uses the output from one of his training workshops to illustrate the purpose, the benefits, the design and the key issues that need to be explored to create a matrix organization that works. The author suggests that people need to look at the matrix differently--not as a structure but as a process that operates as a self-renewing feedback mechanism, constantly redesigning and regenerating itself. A matrix organization is based on the concept that horizontal relationships across the organization are just as important as the traditional reporting relationship within a typical functional organization. The matrix structure is seen as an intricate latticework where people and roles are interwoven in delivering service within functions and to projects and processes laterally across the business. The reality of many organizational structures is that they should be designed around the strategy of the business. Form follows direction. The goals that an organization pursues determine the structure to deliver the results. Organizational structures should evolve over time and if the organization has a handle on its environment and can predict the major pressures they will encounter, they will find that structural change is seen as natural and welcomed by organizational members because they see the approach as prolonging and ensuring the continuation of the organization into the future.


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