5. Matrix management violates the management principle of unity of command. Project workers have at least two bosses, their functional heads and the PM. There is no way around the split loyalties and confusion that result. Anyone who has worked under such an arrangement understands the difficulties. Those who have not done so cannot appreciate the discomforts it causes. To paraphrase Plato's comment on democracy, matrix management “is a charming form of management, full of variety and disorder.” Modern matrix management today strives to achieve many more goals than when it was adopted decades ago. For example, IBM is organized as a multi-dimensional matrix (Grant, 2008). There is a “business” organization (structured around hardware, software, a nd services), a “geographical” orientation (regions/countries), a “functional” home, “customer” groupings, “distribution channel” specialties, and “new business development” thrusts. If the old form of matrix management was confusing, the new form can be overwhelming. But modern organizations find that they have many more goals to achieve and must be multi-dexterous, achieving a more complex organizational integration but without hampering their flexibility, responsiveness, and performance. The solution many organizations have come up with has been to be more formal and controlling for the operational activities such as business and distribution channel goals (more centralized) while more informal (dotted-line relationships) for the functional, geographic, and customer activities, and even less formal, even voluntary or self- organizing, for knowledge management activities such as new business development. Virtual Projects Virtual projects are those in which work on the project team crosses time, space, organizational, or cultural boundaries. Thus, a virtual team may work in different time zones, be geographically dispersed, work in different organizations, or work in different cultures. In all cases, the rise of virtual projects has been facilitated by the use of the Internet and other communication technologies. In many of these cases, the project team is often organized in some matrix-type of structure rather than a functional or standalone project form. Kalu (1993, p. 175) further defines virtual positions as “task processes, the performance of which requires composite membership” in both project and functional organizations. When complex organizations conduct projects, virtual positions are typical because projects usually require input from several functional departments. This creates overlapping and shared responsibility for the work with functional and project managers sharing responsibility for execution of the project. The reading “The Virtual Project: Managing Tomorrow's Team Today” at the end of this chapter more narrowly specifies that virtual projects exist when project team members are geographically dispersed and gives some suggestions for successfully running such projects.
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- Fall '14