vertical structure provides traditional control within functional departments, and the horizontal structure provides coordination across departments. The U.S. operation of Starbucks, for example, uses geographic divisions for Western/Pacific, Northwest/Mountain, Southeast/Plains, and Northeast/Atlantic. Functional departments including finance, marketing, and so forth are centralized and operate as their own vertical units, as well as supporting the horizontal divisions. The matrix structure therefore supports a formal chain of command for both functional (vertical) and divisional (horizontal) relationships. As a result of this dual structure, some employees actually report to two supervisors simultaneously.
Exhibit 10.6 Dual-Authority Structure in a Matrix Organization How It Works The dual lines of authority make the matrix unique. To see how the matrix works, consider the global matrix structure illustrated in Exhibit 10.7 . The two lines of authority are geographic and product. The geographic boss in Germany coordinates all subsidiaries in Germany, and the plastics products boss coordinates the manufacturing and sale of plastics products around the world. Managers of local subsidiary companies in Germany would report to two superiors, both the country boss and the product boss. The dual authority structure violates the unity-of-command concept described earlier in this chapter, but that is necessary to give equal emphasis to both functional and divisional lines of authority. Dual lines of authority can be confusing, but after managers learn to use this structure, the matrix provides excellent coordination simultaneously for each geographic region and each product line. Exhibit 10.7 Global Matrix Structure
The success of the matrix structure depends on the abilities of people in key matrix roles. Two-boss employees , those who report to two supervisors simultaneously, must resolve conflicting demands from the matrix bosses. They must work with senior managers to reach joint decisions. They need excellent human relations skills with which to confront managers and resolve conflicts. The matrix boss is the product or functional boss, who is responsible for one side of the matrix. The top leader is responsible for the entire matrix. The top leader oversees both the product and functional chains of command. His or her responsibility is to maintain a power balance between the two sides of the matrix. If disputes arise between them, the problem will be kicked upstairs to the top leader. Matrix Advantages and Disadvantages The matrix can be highly effective in a complex, rapidly changing environment in which the organization needs to be flexible, innovative, and adaptable. The conflict and frequent meetings generated by the matrix allow new issues to be raised and resolved. The matrix structure makes efficient use of human resources because specialists can be transferred from one division to another. A major problem with the matrix is the confusion and frustration caused by the dual chain of command.
- Spring '09
- The Ambassadors, supervisor.