Matrix approach to Organization

The matrix approach to organization concentrates on three crucial variables:

(1) The intrinsic properties of the task along a continuum from repetitive to unique,

(2) The personality (norms and aspirations) and the competence (expertise) of the personnel within a unit, and

(3) The institutional and / or historical circumstances associated with the unit.

This approach identifies subsystems of a complex organization, each with its appropriate strategy of planning, control, rewards and boundary negotiations. These subsystems are viewed along a continuum from dependence on hierarchical concepts to autonomous units or projects.

Based upon five observable characteristics of an organization – group structure, group roles, group processes, group style, and group norms – one recommendation of organizational design strategies provides the following guidelines:

(1) A routine situation that deals with a task requiring similar or repetitive solutions, calling for Taylor’s functional specialists in the design;

(2) The engineering situation that deals with non-repetitive solutions by personnel who are professionally educated calling for professional staffs in the structure to advise line managers;

(3) The craft situation that deals with uniquely different but repetitively processed outputs, calling for a flexible and person-oriented structure;

(4) The heuristic situation that deals with unique and non repetitive tasks with output ill defined, calling for a flexible and group design with considerable participation.

Project organization is one that can be tailored to a particular mission or project, to coordinate actions toward the completion of the project while the advantages of functional specialists. Whereas the classical approach is built around authority centers and the participative approach is built around people, project organization is designed to meet the demands of a particular job. A functional specialist can be lent for a particular project and answer to the project and answer to the project manager as in a line organization. When the project is finished however, the specialist returns to the functional department, thus retaining relationships with others in the specialty.

Project organization has been adopted to fit a number of widely differing situations, from building contractors and advertising agencies to accounting and consulting firms. Its suitability to modern complex projects makes it particularly valuable in meeting modern needs while retaining the stability of functional specialist. The structure accommodates the formal ideas of classical thinking, together with the team and participative ideas.

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