How to get the Matrix Organization to Work

Keywords: Matrix organization, matrix structure, contingency theory, organization design, junctions

Abstract

Many organizations, both public and private, are changing their structure to a complex matrix in order to meet the growing complexity in the world in which they operate. Often, those organizations struggle to obtain the benefits of a matrix organization. In this article, we discuss how to get a matrix to work, taking a multi-contingency perspective. We translate the matrix concept for designers and managers who are considering a matrix organization and argue that three factors are critical for its success: (1) Strong purpose: Only choose the matrix structure if there are strong reasons for doing so, (2) Alignment among contingencies: A matrix can only be successful if key contingencies are aligned with the matrix’s purpose, and (3) Management of junctions: The success of a matrix depends on how well activities at the junctions of the matrix are managed.

Author Biographies

Richard M. Burton, Duke University
Professor Emeritus
Børge Obel, ICOA, Aarhus University
Professor
Dorthe Døjbak Håkonsson, ICOA, Aarhus University
Professor

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Published
2015-12-21
How to Cite
Burton, R., Obel, B., & Håkonsson, D. (2015). How to get the Matrix Organization to Work. Journal of Organization Design, 4(3), 37-45. https://doi.org/10.7146/jod.22549
Section
Translational Article