Designing Matrix Organizations That Actually Work

How IBM, Procter & Gamble, and Others Design for Success

Jay R. Galbraith

Publisher: Wiley, 2009, 258 pages

ISBN: 978-0-470-31631-3

Keywords: Change Management, Organizational Development

Last modified: May 19, 2010, 2:03 p.m.

Organization structures do not fail, says Jay Galbraith, but management fails at implementing them correctly. This is why, he explains, the idea that the matrix does not work still exists today, even among people who should know better. But the matrix has become a necessary form of organization in today's business environment. Companies now know that if they have multiple product lines, do business in multiple countries, and serve many customer segments through a variety of channels, there is no way they can avoid some kind of a matrix structure — and the question most are asking is 'How do we learn how to operate the matrix effectively?' In Designing Matrix Organizations That Actually Work, Galbraith answers this and other questions as he shows how to make a matrix work effectively.

Drawing on his forty years of experience in studying and consulting with matrix organizations, Galbraith first defines what they are, tells why they are chosen, and explains why there have been failures. He provides for a complete design of the matrix organization using his Star Model, a tested framework that aligns changes in structure, processes, rewards, and people practices. The Star Model consists of policies that leaders can control and that can affect employee behavior. It shows that managers can influence performance and culture — but only by acting through the design policies that affect behavior. In order to make a matrix work, the author reveals, good relations between departments are needed, planning processes are necessary to get aligned goals, the aligned goals must go into the reward system, and people who are matrix savvy must be selected and developed. Using examples from IBM, Nokia, Procter & Gamble, and other successful corporations, he clearly illustrates the planning processes, reward systems, and human resources practices of successful implementers of the matrix.

    • Introduction: Matrix Organizations: What Are They?
      • Where Did They Come From?
        • What Is a Matrix?
        • What Are the Origins of the Matrix?
        • What Happened?
        • The Star Model
      • Implications of the Star Model
  • Part One: Simple Matrix Orqanizations
    1. Simple Matrix Structures
      • Two-Dimensional Structures
      • Pharmaceutical R&D Lab Example
      • Summary
    2. The Two-Hat Model
      • What Is the Two-Hat Model?
      • Examples of Two-Hat Structures
      • Summary
    3. The Baton Pass Model
      • The Consumer Goods Model
      • The Pharmaceutical Model
      • Summary
    4. The Matrix Within a Matrix
      • Design Challenges of the Matrix Within a Matrix
      • Matrix Within a Matrix at the Corporate Level
      • Mars Pet Food Example
      • Summary
    5. Balancing Power and Defining Roles
      • Designing Power Bases
      • Roles and Responsibilities
      • Summary
  • Part Two: Complex Matrix Structures
    1. The Three-Dimensional Matrix
      • International Strategy
      • The Geography-Dominant Matrix
      • The Balanced Matrix
      • The Business-Dominant Matrix
      • Differentiated Structures
      • Other Three-Dimensional Models
      • Summary
    2. More Complex Matrix Structures
      • Global Account Teams
      • The Front-Back Hybrid Model
      • Summary
    3. The IBM Structure
      • The IBM Front-Back Hybrid
      • More Complexity?
      • Summary
  • Part Three: Completinq the Star Model
    1. Communication in the Matrix
      • Informal Communication
      • Formal Communication
      • Summary
    2. Planning and Coordination Processes
      • Goal Alignment, Dispute Resolution, and Coordination Mechanisms
      • Summary
    3. Planning Processes in the Complex Matrix
      • What About Complex Matrix Designs?
      • Get the System in a Room
      • Online Processes
      • Summary
    4. Human Resources Policies
      • Human Capital
      • Social Capital
      • Summary
    5. Leadership in a Matrix Organization
      • Seeing That Conflicts Are Resolved
      • Managing the Top Team
      • Balancing Power
      • Summary
    6. Implementing a Matrix
      • Using the Star Model
      • Building Capabilities
      • Summary
    7. A Synopsis of Matrix Capabilities
    • Epilogue: Personal Stories: The Uses and Abuses of the Matrix
      • Early Phase: "What Is a Matrix, Anyway?"
      • Matrix Takes Off and Becomes Tredny
      • The Phase of Decline
      • The Stealth Matrix Phase
      • Today: Matrix Out of the Closet


Designing Matrix Organizations That Actually Work

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Mediocre **** (4 out of 10)

Last modified: May 19, 2010, 2:06 p.m.

This has to be one of the most profound defenses of the matrix organization I have ever read. The author is a extremely well-regarded OD academic and author, and still, he has a markedly defensive tone, and rushes over some issues that would have deserved a better treatment/defense. It is well written, but even the author can't make a very convincing case that the matrix organization is the be-all (and he doesn't even try, to his credit) and some of the cases that he describes as "matrix", you're hard-pressed to even detect the difference to a multi-divisional company with a HQ…

It deserves to be read, but that is the best that can be said about it.


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