Matrix management was introduced in the 1970s in the context of competition from Japanese manufacturers, computerization of many technical and administrative tasks, and a recognition among business leaders that cross-functional teams (comprised of people from different departments and specialties) were necessary to create and produce complex products rapidly. Ideally, this approach, in which people are assigned to projects, rather than department managers, encourages collaboration, flexibility, and knowledge sharing, but in reality, it can often cause confusion, friction, and excessive bureaucracy. It fell out of fashion in the 1990s, but has resurfaced in a much wider array of companies today, as the pressure to innovate on ever-faster schedules encourages experimentation in organizational design.
Marvin Gottlieb, who has studied and applied the principles of matrix management for over 25 years, takes us on a tour of this phenomenon--its evolution, current practices, and future applications. He argues that most organizations are taking on characteristics of matrix structure, with fluid teams and dotted-line reporting relationships across departments and divisions. Featuring case studies of successes and failures, he shows readers how to harness the power of the matrix structure while minimizing the conflict, disorientation, and resistance that often accompany the approach. In an environment where every company--large or small, entrepreneurial or established--is wrestling with the question of how to organize for maximum performance in a harshly competitive world, this book will give leaders and managers valuable insights and tools for promoting cultures that reward creativity and teamwork while maintaining strong leadership and accountability.
About the Author:
Marvin R. Gottlieb is President of The Communication Project, Inc., a management consulting and training firm through which he provides executive coaching and career development to senior managers in a wide variety of organizations. Previously, he held the position of Associate Professor of Communications at Lehman College-CUNY, where he taught courses in organizational communication and group dynamics. A popular speaker at industry conferences, he is the author of several books, including Managing the Workplace Survivors (Quorum, 1995), Getting Things Done in Today's Organization (Quorum, 1999), and Managing Group Process (Praeger, 2003).