Notes on Intercultural Communication

Structures of International Companies

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The Matrix Organization





For those companies with teams in a matrix structure, what lessons can they learn about making matrix management work?

1. Define roles and responsibilities up front. In a matrix, as well as with many of today’s teams, there are at least two sets of roles that are important to define: the matrix leader who is reporting to at least two bosses (one is the functional boss – the boss to whom he/she ordinarily reports to, and the other is the matrix boss), and the two bosses themselves. In some cases, the matrix leader may have a “day job” as well as being responsible for leading a matrix team. It is important to make sure that the two bosses agree on their roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis the matrix team, especially around decision-making authority. This is best done through a facilitated discussion and with the use of a RACI (Who is responsible? Who is accountable? Who should be consulted? Who will implement?) chart – a very useful tool for clarifying roles and responsibilities.

2. Agree on performance goals and metrics. This can be done at the beginning of the year, during the objective-setting process, or when the team is first formed, as part of its charter. The matrix team leader should draft a set of objectives and metrics and make sure that this is negotiated with and agreed to by both of his or her bosses.

3. Establish ground rules or operating agreements on resource allocation and communication. Who will be responsible for approving and overseeing the budget for the matrix team – the functional boss to whom the matrix leader reports or the boss of the matrix team? When additional resources are needed (financial or human), who will be responsible? What are the expectations with regard to the matrix leader’s communication with the two bosses, as well as between the two bosses? The two bosses, along with the matrix leader, should work out some agreements in advance to avoid confusion and conflicts later on.

4. Determine how evaluations and rewards are going to be decided. Who will evaluate the performance of the team and the leader, and how will rewards be decided? Again, the two bosses need to agree on a process and create some simple mechanisms. In another organization I worked with, the functional boss was responsible conducting the performance review with the matrix leader, but made sure that he or she sat down and got input from the matrix boss. In another organization, the actual performance review was conducted jointly by the two bosses – via video conference, since one boss was based in Europe.



International Matrix Organization

Source: ppt about international matrix organization


Ethics of Matrix Organization

(…) Usual challenge in matrices is the shared responsibilities and unclear structure. Common and well justified question is: “How the shared responsibilities really work, or does it work at all?”. According to Kosonen the successful matrix organisation is based on trust. Executives responsible for business areas and those running the matrix operations have to work in a culture of a shared trust.

When allocation of resources is commonly accepted by the management, the resources are not owned by any particular business unit. This in turn allows larger and more flexible competence centres, which creates strategic agility for the whole business system. Matrix managers have to always consider business logic of the system. They are obliged to leave both unit and personal level short term wins if they contradict with the entity.

Lack of trust creates silos and in practice eventually blocks flexible allocation of resources. Continuous questioning of motives and undermining colleagues’ achievements are signs of lack of trust. These kind of signs should lead to immediate correcting actions.

Matrix demands an open and transparent organizational culture. People working for the same project should share same incentives despite which part of the organization they belong. The incentives are based on openly communicated targets and guidance metrics.

Matrices fit well for growth businesses as it may be good tool for removing obstacles of growth. Obviously the model itself is not going to change mature business to growth path. When introducing the model in any scale in any organization, the importance of trust can’t be too much underlined.

Source or here.


Visions in Matrix Organization

(…) Mehr Insektenhaftigkeit, bitte. Grundverkehrt ist es, kooperatives Verhalten mit falscher Harmoniesucht zu verwechseln. Schließlich beweist jeder Streit Kooperation – z. B. der Streit um die bestmögliche Kundenbetreuung. Konflikte sind deshalb kein Krisenzeichen, sondern ein Zeichen dafür, dass eine Organisation verschiedenartige Präferenzen hat, die für unterschiedliche Situationen Anpassungsvorteile haben können. Derart den Konflikt als Kooperation wahrzunehmen, ist der erste Schritt zu einer Business-Fairnes, die keine Gebote braucht, sondern aus sich selbst verstärkenden wechselseitigen Verhaltensmustern erwächst. Wir halten fest: In der Matrix müssen Menschen Eigenschaften entwickeln, die sie nicht mit Wölfen, sondern eher mit Insekten vergleichbar machen. Inwiefern das gelingt, hängt nicht zuletzt davon ab, wie kontinuierlich Manager an einer Kultur des kooperativen Konflikts arbeiten. Gemeinsame Visionen und Ziele helfen dabei nicht nur, sondern sind unabdingbar. (…)

© FischerGroupInternational / fgi news 05 – „Matrixorganisation“

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