This is a response to a LinkedIn question. Forrest Christian suggested in a comment to another post that I post my responses here as well. Those of you are LinkedIn members can read the whole question and all other answers here .
My answer was:
No matter how a company is organized formally, for stuff to get done people need to communicate and work across boundaries. Researchers have done social network analysis in organizations and have seen that some bosses cannot handle this; they force everything to go through them, so of course they end up being bottlenecks.
My belief is that matrix organizations were “invented” to address the non-cooperation between unit managers. But we still have a lot of turf wars and alpha-male behavior. We also see organizations apparently in endless committee meetings.
My opinion is that matrix organizations were a “quick fix” to a larger and more deep-running problem. If we “solve” those problems we will not need matrix organizations. Managers needs to be selected ,trained and rewarded for abilities to:
- work with talented staff who do not need constant direction
- being able to work in collaboration and yet be held accountable
- that company results are more important than personal position