Role definitions

An excellent report on when the matrix will and will not work was made by

Wintermantel18:

• Situational factors conducive to successful matrix applications:

• Similar products produced in common plants but serving quite different markets.

17. S. K. Grinnell and H. P. Apple, "When Two Bosses Are Better Than One," Machine Design, January 1975, pp. 84-87.

18. Richard E. Wintermantel, "Application of the Matrix Organization Mode in Industry," Proceedings of the Tenth Project Management Institute Seminar Symposium, 1979, pp. 493-497. Original data source is General Electric Organization Planning Bulletin, No. 6, November 3, 1976.

• Different products produced in different plants but serving the same market or customer and utilizing a common distribution channel.

• Short-cycle contract businesses where each contract is specifically defined and essentially unrelated to other contracts.

• Complex, rapidly changing business environment which required close multifunctional integration of expertise in response to change.

• Intensive customer focus businesses where customer responsiveness and solution of customer problems is considered critical (and where the assigned matrix manager represents a focal point within the component for the customer).

• A large number of products/projects/programs which are scattered over many points on the maturity curve and where limited resources must be selectively allocated to provide maximum leverage.

• Strong requirement for getting into and out of businesses on a timely and low cost basis. May involve fast buildup and short lead times. Frequent situations where you may want to test entrance into a business arena without massive commitment of resources and with ease of exit assured.

• High technology businesses where scarce state-of-the-art technical talent must be spread over many projects in the proposal/advanced design stage, but where less experienced or highly talented personnel are adequate for detailed design and follow-on work.

• Situations where products are unique and discrete but where technology, facilities, or processes have high commonality, are interchangeable, or are interdependent.

• Situational factors tending toward nonviable matrix applications:

• Single product line or similar products produced in common plants and serving the same market.

• Multiple products produced in several dedicated plants serving different customers and/or utilizing different distribution channels.

• Stable business environment where changes tend to be glacial and relatively predictable.

• Long, high volume runs of a limited number of products utilizing mature technology and processes.

• Little commonality or interdependence in facilities, technology, or processes.

• Situations where only one profit center can be defined and/or small businesses where critical mass considerations are unimportant.

• Businesses following a harvest strategy wherein market share is being consciously relinquished in order to maintain high prices and generate maximum positive cash flow.

• Businesses following a heavy cost take-out strategy where achieving minimum costs is critical.

• Businesses where there is unusual need for rapid decisions, frequently on a sole-source basis, and wherein time is not usually available for integration, negotiation and exploration of a range of action alternatives.

• Heavy geographic dispersion wherein time/distance factors make close interpersonal integration on a face-to-face recurrent basis quite difficult.

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