The hybridization of the mixed form leads to flexibility. It enables the firm to meet special problems by appropriate adaptation of its organizational structure. There are, however, distinct dangers involved in hybridization. Dissimilar groupings within the same accountability center tend to encourage overlap, duplication, and friction because of incompatibility of interests.
Figure 4-5 illustrates another common solution to the problem of project organizational form. The firm sets up what appears to be a standard form of functional organization, but it adds a staff office to administer all projects. This frees the functional groups of administrative problems while it uses their technical talents, in a large specialty chemical firm, this organizational form worked so well that the staff office became the nucleus of a full-scale division of the firm. The division's sole purpose is to administer projects.
In many ways this organizational form is not distinguishable from matrix management, but it is typically used for small, short-run projects where the formation of a full-fledged matrix system is not justified. This mixed form shares several advantages and disadvantages of the matrix structure, but the project life is usually so short that the disease of projectitis is rarely contracted. If the number or size of the projects being staffed in this way grows, a shift to a formal matrix organization naturally evolves.
Though the ways of interfacing project and parent organization are many and varied, most firms adopt the matrix form as the basic method of housing projects. To this base, occasional pure, functional, and hybrid projects are added if these possess special advantages in special cases. The managerial difficulties posed by matrix projects are more than offset by their relatively low cost and by their ability to get access to broad technical support. (Dinsmore recommends "flat, flexible structures," that are, as far as we can tell, not distinguishable from matrix structures in any significant way. He strongly emphasizes "lean and mean" for projects as well as a corporate way of life 116].)
Was this article helpful?
What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.