Unitary, Divisional, and Matrix Forms as Political Governance Systems

Journal of Management and Governance. 10(4):435-454.

Posted: 2 Aug 2005 Last revised: 20 Jan 2015

See all articles by Andrew B. Whitford

Andrew B. Whitford

University of Georgia - Department of Public Administration and Policy

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

In this paper I describe the effects on authority when organizations shift from product-line to matrix structures. My method of analysis is based on how political scientists study agendas in committees. I first recount that moving from a functional to a product-line structure increases the types of conflict referred from lower to higher levels of the hierarchy, but does not increase the amount of conflict referred. I then show that moving from a product-line to a matrix structure increases the amount and the types of conflict referred to higher levels of the hierarchy; that it is possible in matrix forms that no conflict is resolved at the lowest levels of the hierarchy; and, that accountability is reduced for who are able to refer conflict. One implication is that organizational leaders who use matrix forms strategically alter information flows. It also suggests that matrix structures reduced those benefits originally perceived in the shift from functional to product-line structures. This analysis fits with the recent history of matrix forms in a variety of organizations.

Keywords: Agenda-setting, authority, conflict resolution, hierarchy, matrix

JEL Classification: D23, L22, L23

Suggested Citation

Whitford, Andrew B., Unitary, Divisional, and Matrix Forms as Political Governance Systems (2006). Journal of Management and Governance. 10(4):435-454., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=764368 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.764368

Andrew B. Whitford (Contact Author)

University of Georgia - Department of Public Administration and Policy ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States
706-542-2898 (Phone)
706-583-0610 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://andrewwhitford.com

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
2,054
PlumX Metrics