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
Date Written: 2006
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: Suggested Citation