Beyond the matrix organization….learn to swing .The flaws of the matrix-organization design and explore several more effective approaches to implement no more than one or two essential corporate thrusts at a time.
Stop worrying about permanent structures; concentrate on temporary systems to achieve a limited agenda.
The new approach to organizing recognizes the same array of competing demands that has led some to matrix, but it refuses to pursue optimization beyond the limits of the achievable. It escapes the trap of complexity by cutting down top management’s agenda to the implementation of one or two essential thrusts. Temporary structural, procedural, or other energy-channeling devices are employed to muster resources and enhance important capabilities in whatever way proves empirically most effective.
The emerging approach to organization can, at the risk of some oversimplification, be formulated in four practical principles: (1) manage the routine, not the exceptions; (2) learn to circumvent the snares of systems management; (3) be aware of the limits imposed by the organization’s past; and (4) never stop reorganizing.
The most successful companies,” notes Economist editor Norman McRae, “have been those restless enough to be unsure what their management styles should be. Successful big US corporations today will often centralize their policy making, and get a significant initial gain in effectiveness; but then, as time passes, will find that this does not work because the central planners do not know what is really going on out in the field. So these corporations will then decentralize, and get a significant initial gain in effectiveness. This constant reorganization is in fact very sensible, and is a main reason why I judge that big American corporations are still the most efficient day-to-day business operators in the world