Designing Companies and Organizations

Axel J. Papendieck

- How Systemtheory Can be Utilized to Shape Coporations -

Part 4: Matrix Organization



- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 5
- Productivity
- History
- About


An apparently ideal organization for finding an optimal solutions to the internal manufacturing problems and the customer requirements seems to be the matrix organization for many corporations or institutions.

Figure 2


In a matrix organization the production division and the customer oriented sales decide jointly on all important issues concerning manufacturing dates (amount, quality, delivery, cost and prices). This system has been implemented worldwide many times - and has been abandoned just about same times. The problem of this procedure are the "joint decisions". The complexity of this decision process, the adjusting, is generally underestimated. What looks as an ideal solution at first sight turns out to be a lengthy and tedious slow process.

Subsequently the decisions tend to be far from clear and are late in many times. - In general matrix organizations reveal many times personal problems in company structures and the processes of decision making.
Nevertheless over time again and again companies believe the theoretical advantages of jointly approved decisions of the matrix system is the best organizational solution as many examples (new window) depict. - In hindsight this was the unsuccessfull idea already Frederick Taylor pursued in the 19th century by introducing the functional foremen.