Managing a Global Matrix Organization Structure


The world is your oyster & with every passing day, this statement is turning into one written in stone. A direct outcome of this change is the incredible alteration that the business world has witnessed. Today, irrespective of where you belong, there is no dearth of opportunities or limit to what you can achieve.

As leaders, this modification in the business landscape has translated into immense growth. A company can now be truly global. It can function as one unit with the same objectives, goals, and outcomes. To enable this, all of us have had to adapt. Business has reevaluated and restructured themselves to achieve efficiency and productivity. Traditional management hierarchies have made way for more sophisticated and complex systems that empower fast growing multinationals to stay on par with their global counterparts.

Adapting to growth

One such solution is the Global Matrix Structure. While binding the company under a single shared vision, Matrix structures aids in enhancing productivity and delivering quicker solutions. Broad objectives and concrete agenda with clearly defined operational metrics are the cornerstones of implementing this structure successfully. With the aid of technology, transparent and real-time communication ensures seamless application and consistent results.

Critical Considerations – While implementing a Matrix Structure, a substantial effort should be devoted towards the continuous reinforcement of the company’s vision, objectives, project plans, and agendas. Effective communication on these essential elements is necessary to stay on track to be on the same page with diversified teams. Resources should be invested in building relationships throughout the company. Crafting a work culture around the company’s vision and values, and driving unity matter more than ever as numbers grow.

Challenges are many

For employees, coordinating across reporting lines to accomplish their goals and meeting their targets can get complicated. In a Global Matrix Structure, the organization’s growth directly translates to higher complexity for the employees. Reporting to multiple managers while ensuring productivity can become a challenge. To successfully implement and sustain this structure, certain precautions are necessary. Miscommunication in such a setting can have immense ramifications. As mentioned earlier, communication is key to not only to ensure same vision and goals but also to develop trust across the whole matrix.

Our workforce can be described by a single term – global, but it does not mean standardized. In a global setting, it is even more important to be mindful of unique cultures. The interaction of cultures, workstyles, and mindsets, leads to an exchange of ideas and learning. Adapting to local culture is the only way to be successful on a global scale. However, standardization is not your enemy either.

Critical Considerations – Standardize internal SOPs, processes, and policies as a certain amount of standardization helps everyone work better together without ambiguity. A fatal blow to any Matrix Structure is inconsistency amongst employees and managers about organizational goals. In organizations of enormous length and breadth, no effort to reinforce collective goals will go to waste. Connect and bind collective goals to individual growth as it is easy to lose sight of collective goals when individuals try to adapt to new teams and projects.

Methods to succeed / How does one succeed?

To ensure the continued success of a Global Matrix Structure, it is crucial to focus on employee needs. Considering that your workforce functions across the globe while reporting to more than one manager, invest in creating assurance amongst them by providing them with clarity. Matters that hold high importance in an employee’s life are performance evaluation, professional development, coaching, accountability and conflict management. At every step, ensure clarity on every single aspect that directly affects an employee’s professional life.

Critical Considerations – Use the strengths of a Matrix structure to ensure that knowledge exchange, training modules, and skills get transferred on a global level. Employees value organizations that make an effort to contribute to their growth. Provide clarity regarding professional growth by making it easier for employees to discuss these matters with a senior in close proximity. Reduce the hoops and hurdles, to ensure that your employees at no point of time feel confused about their point of contacts and managers.

Put a mechanism in place to broker discussions in case of conflicting priorities. Appoint and communicate a decision maker and leader for every project to avoid power struggles in the team. Finally, drive interdependencies for progress amongst team members. Some genuine collective/collaborative effort can bridge all gaps ensuring success for everyone.