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Edward Zajac

Research Findings

Collaborative by design? How matrix organizations see/do alliances

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June 3, 2019

Matrix companies such as Procter & Gamble, Eli Lilly, General Electric, or PepsiCo are more likely to enter into complex alliances with other companies, because their structure and experience working in a matrix give managers more confidence to collaborate in challenging situations.

Our research shows, however, that the stock market often penalizes these companies for such collaborations because companies take on “double complexity”; that is managing complexity both within the organization and in its alliances.

The matrix organizational structure is designed with multiple links across the company’s customer, functional, geographic, and product groups. You work in a matrix organization if you have more than one boss; for example, you report to both a regional leader and a product leader. Account manager positions and cross-functional teams are typical elements of the matrix design.

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