Matrix Management: Contradictions and Insights

by Erik Larson, David Gobeli



Does matrix management stifle or foster the development of new products? The arguments in favor of and against matrix consist primarily of anecdotal success or failure stories. The issue is further obscured by the failure to recognize that there are different types of matrix. Data on the usage and effectiveness of three matrix structures (functional, balanced, and project matrixes) were collected from 500 managers experienced in product development. The results indicate that matrix is still the dominant approach for completing development projects. However, while all three types of matrix have comparable usage rates, the project matrix is considered the most effective. Companies using matrix management should consider project matrix if they are trying to improve performance.

California Management Review

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