No Project Management strategy can work effectively independent of the influence of organizational structure. Some companies and project managers have made attempts to seclude themselves by putting up both virtual and physical walls with the aim of locking out the influences of junior associates, but to no avail.
We will write a custom Assessment on Organization Theory and Behavior specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Even with the most stringent of measures being taken to ensure exclusivity, it has been proven impossible to totally to isolate organizational structure from Project Management. This paper will primarily cover the human resource component of the Balanced Matrix Project Management strategy.
To this end, a critical analysis of the organizational theory shall be delved into before a shift is made to identify the key players, the institutional aspects and discourses that play a role in the management of functional projects especially in institutions with two project managers.
The paper shall make attempts to identify and put into use a multi-sited ethnography by not only putting together different enterprises in the various businesses but also taking into consideration the various institutional and cultural settings.
This paper shall in essence lay focus on the ways in which the key players, cultural aspects, and technology coupled with discourses have created new approaches to the role of Project Management as well as relations between various institutional hierarchies in Balanced Matrix organizational structures.
The essay shall make extensive reference to proposition by various scholars in the field. Organizational theories will lay the groundwork for the essay because they put into use the concept of consented negotiations between various company hierarchies as opposed to systems theories which mostly try to use rationality concepts.
Together with the aforementioned methodological structuring, the essay will try to make reference to the discourses associated with project control. Consequently the paper will try to abandon the ideology that hierarchical boundaries are solid lines separating staffs especially at senior levels of administration.
Secondly, the metaphorical representation of borders as virtual wall between two project managers shall also be minimally used.
Leadership is the definite role assigned to each and every manager. The most common and wrong presumption by managers is that since their job title puts them in a position of leadership, the individuals who work under them will automatically be subject to their every word. In actual sense, however, the title ‘manager’ is not necessarily directly linked to leadership.
In order for effectiveness to be achieved in leadership, the person in charge must constantly ensure that his/her influence to the people subordinate to him/her is always positive and intended to achieve the unique goals of the institution. Furthermore, it has been proven that the leadership style adopted can make people in managerial capacities either excellent or terrible leaders, which reflects on the success of the project.
This essay presents an analysis of the Balanced Matrix organizational structure particularly in regards to Project Management while focusing on the conflicts and challenges that come with this kind of managerial style. This report shall draw parallels between various this type of Matrix structure as it is the one that is comes with more challenges compared to other Project leadership styles.
Projects versus operations
A project can be defined as a set of actions that utilize resources with visibly defined start and finish point and produce the end product. All types of organisations are involved in projects of one type or different types at one time.
The number of projects could be large or small as well as the size of each project. Most projects will need to be analysed to determine whether they should proceed or stop and how they should be prioritized among other projects in terms of limited resources. An operation on the hand is a set of actions aimed at modifying the process involved in the fulfilment of a certain company function.
Project Management is defined as the utilization of technical know-how, proficiency and strategies in projects with the aim of satisfying task requirements. Projects can be defined by analyzing them against two definers: How properly defined are the targets, and how well defined are the strategies. The ensuing two by two matrix relates to four kinds of tasks/projects:
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
- Type-1 projects: tasks for which goals and strategies for achieving the tasks are clearly laid down
- Type-2 projects: tasks for which goals are clearly laid down but the strategies for achieving them are not.
- Type-3 projects: tasks for which goals are not clearly laid down but the strategies for achieving them are.
- Type-4 projects: tasks for which neither the goals nor the strategies for achieving them are clearly defined
To improve the organization and efficacy, many institutions tend to adopt multiple-manager Project Management strategies. A popular way for doing this is to have two project managers head a single project. Ideally, the issues look at interactions between the groups of multiple project managers and their organizational environment as being important for effectively managing the projects.
Such issues are related with the need for achievable portfolio management, sometimes in relation with appropriate project selection, establishment of priorities, and allocation of resources.
For effectiveness in extremely competitive businesses, it is imperative that an institution undertaking this approach have the potential to provide both sufficient and relevant guiding principles to reduce any instances of conflict between the heads. In doing so, the enterprise should utilize a rigorous, well defined and formal project-manager selection framework
Task-managers should be differentiated depending on their importance to the institution’s business criteria, the relevance of the size of the project, the timing and the technical workability, the financial viability and so on and so forth.
Along the same line, it is very inappropriate for an organization to recruit more project managers that are necessary for the current project. After the selection process, another challenging task of managers in multiple-manager Project Management environments lies on the assignment of responsibilities to each of the managers.
Effectiveness in the utilization of multiple managers in a single project is dependent upon the number of staffs and duties that a project manager in the setup is in charge of at any given time. In the development of support structures, it is necessary to note that assigning two to three major tasks to an engineering project manager will effectively maximize his/her productivity.
Pertaining to the assignment process, a proper assignment process should comprise steps aimed at the understanding of project priority, development of linkages between the strengths of each of the project managers and project demands, and the categorization of the institutional/personal weaknesses.
Aside from project manager assignment, the distribution of resources also comes along as a challenge to management. A number of studies have come up with tools and approaches for guiding the process of scarce resource allocation, which comprised of integer programming, heuristic methods, queuing theory, etc. However, such approaches were fronted for utilization at a functional level.
In this instance, these referred to the distribution of functional resources over a of projects. Because they were not meant for multi-manager settings, these strategies may not apply to an operational level for multiple-project managers to use in the distribution of resource over a number of projects in his/her team.
The research will be based on both primary and secondary data. As far as primary data is concerned, empirical data will be collected to show the impact of Project Management strategies in a particular institution and how it could effectively be used to serve as a guide for other organisations that would like to make the switch.
Like with any other professional field of study, business researches have to be conducted in such a way that the offer credibility to the practitioner. In such a scientific field, the strength lies in the figures and particularly the numbers obtained from real life scenarios to support collected evidence.
With this knowledge in mind, effort will be made to obtain relevant information to the particular topic in question and this will be accompanied by proper citation.
Secondary data will be extracted from books and journals. The criteria of selection for the literature will be the relevance to the research topic as well as the year of publication. Both public and private libraries as well as online libraries will be visited in order to access the data.
This research will be partly evidence based and partly founded on professional research by professionals in the field. Various articles will be studied in order to provide background information which will essentially give credibility to the final essay. Project Management and associated changes being a critical aspect of business analysis cannot be effectively analysed without obtaining information from real case scenarios.
Successful companies have incorporated various organizational structures into their systems and these will be sampled and the efficacy of this application be evaluated. This will definitely make for some interesting research and in as much most of the information will only be used for reference purposes, it will effectively came round to form the back-born of the paper.
Information from the publications will serve to provide explanation as regards the Balanced Matrix and related organisational structures of the company. This will be very crucial information that will make the research report appeal to both professionals and the general public.
For the latter, it may require that some of the information obtained from the books and other publications be broken down into simple language and at the same time illustrations drawn from the most successful strategies for Project Management while giving particular emphasis to the Balanced Matrix Organizational structure.
Reasons for Selecting the Above Methodology
For any professional topic, chances are that extensive research has been carried out by professionals in the field before. Consequently, in order to establish the backbone of a given research project, it is only necessary that extensive review of literature be carried before identifying seeking first hand information from the field.
The latter, i.e. information collected from the field is also necessary since it helps give professional credibility to the project. Combining results from both sources would serve to foster their symbiotic relationship with one offering background information and the other presenting up-to-date information on the topic.
The outcome expected out of this research process is results that would make professionals and organizations critically evaluate the role of the Balanced Matrix organizational structure aspects and in particular in regards to Project Management, as well as re-evaluate the benefits of the strategy as compared to the demerits.
The research and subsequent paper will show the various loopholes which if sealed can increase the effectiveness of enterprises utilizing the Balanced Matrix approach.
Research process plan
The first step in conducting the research will come in the form of extensive review of literature from various secondary sources. Information on the topic of Balanced Matrix Project Management and its integration with organizational structure will be collected from company records, journals, Magazines, conference proceedings and websites.
The second step in the process is the collection of data directly from the field. This will to a large extent depend on various forms of interviews including one-to-one interviews as well as the use of questionnaires. Some of the people expected to be targeted for this part of the process include economic specialists and administrators from various enterprises, as well as qualified financial analysts.
The above two steps would make it easy to come up with a survey question which will guide us into the third step of the process. In this stage, an analysis of the data obtained shall be carried out and the challenges that are raised regarding the element of the Balanced Matrix Project Management approach shall be picked out and effectively compared with the strategic approaches for dealing with them.
The Objectives of the research were to:
- To analyze the relation between the Balanced Matrix organizational structures and project success.
- To establish how the Balanced-Matrix organizational structure and Project Management influence the strategies adopted by managers in relation to the success of the project.
- What are the distinguishing and uniting factors of Balanced Matrix organizational structure and project success?
- How does the Balanced Matrix organizational structure affect the decisions that senior management staffs make in relation to choice of project strategies?
If there is a direct correlation between a well executed Balanced Matrix organizational structure and successful projects, it is only imperative that the company establishes strategies to help in enhancing the functions of decision making and capitalizing on team cohesiveness in order to attain the desired goals.
There are three fundamental organizational structures under use in project management. Each structure has its own strengths and weaknesses and it is upto individual companies to decide upon which approach to implement. Below is a brief description of the three structures:
This is the most popularly used structure and it is tailored to achieve the best results in small enterprises. This structure works by departmentalizing the different functions of the organization. For instance, an institution may have a human resource department but with sections for dealing with the different staffs. In this type of structure, the project manager’s role is to ensure that the company projects run smoothly.
However, supreme power is vested in the Functional Manager and he is the one who executes all decisions. The primary advantage of this structure is that there is only one general center of power hence conflicts in decision making are avoided.
In this type of structure, all the company tasks are regarded as projects. All the power is vested in the project manager and each and every worker is expected to report to him/her.
The main advantage of this type of structure is that administration is made easier on the part of the project manager as he/she has documented authority over staffs. The main weakness of this strategy is that it is difficult to establish long-term goals because each and every member of the team leaves once the project is completed.
The matrix structure
This is a combination of the two structures listed above. As such all the workers in the project have two bosses-the Project and Functional Manager. The strength of the matrix is determined by where most of the power resides. Below is a list of the categories of the matrix organizational structure:
The Weak Matrix organizational structure
In the weak matrix organizational structure, the Project Managers do not have any real powers over the fate or responsibilities of the workers. They are simply regarded as facilitators of the project and most if not all of the human resource elements of the project are left for either the Functional Managers or senior associates.
The workers in this structure have no regard for the Project Managers as the allocation of duties and responsibilities are solely the prerogative of the Functional Managers
The Strong Matrix organizational structure
The Strong Matrix organizational structure is a complete reversal of the weak matrix organizational structure. Here, the project managers are directly responsible for the work of the junior staffs under them. However, the project managers are not in any way involved in the administrative aspect of human resource.
In this regard, project managers are able to ensure that the project is well carried out without having to necessarily consult the individuals in higher ranks.
The balanced Matrix organizational structure
This type of matrix structure was developed in order to ensure that the two centers of power in multiple-manager projects. This was achieved by clearly outlining the responsibilities of both centers of power. In this regard, both the functional and project manager will have to work cohesively and as a unit hence avoiding the discord that comes about with one individual giving an instruction and the other countering it.
The Fit between the Balanced Matrix organizational structure, goals and other managerial elements
In this section the researcher shall present a discussion of how the Balanced Matrix organizational structure, goals, and contingencies fit into one another. It is of prime importance to realize that such organizations have a tendency to be flat in structure (Linstead et al142).
Successful companies are able to establish effective subsystems and its involvement in a dynamic environment require that it comes up with strategies customized to fit the market that it is involved in. It, however, ought to be considered that even with the hierarchical structure presented in most companies, much of the power still has to be decentralized especially in regions where autonomy is required.
In most successful companies, there is a combination of internal structure, external goals and contingencies which have helped the company build a homogenous organizational environment. The institution’s inherent characteristics replicate in some of the elements constituting the organizational structure and this makes it easier for the organization to achieve the goals it sets out to.
In the wake of advancements in technology, the company has been able to sufficiently operate among informal groups by developing electronic communication forums which give the employee some sense of freedom. Michie and Sheehan’s (135) argument that “increased functional flexibility is significantly positively correlated with all categories of innovation and, in particular, with process innovation”
In general, it can be said that some of the most important aspects of effective Balanced Matrix organizational systems are structural type and formalization. This is in addition to effective centralization which has come to present well for the corporation in terms of bureaucratic structures and other elements of structural design.
Organizational performance generally covers a broad range of dimensions including standard financial and other strategic oriented measures like productivity and effectiveness, which were all combine to support organizational goals. Hofstede et al (132), argue that globalization is secured by achieved local targets.
Being able to effectively entrench the demands of globalization as well as conform to local culture is a complex and challenging task is commendable. However, localization success depends on the leader and how can demonstrates realize and actual targets, as there is no universal goals can be applied generally.
Collectively, all these factors contribute to the development of a perfect fit within various administrative levels at autonomous organizations.
Stakeholders a Balanced Matrix Organizational structure
Most of the successful Balanced Matrix Project Management strategies are developed with the support of different groups of people and parties, including Project Sponsors, Project Managers, Project Teams, End Users and Suppliers.
Within any organizational structure, it is desirable that all departments and their leaders embrace the principles of accountability. This is achieved by ensuring that individuals support the notion of ownership and clearly map out their areas of contribution to the accomplishment of the strategic initiatives set out by the institution.
This is where the aspect of team management comes by allowing managers to work alongside each other in an effort to attain common goals. The founders of enterprises have to regularly admit the importance of team participation in the growth of the company.
Project managers are in charge of arranging, human resource recruitment, budget development, planning and directing the project. Project manager work with project sponsor, project teams, and other people involved to meet the project goals.
Role of project managers
In ensuring that projects are successful, individuals in senior positions of authority should ensure that they assess the reality on the ground and help the junior associates appreciates the urgency of the change.
This is involving all the people who will be affected by change in understanding the current position and the need to change. The management should let their employees understand how the change will affect them. One of the barriers to an effective change is negative perception by employees.
Build the Guiding Team
Depending with the kind of project that is to be implemented, the management should develop a team of change agents. They are the people who should be well informed about the change to occur and use their knowledge to train others on the way forward. They are opinion leaders.
The most effective people for this task are leaders in departments. These individuals develop the steps that need to be taken to ensure effective change happens and lead their associates towards attaining the laid down objectives.
Getting the Vision Right
Regarding this point, the project managers make objectives and timeframes for project completion are set and discuss them with the people who will be affected by the change to occur in the business.
The ideal performance after the project has been implemented should be laid down and presented to all concerned parties. The set objectives should be attainable as it is useless for a company to work towards goals that it doesn’t have the potential nor machinery to achieve.
Communicating the vision
Here, project managers make communications to employees on the development of the project. An effective communication strategy should be prepared so as to be proactive. This is a plan that is set after defining a business success and getting solution from the listening activities.
Things to be included in the plan includes taking employees to seminars that cover topics such as customer care, organizing get together between employers and employees, rewarding employees, holding regular meetings, including major stakeholders in business decisions among others.
All the challenges and barriers to the attainment of the goals are removed by the managers in order to make the process smooth. Employees learn more about new systems and operations.
Creating Short-Term Wins
These are timely evaluations of the system to ensure that it is efficient and can replace the old system. All the positives attained should be well recognized as part of the entire change process. This is important because it helps in raising the morale of the players who get even more committed once they see that there is progress.
This is ensuring that the system is constantly undergoing fine tuning in order to ensure that the progress made is not halted or reverted. This process involves dealing with any deficits recognized as the new system is being undertaken.
Monitoring and evaluation
This entails monitoring and sticking to change. The gains made should be communicated to the entire team and the linkage to the new procedures established with an aim of maintaining desirable character.
Required skills for project managers
Effective project managers involve the induction of a number of principles in the performance of their duties. These are explained below.
Accountability-This is most important aspect of team management and is given primary consideration in every initiative. Generally, employees would like to be given some distinguished level of accountability and most of them will easily embrace responsibility as long as the institution supports the principle of empowerment.
Oversight-Effective team management encourages individuals to work towards the mission and vision of the company without necessary having some commanding authority looking over them. This creates a sense of responsibility and individuals are generally more innovative and creative in conducting their roles. This however demands that very effective communication channels be established.
Leadership-For effective team management, the managers and other organizational heads need to acquire leadership skills. This can be achieved by ensuring that they are subject to regular training. These heads should also be trained to encourage regular discussions with their associates, to determine performance of the organization and how it can be improved. The consistency of these talks should be strictly adhered to.
Performance- Measurement of performance and its management greatly contribute to the improvement of team. Goals set out to be achieved should be framed in such a way that they address a specific issue and they should also be measurable. The managers and other company leaders should come up with score-cards which can be used effectively in the improvement of the effectiveness of the group.
Information- Communication holds the key to the success of effective team management. The aspect of information should be encouraged and all the entities within the company must have unlimited access to information pertaining to their operation. Individuals on a team who are regarded as untrustworthy should essentially be locked out of the team
Managerial skills- The managerial skills of the company heads must be constantly analyzed and taken through review process. This specifically refers to skills involved with mentoring and coaching. If they are found to be below par efforts should be made to ensure that they are well upgraded.
The role of the manager must be redefined depending on the organizational structuring and level of growth of the company. The leadership style that has been established to contribute adequately to team management is the servant leadership approach.
Generally, Institutions that embrace the aspect of team leadership have high success rates in the attainment of their goals. The managers of such organizations are well skilled in the process of encouraging problem solving techniques as a function of the team.
Such managers also tend to ensure that collaborative efforts are implemented across all the micro-teams of the entire company. In such companies, the communication strategies in force e are founded on the basis of mutual understanding and respect.
The role of organizational and national cultures in Balanced Matrix structures
Both organizational and national cultures have strong influences in the development of character for the individuals affected. Generally company cultures are not established by specific standards and are therefore informal while country cultures tend to be more formal.
The cultures are intertwined and many are the times when there individual aspects are seen to conflict. For instance, a country’s culture may not favor risk-taking but an organization within the country may be encouraging and actually rewarding the same. These cultures have to be well understood if they are to be positively inculcated to individuals in the Balanced Matrix structure.
Recent research has revealed that national cultures have a great influence on the shaping of value systems within the citizens. This ends up bringing about shared values and preferences in a way that it is easy to distinguish the individuals of one country from those of another based on their mannerisms and general attitude.
The same also applies in the differentiation of the different sub-groups within a particular nation. In the latter sense, the term national culture can be slightly misleading as it can be referring to the only a section of individuals within the population of a select country.
The process of categorically defining a distinguished organizational culture has clear benefits top on the list being the fact that it establishes common values and encourages employees to conduct themselves in a certain way. Most multi-national companies have printed employee handbooks and publications to guide on corporate ethics. These are used to standardize the conduct of their employees all over the world.
Organizational cultures to a great extent arise from or are influenced by national cultures. However, they are also defined by a number of other factors. For instance, the United States as a whole is generally seen to support a culture of individualism.
However, an analysis of various entities within the country reveals that there is a wide array of organizational cultures some of which may go in tandem with the national individualism culture. Some of these cultures may also arise from other features of the company.
For example, the organizational culture of Microsoft that allows individuals to dress for work however they feel was are reflection of the personality and preferences of Bill Gates, the founder. In some instances, the cultures of the organizations may have been nurtured over extended periods of time resulting in them acquiring some life of their own irrespective of the preference of the heads. This is the case with IBM.
In the book International Dimensions of Organizational Behaviour, the author tries to figure out whether organizational culture has a diminishing effect on national culture.
She comes to the conclusion that the contrary holds more water citing the findings of the research by André Laurent which revealed tat there were significant disparities in cultures among individuals working for the same multi-national organization than there were among individual employed by institutions in their native countries.
This simply means that when working for multi-national organizations, Japanese tend to appear more Japanese, Somalis more Somali, Americans more American and so on and so forth. Though the reasons for the trends are not very clear, it almost appears that associates may be involved in some spirited rejection of the organization’s corporate culture.
Based on the findings above, it is safe to conclude that the national culture generally surpasses organizational culture in terms of individual influences. This therefore means that it is not safe to assume that a very strong corporate culture will overshadow the significance of national culture because when face with a contrast between the two cultural elements, individuals will tend to respond in ways that favor their national culture.
It is therefore the responsibility of the institution to carry out tests on its organizational culture and compare the findings with findings obtained from an analysis of the national cultures present amongst individuals, and establish ways of resolving conflicts between the two. In essence, it is even desirable for a company to establish a way of merging the two as this would lead to increased productivity.
Problems encountered in Balanced Matrix organizational structures
Because Balanced Matrix structures comprise two centers of administration a number of conflicts tend to arise. Conflicts tend to come up in the unstable relationships emanating around a multi-manager project set up they can be described under three subdivisions. These are: Role conflict Task conflict (Role ambiguity) and de-motivation issues.
Role conflict is a situation whereby an individual has two conflicting responsibilities. In this instance, the worker does not know the protocol to establish in the fulfillment of the duties. The Balanced Matrix organizational structure heightens this discord particularly because junior project associates have two reporting centers. Peer rivalry amongst two centers of power almost always ends up causing definite conflicts.
The most distinguishable causes of systems conflicts are the protocol structure and the job scheduling procedure. These elements are also influenced by the appreciation of the necessity of the project. Having a functional managers and a project manager leads to confusions regarding who the staffs have to report to depending on the task at hand.
This is further worsened if the individual in particular specialist management role is constantly being replaced because of fluctuations in the levels of the needed resources.
In this case, there is a possibility that the new staffs will be required to constantly assess and modify the work done by their predecessors in addition to constant rubbing shoulders with the co-manager. This mainly happens because of certain inadequacies in the proper institutional management.
For example, if the project manager is replaced, the new manager has to identify the tasks that he/she should manage- a process which requires a lengthy orientation period. This kind of domain-identification has the negative effect of causing delays and substantial non-cooperation from the other members of staff whose jobs are affected by the modification of the design or the delays caused, or both.
This ineffectiveness is to a great extent linked to a lack of proper exercise of authority on the part of either of the functional managers regarding the performance of the task.
In this particular instance, if the functional manager and the project manager do not gel effectively, the result is personal tension which ends up toughening the flow and execution of instructions, with the functional manager not making any response to the project manager’s complaints and vice versa.
Many recently recruited-project managers discover that their working relationships with resource allocation heads have not been clearly defined by management. Who is responsible for assigning work to the financial analyst? Who decides when to order critical material before the product design is firm? Who decides to delay design release to reduce unit cost?
Who determines the quantity and priority of spares? All these decisions vitally concern the project manager, and he must often forge his own guidelines for dealing with them. Because of the number of decisions or approvals that may arise in the course of a large project, and the number of departments that have an interest in each, innumerable possibilities always exist for interdepartmental conflicts.
Besides coping with these conflicts, the project manager must juggle the internal schedules, avoid political problems that could create bottlenecks, expedite one department to compensate for another’s failure to meet its schedule, and hold the project within a predetermined cost. Moreover, he must do all this single handed, with little or none of the experienced top management guidance that the line manager enjoys.
The issue is in most instances not connected to the Project Management, but instead the administration of the full portfolio. In the end, it is clear that some institutions can’t sustain portfolio management on their own.
It must be accomplished with the participation of both the functional manager (who must understand and accept that resources are constrained) and the portfolio managers (who must appreciate that there are other projects competing for resources and which help distinguish the priorities).
Task conflict/ Role ambiguity
Task conflict is a situation whereby the members of the team fail to agree on the expectation of the task at hand. Balanced Matrix structures are more prone to this type of conflict because of the commands trickling from two centers of power hence leaving junior associates without clear distinction as how to hand a certain duty.
Researchers and practitioners consider human resources as the most important factor in successful projects. In the development institutions human experience is the most needed and most rare resource. Proper distribution the right manpower to a project is very important.
The management meets challenges in the allocation process if there are more projects in his/her tab and they all require very specific knowledge. This is a global challenge within organisations focussing on development. In this regard, institutions have to ensure that there staffs are well motivated to handle the tasks at their disposal.
There are a number of reasons that influence the level of motivation of workers in a Balanced Matrix structures assigns duties and these are Capacity, Conflict, Context, Complexity and Commitment. Capacity refers to the ability of an enterprise to initiate and oversee the success of the multiple projects in order to come up with enough and more relevant resources.
It does not make economic sense for a project to have excess resources in terms of labor force idling around while still on the establishment’s payroll. As a result of this, dedicated efforts should be made to cut down the number of staffs and manage those persons retained in a more effective and less costly manner.
Unfortunately, this form of discriminate retrenchment is associated with sessions of under capacity occasioned by increased work loads. This scenario is occasioned by management insisting on taking up all available opportunities without factoring in the company’s capabilities. It is almost impossible to find a company which shies away from taking up more projects just because it cannot complete them using the available resources.
Commitment is basically the dedication to individual projects of the individuals or groups of individuals working on, or controlling the flow of resources to, the various tasks. The topic has some definite importance on its own but it mainly makes sense in the light of the multi-project context. The extent of a project usually plays a role in the determinations of its perceived relevance.
Commitment is relative to perceived importance. It is appropriate to direct the emphasis further from size of the project and focus it on the objectives of the organization. The size of the establishment actually has some influence on the commitment. A member of a small organization is likely to be subject to the moral pressures not to disappoint his/her colleagues as compared to his/her counterpart from a large institution.
The resource providers, also known as functional managers, need to clearly establish both the level and type of commitment required for the project. This could be defined by the provision of resources for the tasks or by shouldering responsibility for the project. As far as the individual is concerned, the type of commitment is also has some critical relevance
Context is basically the elements surrounding the development of a project, such as cultures, traditions and practices of groups or societal set ups. Context can also be described from the direction of staffing issues, infrastructural issues, and institutional issues. The culture of an expansive task or process is categorically distinguishable from the culture of comparatively smaller projects.
This is something that can be attested to by any individual who has worked in a variety of different-sized enterprises. The committed hierarchical organizational structure which is in most instance linked to large tasks, or institutions, tends to come with a stable culture, while the multi project culture, on the other hand, is constantly undergoing changes.
Senior administrative influence has an appreciable impact on the context. A specialist resource provider, linked to a small task, tends to lack the necessary direct contact with peers which makes the setting interesting to work on. The multi-project project on its part has a number of managers working concurrently, alongside functional managers which makes the task comfortable.
The career structuring and development that are required in different situations also exhibit some differences. Complexity mainly refers to those elements that are linked to multiple interfaces between the tasks, the institution, the relevant authorities etc.
It is also directly linked to the directive approaches utilized by management, and options pertaining to the extent to which the amalgamation of the multiple tasks is either desirable or applicable.
The de-motivation problem occurs because of the workload on the part of the worker. This is because, the lack of coordination between the two managers, essentially leads to assigning too much load to different associates. Aside from this, the Balanced Matrix structure does not give the project manager enough authority especially when it comes to reward power.
This basically means that all the employees have to pay their allegiance to the functional manager; who controls their salaries, rewards and payments. This is as opposed to following the instructions of the project manager word.
This study was conducted on a Telecommunications organisation in Africa and the findings indicated that there is common issue in most organisations which is role allocation and duties in a company setup. The portfolio management was full of issues pertaining to the establishment of a protocol between tasks and, allocation of duties to staffs from one task to another and the search for material requirements.
In addition to this, when resources were re-channelled to other sections it the result was harmful effects on other tasks within the portfolio. This ended up causing the administrative authorities to go through wrangles and unending conflicts during the implementation of various tasks.
However, the main influence for portfolio management which also affects the development of an already established project was the re-distribution of resources. The study’s findings verified the full image in literature of the complexity of planning, scheduling, and allocating resources between different, concurrently ongoing projects
Quantitative methods were be used to collect data. These are basically strategies developed to help in analyzing natural phenomena. The questionnaire is one of the main instruments for gathering data using a social survey design. It is completed by the respondent. The questionnaire, which is one of the quantitative survey methods, will be used in this research in order to collect the primary data.
Because of the nature of the study only online questionnaires were used. The reasons for using an online questionnaire are that compared with the interview, the online questionnaire was cheaper to administer, quicker to administer and convenient for respondents
The development of questionnaire passed through three stages; the planning stage, design stage and pilot stage. I, therefore, followed these stages for the questionnaire. In this research, the questionnaire was designed in relation to the literature review: the questions will be formulated as open-ended questions to answer the research questions.
The questions considered illustrated the relationship between the Balanced Matrix organizational structure and the success of projects. Therefore some of the opening questions will ask the respondents to describe the typical Balanced Matrix organizational structure and their perception of Project Management strategies that come along with it.
Follow up questions explored how daily communication practices of the respondents while some questions will measure how decisions regarding the selection of certain electronic communication methods are determined by the gender of the respondents. However, all the questions were formulated to measure (directly or indirectly) the respondent preference and loyalty in the relation to the various Project Management approaches.
Layout and Measurement
The layout of the questionnaire was designed in such a way that the layout was clear as well as attractive for respondents. Industry standards like five-point scales were used in the majority of questions to make it easer to collect the data.
Some experiments recommend that demographic questions should be at the end of questionnaires because the data is sensitive; therefore the researcher will have to take that into consideration in the design of this questionnaire.
In addition, ambiguous terms will be avoided in the questions, as well as any long, repetitious, leading or double-barreled items, and negative questions which could essentially reduce the effectiveness of the project.
The questionnaire will be divided into Three Sections:
- Role Conflict Section.
- Task Conflict Section.
- Motivation Section.
The scores will ranges between Almost Never True (1) – Almost Always True (5) and the results will be analyzed with regard to its Related Problem. These results will be classified as Almost Always True (5), Frequently True (4), Occasionally True (3), Seldom True (2), Almost Never True (1). Below is a sample questionnaire section covering all the three sections of analysis
The number of samples should be at least 30 and the Mean and Variance of each of the three sections will be found for EACH of the Samples collected. Assuming that the Variance of each of the sections for a particular sample is small, that means all the answers gave a similar direction (for that particular sample).
If the variance of any of the sections was high, then there might be a question that is not clear or not related directly to the problem, so the answer of that question of that section in that sample should be compared with the answer of the same question in the same section of other samples and then decide to delete that question or not upon the result of the comparison.
Then, the Mean and the Variance of each of the three Sections will be found for ALL the samples. Assuming a small Variance, that means all the samples agreed on the existence or non-existence of the problem related to that section.
Accordingly, the Mean of the samples of that section will be compared to see if it is closer to (5-10) or (20-25) and then decide upon the strength and severity of the problem existence because of using the Balanced Matrix Structure.
Why a Range of (5-25)? Because 5=Least Value of (1) for Five Questions in the same section. 25= Highest Value of (5) for Five Questions in the same section. Any thing in-between, should be analyzed (10-15 or 15-20).
In a Balanced Matrix structure, the “Power Struggle”, between the Functional Manager and the Project Manager ends up increasing the degree of work stress experienced would be considerably greater. This presents in employees having a:
- High rate in Role Conflict.
- High rate in Role Ambiguity.
- Low rate of Motivation.
The sample included 45 workers form different departments of the Safaricom Telecommunications Company in Kenya (East Africa). Questionnaires were distributed to these engineers, and they were asked to fill and return them within two days. 30 questionnaires were received with a response rate of 85%.
The mean number of experience years in the field of projects is three years. 65% of the respondents were male, while 35% were female. In general, No significant differences were observed in terms of the allocated scores for each of the three sections; accordingly, all the responses were combined into one data set and the obtained results were analyzed accordingly.
|I receive incompatible requests from two or more managers simultaneously.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I do things that are accepted by one manager and may not be accepted by others.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I receive more than one assignment, from two or more managers at the same time without a supportive manpower.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I have to do things that should be done differently.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I work on unnecessary things.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I feel certain about how much authority I have.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I have clear planned goals and objectives for my tasks.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I Know What My Responsibilities Are.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I know what is expected of me||5||4||3||2||1|
|I know when and how I have to communicate the problems I encounter in the job.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I don’t have difficulty in working with two or more functional groups, who operate quite differently.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I’m proud of the role I played and the successful outcome of the project.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I’m happy with the fair praise I get for doing a good job.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I’m satisfied with my pay given the amount of work I do.||5||4||3||2||1|
|I had the opportunity to use my own approaches in the job.||5||4||3||2||1|
The table below contains an average of the results for the collected 30 samples on the problems associated with the Balanced Matrix Organizational structure.
Score analysis guide
|Average range||Strength of the problem|
|20-25||Almost Always Exists|
Rizzo et al. defined Role Conflict as “the dimensions of congruency-incongruency or compatibility-incompatibility in the requirements of the role, where congruency or compatibility is judged relative to a set of standards or conditions which impinge upon role performance” (150/163).
This is closely aligned to the findings of this study. The questionnaire reports yielded a 19 point average which indicates that role conflicts frequently arise in Balanced Matrix Organizational structures.
The results categorically illustrate that a power struggle is experienced between managers within the balanced matrix structure; and accordingly the Role Conflict problem was largely experienced by the project team.
Task Conflict/ Role Ambiguity
Role Ambiguity has been defined as a “reflection certainty of duties, authority, allocation of time, and relationships with others; the clarity or existence of guides, directives, policies; and the ability to predict sanctions as outcomes of behavior” ( Rizzo et al. 158.). This is closely linked to the findings of this study. A 23 point questionnaire average proved that the power struggle between managers in a balanced matrix structure created high instances of task conflicts.
A 21 point average score on how employee motivation is affected by having two centers of power indicates that the Balanced Matrix structure is ineffective in this particular company. With Rizzo et al defining motivation as a state in which workers are able to marshal the necessary interest to oversee the success of a project, it is clear that the Balanced Matrix structure is a failure in terms of employee motivation for Safaricom Kenya Limited.
Limitations and challenges of the study
This study was limited in a number of ways. First, the company under evaluation is based in a developing country and the findings might therefore not yield the picture in institutions located in developed countries
Secondly, the small number of participants restricts the generalizability of the findings. Thirdly, more evaluation and research should be conducted on the already existing differences among the teams as pertains to training and development events, which have the potential to affect the perceptions, and characters of the respondents.
Further analysis is also needed to identify the possible moderating consequences of age, tenure, and education levels on the requirement for clarity of attitudes and interviewee opinions only ambiguity.
This project also depends to a great extent on secondary data; the kind of data that has been published as a result of a rigorous research process. T
his might tempt the evaluator to skip the practical aspect of analyzing commonly used organizational structures and Project Management strategies especially coupled with the difficulty of getting individuals to allow you into their offices to carry out systematic reviews on their internal administration frameworks.
Difficulty in accessing the various business management specialists and have them explain the advantages of some organizational structures over others may cause the findings of the project to be viewed as biased hence losing some credibility in the view of critics.
The findings presented by this project to some extent have a very limited shelf-life. Business and Project Management are some of the major aspects of the modern day influences that undergo rapid mutations. This basically means that the in the next few years, the strategies and structures described above may have undergone some enhancement changes that would see this review lose relevance.
Finally a challenge that almost led to the failure of this project to launch was the expense involved. Like any other scientific project, this research project required constant traveling to various regions in order to obtain sufficient data to back up the arguments raised.
Publishing the work comes with its own costs as well. It has always been suggested that work carried out for academic research should essentially be published and presented to the public for review and criticism. This however is a challenging concept especially for an upcoming researcher which might require the evaluator to personally pay for the research and its publication.
Dealing with Task conflict/ role ambiguity
The project’s leadership should be well included at every stage of implementing the plan to deal with the project and they should be encouraged to break out targets in their regions of authority to the highest specificity possible.
There are a number of things that a Balanced Matrix organization can do in order to maintain a positive employment relationship even when they have to lay back some workers and reduce their spending allocations.
Top on the list is for both the Functional and project managers to accord due respect and maintain cordial relations with the employees and ensure that their morale does not deteriorate. Employees in dual-manager situations may feel overworked and at time they regard their jobs as being in a precarious position drawing from the constant fear of not fulfilling their duties as required.
Some sense of vulnerability dampens their work spirit. In such a situation, the companies are faced with double challenges since as an institution’s profitability goes down, a low worker morale makes it even harder for the company to pick itself up hence suffering some fatigue.
Faced with numerous management challenges, organizations should not assume that restructuring and pairing down the manpower are the only things that could help the company stay afloat. the company needs to employ a number of leadership principles to ensure that it is able to sustain itself through the recession with the employees left on board.
First, when strict measures have to be taken, both levels of management should come out and clearly explain the challenges to the members of staff. It is understandable that most institutions will shy away from conflict, but employees will definitely respect proper and clear instructions regarding the duty at hand.
Secondly, the management should ensure that the frequency of communication goes up. Proper communication helps keep down anxiety levels and can also keep the staff morale stable.
Both managers in the balanced matrix structures should personally assume this role as delegation to junior staff gives a negative impression regarding the commitment of the management towards employee well-being.
Third, management should ensure that the morale of those individuals working for them becomes the number one company priority. The company should utilize all the resources at their disposal to ensure that the staffs are as comfortable as possible with the requirements of the task at hand. Finally, both managers in the Balanced Matrix structures should desist from taking hard line stances on the members of staff.
Personal humility and ethical behavior are some of the key characteristics of effective leaders. These traits if put into practice will help deal with the individuals who are caught in the middle of project-requirements disagreements. If senior managerial staffs have these two characteristics, they could easily ensure that the employees remain motivated and committed to the success of the task.
The implementation of the principles outlined above may be challenging depending on the organizational culture of specific companies. However ignoring the plight of the employees could easily jeopardize the company prospects.
In general, it is safe to argue that the employees are the ones responsible for keeping the project afloat. The better such workers are treated in the time the more dedicated they will be to the institution’s stability through the period of hardship.
Dealing with employee de-motivation
The effectiveness of using rewards as a motivator depends is a strategy that has been socio-culturally proven to give positive results. In group-oriented communities the individual pay differences does not generally influence the hierarchy of basic human requirements. The most highly appreciated motivations are based on the attainment of group desires and potential.
With my entrepreneurial experience, I have come to realize that trying to use such incentive strategies as awarding expatriates employee of the year awards will most likely end up in creating of embarrassing situations for the target employee. It is advisable for the developers of these motivational programs to come up with strategies that appreciate the strengths of the group rather than those that recognize the individual.
All the compensation strategies are influenced by two primary cultural issues. These are the institutional culture of the enterprise and the background culture of the members of staff. A compensation plan that is regarded as extremely effective for American-born workers may not work properly if ends up violating the traditional values of expatriates and other migrant workers.
Corporations which use individual rewards and performance-based payment as both elements of motivation and uniform compensation for their employees from around the world can easily have the strategy backfiring on them.
There are various incentives that can be awarded to employees in order to boost their morale especially when working in overseas nations. These include cash bonuses and monetary compensations related to their performance. The process of drafting a workable compensation strategy requires the consideration of various compensation plans alongside the specific role of the employee in his/her assignment.
This plan has been well utilized in most British companies in order to ensure that workers from various social-cultural backgrounds are comfortable enough to adequately fulfill their duties and it is a model that I have emulated for my company.
A proper compensation plan is related with the multicultural elements of the workforce. For one, it helps corporations to magnetize enough numbers of well-qualified workers. More often, it is the tangible elements of compensation that attract individuals to a given organization.
If these attributes do not appear to be competitive with the labor market, the institution will not be in a position to have a substantial database of applicants from which to isolate the ones with the greatest qualifications. As long as the package of benefits appears acceptable, an organizations human resource department will have enough candidates for both local and overseas assignments.
This is actually the primary reason why immigration to the United States is at an all-time high as persons seek an environment where they are paid better than they would in their own countries.
Another thing is that indirect monetary compensation helps institutions retain members of the workforce that they hire. Such benefits help give the employees a sense of security which has the added advantage of increasing the workers’ positivity and feelings of satisfaction towards the company.
In addition to this, because most of the benefits are categorically designed to favor employees with longer times of service, indirect monetary compensation tends to have the advantage of encouraging workers to stay with an institution for longer periods. For instance, retirement benefits increase with the number of years that an individual has been with a company.
By providing acceptable service-dependent benefits to both my local and foreign employees I have ensured that they shy away from moving to other companies since such a transfer would essentially cancel all the advantages or privileges that have been garnered through extended lengths of service.
Project management assessment power
The scope of risk in business keeps growing on a daily basis. The successful project managers explore new markets and businesses to appreciate risks in business. Project that mainly specialize on risk assessment and profit maximization strategies have great developmental opportunities. Some of these opportunities include emerging prospects requiring:
- Assessment of opportunities for new businesses
- Creation of opportunities for other establishments
- Management of risks and returns
- Differentiation of opportunities based on personal skills and goals of businesses
- Stabilization of competitive environments
Formulating well-defined job descriptions in a consultative manner.
In this regard both the Project Manager and Functional manager double up as advisors and professional guiders to their associates, and they work in consultation with each other.
Such managers generally encourage their associates to strive to attain certain goals that would enable both their associates and the company grow to the next level by establishing a way of clearly defining the job descriptions of the various individuals in the project. In this way, the managers ensure that no overlaps occur as a result of communications coming from different centers of power.
Various sub-classifications of organizational structure have been used to distnguish job descriptions. However for the Balanced Matrix organizational structure it is the hierarchial and flat structures that give the best results. The two structures are briefly outlined below:
The hierarchical organizational structure with a definite chain of command operates in a military-like fashion. This is because it categorically identifies which individual has the necessary authority to make a particular decision. In this structure junior associates have to comply with instructions from their department heads whether or not the instructions make sense to them.
This structure has the advantage of ensuring that decisions are made well in time and also supports the idea of accountability. The major drawback with this structure is that it can end up causing both departmental and organizational paralysis. This is because once the commanding authority is absent, major decisions cannot be made and all the junior associates can assume redundancy and blame it on this absence.
The hierarchy structure also limits the free flow of information and generally discourages open communication. The creativity and risk taking tendency of the company is diminished because in this structure the leader is always expected to pull rank when relating to junior associates, in the process stifling communication.
The flat organizational structure tends to encourage open communication. This is generally a very effective strategy in small to mid-sized institutions where leaders can be said to have very open relations with their associates.
The major advantage of this structure is that it fosters growth of the company by ensuring that all the opinions of workers in the institution are considered when implementing certain strategies. This approach also goes a long way in reducing the burden for those in managerial positions by encouraging staff to be more independent.
The major weakness of this structure is that it can end up in creating chaos particularly in larger organizations. This is because all the varied opinions of the associates within the company have the potential to reach the senior management in the process overloading them with information.
In such a case the executive officer(s) have to spend extra time to figure out which idea is strategically important and filter it out from the rest, in the process missing out on opportunities and leading to a reduction in productivity.
All the stakeholders from managers to the lowest cadre members of staff need to be involved in the selection and acquisition process of new equipment. The discussions with the entire staff base will essentially help identifying the emerging needs of access to information. Each and every member will be asked to list his/her issues pertaining to the challenges with the current organizational structure.
From these lists the most recurrent complaints and suggestions will be picked as part of the primary guiding data for the setting up of the new organizational structure. The senior members of management, particularly those from the human resource department need to be called in to establish the resources that the institution can spare for the change implementation.
Incase more external funding is needed the finance team will advice on the best available options. The organizational structure being a long-term strategy needs to be properly established in order to have the highest levels of effectiveness and longer service length. It is therefore imperative that enough resources be dedicated to its establishment.
The involvement of all the organizations workers starting with the both the Functional and Project managers is a clear indicator of the importance of the project. With them leading from the front, junior associates will take the training seriously and this will in turn reflect well in the entire performance of the company.
Donors and other contributors to the running of the institution will also appreciate the importance of the changes provided the company heads are committed in their involvement with its implementation.
Consolidating the strengths of project managers
Project Managers have their own powers in Balanced Matrix organizational approaches. However, if they do not exercise this authority properly, then the conflicts and challenges listed above will take center stage. Below are some of the strategies that project managers can use in order to ensure that they work cohesively with Functional Managers:
Project managers should encourage their juniors to be practice more innovation and apply some creative intelligence, particularly when faced with challenges within the work environment. Here, the managers should front the idea of critical thinking and support problem solving initiatives by their associates.
In this regard, project managers easily relate with their juniors and convince them to work hard towards the achievement of company’s goals. This approach will encourage the aspect of team spirit aimed at attaining the goals that would lead the company to operating steadily and without the constant power wrangles occasioned by the workers regarding the functional manager as being superior to the project manager.
Successful project managers are able to get her employees motivated enough when the project is at its inception levels.
This is a quality possessed by project managers and other management seniors who double up as heroes for their juniors. Such managers are very trustworthy and command a lot of respect from their juniors. They are very good decision makers and are unwavering in their authority and as such will avoid instances of the employees ignoring their commands in favor of instructions from functional manager.
All the above characteristics are additive in the sense that project managers need to apply them concurrently in order to obtain definite results (Northouse, 13-34).
According to Northouse, 39 studies carried out to analyze literature on proper project leadership revealed that persons who used this leadership strategy turned out to be generally more effective leaders than those who used other approaches. This was found to apply in the leadership of both large and small projects.
In order to serve the purpose of management research, this essay has sought to underscore the value of ensuring the stability of the Balanced Matrix organizational in relation to how well a company’s employees appear to work together. To this end, a proper literature review has been provided to study on common trends and influences of Project Management and specifically the Balanced Matrix organisational structure.
Accompanying the literature review is a sample of primary data collected from the public through questionnaires and analyses of the data collected alongside their interpretation. Finally, weaknesses of the Balanced Matrix organizational structure and its linkage to Project Management have been pointed out before recommendations have been made for dealing with these shortcomings.
Most companies suffer from involving multiple centres of power in projects without first establish frameworks to guide the operations of the managers. In the Balanced Matrix organizational structure both the Functional and Project Managers face challenges emanating from “Territorial battles. In addition, their junior staffs fail to perform as per expectations because of unclear instructions.
This results in resource shortage and allocating resources improperly which in essence has a profound impact on the project portfolio management. When the projects are not planned properly, and a decision is made on a project without consultations among the managers the entire project portfolio is affected in term of delegation of duties and personnel accountability.
Moreover, workers are responsible for too many tasks in too many projects, which make them incapable to handle the workload. In most of the projects in the portfolio the personnel competencies are not managed properly, which affect the entire project performance.
The top management is reluctant to stop any ongoing projects when they discover they can not reach the objectives of the projects, because they consider the stoppage of the projects as a management failure. This is even critical when the inefficiencies are as a result of improper communication among the two mangers.
The growth of an institution from a humble enterprise to an international organization is evidence of its great achievements. This essay has analyzed the application of various organizational structures that companies put in place in managing various projects.
The paper touched on various approaches pertaining to the Balanced Matrix organizational structure that are best suited to help all types of businesses handle their staffs effectively. These strategies should therefore be maintained even in the wake of paradigm shift facing most companies in the wake of the recent financial crisis.
Among the key elements discussed in this essay include the adoption of roles and responsibility of project managers, as well as the input of managerial skills in ensuring workplace efficacy. In addition, it is important to note that the strategies specified above have worked for numerous companies and should therefore be reinforced by the various other strategies that were beyond the scope of this report.
Hofstede, Gerard, Cheryl Van-Deusen, Carolyn Mueller & Thomas Charles. What Goals Do Business Leaders Pursue? A Study in Fifteen Countries. Journal of International Business Studies, 33 (4), pp. 785-803, 2002. Print
Linstead, Stephen, Liz Fulop & Simon Lilley. Organisational Behaviour. Palgrave Macmillan Publisher, University of Leicester, 2004. Print.
Michie, Jonothan & Maura Sheehan Labour market deregulation, ‘flexibility’ and innovation. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 27 (1), pp. 123-143, 2003. Print
Northouse, Peter G. Leadership Theory and Practice. Second edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc, 2001. Print
Rizzo John, Robert House, and Sydney Lirtzman. “Role conflict and ambiguity in complex organizations”. Administrative Science Quarterly, 15 (2): 150-163, 1970. Print