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Introduction

There are several ways of organizing groups of people. Generally, this tends to fall into one of the five organization structures. These are the functional, the hybrid, the matrix, the geographical and the product. The functional structure groups people according to specific functions.

The next structure, the product one, unites individuals in regard to the services they offer. Thirdly, the geographical structure depends on the location of the different organizations. Fourthly, the hybrid is a mixture of all the organization structures. Finally, the matrix is a combination of the functional and the product structures.

Since they have different advantages and disadvantage, the organizers of the London 2012 Olympic Games chose to adopt the matrix structure. As a result, this paper presents the benefits associated with the matrix organizational approach as well as the problems that the organizers may experience. Finally, the paper ends with description of problems associated with a project involving a mix of different companies and cultures.

The matrix organization structure

The matrix organization structure involves grouping people with similar skills for work assignment (Rollinson, 2008). For instance, the organization of the Olympic 2012 Games uses varios bodies with different functions. Moreover, this structure divides authority by functions and by project.

As a result, the employees answer to two managers who are the functional and the project supervisors. The functional supervisor is responsible for managing employees in specific areas like engineering as well as marketing. On the contrary, the project supervisor oversees a specific venture (Robbinson et al., 2010). For example, the head of the Government Olympic Executive is the project supervisor while the heads of the other bodies are the functional managers.

The benefits associated with matrix organization structure

Resource coordination

The matrix organization structure allows managers and supervisors to concentrate on their areas of proficiency (Mullins, 2010). On the one hand, the functional managers focus on recruiting, developing and managing workers. On the other hand, the project supervisor deals with attaining the mission of the venture.

For example, the major concern of the manager of the Olympic Delivery authority is coordinating resources that will facilitate the building of the permanent venues and infrastructure needed for the games. On the contrary, the manager of the Government Olympic Executive is responsible for ensuring that the games will be on time and within budget as well as represent value for public money and benefit for the whole UK.

Specialization

Placing workers in functional units gives them chances to work in specific areas (Moore, 2009). For example, employees can specialize in product development, distribution or marketing.

This distribution is important because it helps workers perform well resulting to the achievement of the overall goals and the objectives of the project. For instance, if the workers of the British Olympic Association are highly skilled, the Olympic movement throughout the UK will be smooth. This will result in attainment of the overall goal that means a success of the Olympic Games and their legacy.

Breadth of the skills

According to Martin et al (2010), the isolation of employees in a functional unit makes it hard for them to benefit from the knowledge and the skills of other workers in different areas. As a result, in a matrix organization structure, employees of a specific unit are always in contact with workers of other areas through their membership in the project teams.

This means that employees engaged in activities like engineering can easily interact with workers involved in other activities like marketing. Thus, employees have chances to develop a variety of skills. For example, the personnel of the London Development Agency can learn from the workers of the Olympic Park Legacy Company how to plan, develop and maintain the Olympic Park.

Communication

According to Bucanan et al (2010), in a matrix organization structure, employees are always in contact with each other. This facilitates free movement of information as well as resources in the different functional areas. This coordination of information and resources assists the project manager to handle intricate challenges. For example, it is easier for the Government Olympic Executive to handle any problem facing the different bodies involved in the organization of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Flexibility

The matrix organization structure allows sharing of the human resources across the products (Bliosi et al., 2007). For instance, workers who have not specialized in any field can assist in different areas while skilled employees remain in their areas of specialization. This is imperative because it ensures that work is always on progress, thus the organization achieves its objective within the stipulated time. For instance, if the Olympic board does not have enough unskilled workers, it can get some untrained employees from the London Development Agency.

The problems associated with the matrix organization structure

The roles and responsibilities conflict

Arnold (2005) argues that confusion over the roles as well as responsibilities is prevalent within the matrix organization structure. For instance, the London Government can experience an amount of conflicts over roles and responsibilities between the manager of the Government Olympic Executive who oversees the project and the functional supervisors of the other bodies.

This opposition can be manifested through angry letters to the supervisors and functional managers not attending meetings. As a result, the Olympic Games may not be successful.

Inefficient reporting system

According to Bliosi et al (2007), the matrix organization approach does not have a reporting system that monitors the activities of the functional managers. As a result, the project manager relies on the assurance from the functional supervisor that everything is fine. This keeps the project at a risk of failure especially when the functional manager does not concentrate on his area of expertise.

For example, the Olympic Delivery Authority may report that the building of the needed infrastructure is complete but because the project manager, he does not need to go to see it on his own. So he may not know if all the buildings are constructed and ready to be put into operation.

Politicization of the resources

Politicization of resources, which is a characteristic of the matrix organization structure, means that it is the responsibility of the functional manager to distribute the materials needed for the project implementation (Bucanan et al., 2010).

This division is critical because the functional manager may not recognize where to allocate more resources and this can lead to failure of the project. For example, the manager of the British Paralympic Association may invest more resources in one of the Paralympic Games leading to failure of the other activities.

Lack of the project level focus

In the matrix structure, the functional areas of the organization are more powerful than the project side (Martin et al., 2010). As a result, the functional managers do not focus on the overall goal of the project. For instance, the Mayor of London may focus so much on the residents and the visitors that he forgets about the prior goal of the project. This concentration on a specific item can lead to failure of attaining success in organization and holding of the Olympic Games.

Difficulties in need of skills training

Moore (2009) states that in the matrix organization structure, it is difficult to train people who do not have specific skills. This is because the dual authority of this organizational approach needs people who are content with ambiguity so that the negative pressure to motivation as well as job satisfaction will be reduced. Due to this fact, the organizers of the 2012 Olympic Games may not train unskilled workers, and this can lead to production of low quality work.

Increase in cost

The creation of functional managers as well as different organization bodies leads to an increase in cost (Mullins, 2010). This is because the functional managers will need an increase in pay as they are of different levels from the other employees. Additionally, the establishment of the different functional organization bodies will lead to duplication of resources.

For example, some companies and departments organizing the London 2012 Olympic Games will require their own resources. This means that the government will spend a lot of money funding each body. In the light of the fact that the government lacks money, the entire project is likely to collapse.

Problems associated with a project involving a mix of different organizations and cultures

Power culture

The power culture exists in organizations where authority is in the hands of few people who have ability to make decisions (Robbinson et al., 2010). Hence, these individuals enjoy most of the privileges at work place. The problem with this culture is that the management may find it hard to link many activities as well as maintain control. As a result, the management creates several independent organizations while retaining the financial control.

This leads to duplication of resources, which put the company at a risk of increased expenditure. Additionally, the power culture depends on individuals and not committees (Arnold, 2005). Thus, performance appraisal is based on results hence the organization tolerates average performance. Furthermore, the employees have low morale, and there is an increase in staff turnover. Lastly, in the extreme cases, this culture is a dictatorship.

Role culture

According to Rollinson (2008), role culture involves giving employees certain rights and responsibilities according to their specialization as well as education qualifications. Furthermore, according to this pattern of behavior, the employees decide what they want to do and tackle the challenges that accompany their actions.

The problem with this role culture is that it is difficult for the organization to adapt to change. This is because the whole structure is slow in perceiving the need of modification and responding to the change. Moreover, the role culture is annoying for power driven ambitious employees who are interested in results and not the methods (Mullins, 2010). This is because it gives employees opportunities to specialize within their functional areas only.

Task culture

Moore (2009) states that task culture involves formation of teams in order to achieve certain goals. As a result, individuals with similar interests and specialization form teams of five to six members. Each member contributes equally and completes tasks in inventive ways. The problem with this culture is that control is a difficult task (Martin et al., 2010).

This is because the senior manager retains the essential control as he focuses on the allocation of the employees and resources. As a result, when the resources are inadequate, the senior manager begins to control methods and consequences, and this leads to competition between him and the teams’ leaders. Thus, morale in the teams decreases, and the job becomes less satisfying as each employee begins creating his or her own objective.

Person culture

In this culture, individuals are concerned about themselves and not the organization (Buchanan et al., 2010). As a result, an organization with such a culture eventually suffers because workers report to work because of money and they do not have any attachment to their work.

Moreover, the workers are not loyal to the management, and their decisions do not favor the organization. According to Bliosi et al. (2007), many organizations cannot survive with this type of culture because associations have objectives that are above personal goals. Besides, the control mechanisms and the management hierarchies are impractical in the person culture, except by common consent. For instance, an employee can leave the organization, but the management has no power to expel him.

Conclusion

The matrix structure is perfect for organizing the London 2012 Olympic Games. This is because it combines the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of function and product organization structures. Although the matrix organization structure has some problems, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

Finally, a project involving a mix of different organizations and cultures usually faces a number of problems concerning roles, persons, power and tasks. As a result, managers need to be cautious when choosing the type of cultures they want their organizations to adapt.

References

Arnold, J 2005, Work Psychology. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Bliosi et al. 2007, Management and organisational behaviour. McGrawhill, New York.

Buchanan, D & Huczynski, A 2010, Organisational behaviour. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Martin, J & Fellenz, M 2010, Organisational behaviour and management. Cengage, Stamford.

Moore, D 2009, Project management: Designing effective organisational structure. Blackwell Publishing Company, Oxford.

Mullins, L 2010, Management and Organisational Behaviour. Pearson, Upper Saddle River.

Robbinson, S, Judge, T & Campabell, T 2010, Organisational Behaviour. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Rollinson, D 2008, Organisational Behaviour and Analysis. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

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