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Mikko Pakarinen and Petri Juhani Virtanen
The purpose of this paper is to review the empirical research on matrix organizations and cross-functional teams (CFTs) in the public sector, focussing on typical…
The purpose of this paper is to review the empirical research on matrix organizations and cross-functional teams (CFTs) in the public sector, focussing on typical application areas and settings and on motivation for deployment and evidence of utility.
This is a systematic literature review compiled from several electronic databases. Data cover the period from 1990 to 2015 and are confined to academic articles written in English.
Applications of the matrix approach in public sector organizations are found in human resource management and performance management, service development and public procurement, and creation of new organizations or organization reform and network organizations. While the proven utility of matrix organization is often unclear, especially CFTs are linked to better organizational performance, improved coordination, internal collaboration and development of cross-boundary tasks.
Methodological limitations relate to excluded data due to non-accessible articles.
The findings have practical implications for public sector organizations in adapting to a changing environment.
This is the first systematic literature review of matrix management in public sector organizations.
Mikko Pakarinen and Petri Virtanen
The purpose of this paper is to examine the matrix organisation in one municipality. It focusses on whether decisions can be based on shared understanding, as well as…
The purpose of this paper is to examine the matrix organisation in one municipality. It focusses on whether decisions can be based on shared understanding, as well as identifying conflicts and proposed solutions between central administration and the line divisions.
The case study is founded on empirical data from city of Turku, Finland. The data are based on two surveys and participant observation data (employees’ meetings and workshops during 2013-2015).
Conflicts were categorised based on structure, processes, resources, people, and rewards. Conflicts emerged on an individual level, such as role conflict, role ambiguity, and role overload. Administrative procedures, personnel resources, scheduling, and personality issues emerged on an organisational level. Conflicts were greater in the line organisation than in central administration, but they did not differ much. Proposed solutions were few, but jointly determined. The value of the matrix was in the creation of a coherent vision. Cross-dimensional steering groups offered fora for identifying problems and solving conflicts, but the ability to realise change was limited, mainly because of a lack of decision-making power.
Methodological limitations relate to the generalisation of the findings.
The study findings call for developing network-based communication models, as well as public management styles adjusted to matrix-type organisations.
The conflicts raised are similar in public-sector organisations and private companies. However, the proposed solutions may vary because of the limited possibilities for a municipal organisation to rectify the problems that emerged.