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Making the Matrix Work

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Making the Matrix Work

How Matrix Managers Engage People and Cut Through Complexity

Nicholas Brealey Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Welcome to the matrix. Are you ready to influence, collaborate and negotiate?

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Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • For Experts


Kevan Hall’s consulting firm specializes in matrix management and he clearly believes in it, but he’s so honest about its challenges that he’s almost rueful. He knows that managers who do well in a vertical hierarchy can find the horizontal, silo-smashing, role-shifting, flexible nature of a “matrix organizational structure” frustrating, so he provides helpful tools, explanations and concepts. Hall limns the matrix in terms of its traits, operations, structures and strategies. He works hard to help you feel at home with it. getAbstract recommends his insights to those who work with corporate structure, culture and collaboration. Yet, if you are new to the matrix approach you may want to start with something a bit more basic – just like the vertical structure you are leaving behind.


The Matrix

In a matrix organization your skills matter more than your status, your role does not define your reach, and you may wake up every morning with “multiple bosses, competing goals, influence without authority and accountability without control.” A “matrix organizational structure” slices horizontally. It cuts across the up-and-down chain of command, severing silos, stretching to multiple locations and combining functions that used to be delineated. That new mind-set calls for new skills. For example, because companies now can sprawl across national borders, managers need strong intercultural communication skills, openness and flexibility. You’ll interact with “colleagues from different locations” and you’ll affect people in various units and cultures.

Traditional “vertical structures” with clear lines of responsibility seem simpler, but they don’t fit today’s collaborative business environment. In a horizontal “matrix organizational structure,” formal titles mean less and divisions are permeable. Managers may have less formal, defined authority. The matrix’s positive and negative qualities merge in how people work together, though the apparent negatives can...

About the Author

Kevan Hall, founder and CEO of Global Integration, is the author of Speed Lead.

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