The Matrix System

(Excerpts From “Organization for Impact” Memo Dated 19 Feb. 1971 Issued By Jim Howland For General Distribution)

“In reaching toward our objectives, we have adopted the tenet that, in today’s complex technology, people work best in teams. Leadership is most effective if it is based on competition, specialized knowledge, and coordination. This is how we want to operate and to be organized. We want to decentralize project management and client relations, and centralize the direction of technical expertise.

“Our regional offices are already taking care of decentralization. The authority and responsibility of the regional offices will remain unchanged. To centralize the direction of expertise an organizational change is necessary. The general framework and purpose of the change is outlined in the attached article, The Move to Matrix Management [Editor’s note: not shown here]. In our particular case we are creating a position of Discipline Director in each professional field, which position will correspond to the position of Product Manager referred to in the article. The Discipline Director will have staff to perform project assignments, will have company wide profit responsibility for projects assigned to his discipline, have company wide promotional responsibility in his discipline, have staff hiring and development responsibility in his discipline, and have broad authority to delegate. These duties and responsibilities supplement those of the Regional Managers. They do not reduce or eliminate the Regional Managers’ present functions.

“How does this affect the most important person to read this – – you? Tomorrow, very little. The people who immediately have new lines of responsibility can be counted on the fingers of your two hands. They are described below. As the program develops, we hope it will affect you a great deal. The program is planned to give you more help in getting your job done and to give you more directions in which to progress.”

“To implement this organization concept, the following initial changes in staff assignments become effective immediately:”

Holly Cornell Will coordinate the activities of all of the Discipline Directors. His position title will be Vice President, Professional Services. Holly has purchased a house in Corvallis and will be moving from Seattle in the near future. Corvallis Technical Services stay with Bob Adams until Holly gets to Corvallis.
Burke Hayes Will become Vice President, Power and Industrial Engineering. Those directly under Burke’s wing will include the Corvallis mechanical and electrical groups that previously reported to Bob Adams.
Archie Rice Will assume the duties of Business Development as an additional duty while a search is being made for a new Business Development Director.
Bob Pailthorp Will assume the responsibilities as Director of R & D in addition to his duties as Discipline Director for Industrial Waste Engineering.
Joe Patten Will become Director of Water Resources Engineering, in addition to his present Redding duties.
Dick Ivey Will become Director of Planning.
Sid Lasswell Will become Vice President, Water and Waste Engineering. His present crew, plus the Industrial Waste group, make up Sid’s Corvallis staff.
Herschel Jones Will become Director of Economics.
Bob Adams Will become Vice President, Civil Engineering. The present civil and structural groups will make up Bob’s Corvallis staff. Bob will also continue as Corvallis Regional Manager.
Clair Hill Will become Vice President, Surveying and Mapping, in addition to his duties as Redding Regional Manager.