Having the appropriate structure is vital if an organisation or project is to meet its objectives. The filming of the recent BBC TV series Frozen Planet is a demonstration of how a matrix organisation structure operates. Individuals with different capabilities and experience and from different backgrounds have been brought together to perform various roles as one team in order to create the finished product. Each team member was selected for the skills they can bring to the project. These individuals include the BBC film crew and presenter David Attenborough, the scientists and advisers used to working in sub-zero conditions, as well as the specialist support needed for transport and surviving the polar weather.
For example, Dr Alun Hubbard from Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences has been advising the programme’s producers since 2008 on the scientific and logistical issues of filming in a ‘remote and hostile’ location. This has been invaluable in producing the stunning footage. Dr Hubbard said: ‘Last summer was incredibly hard work and also very stressful at times, directing multiple crews and helicopters with ground, air and marine support, along with managing work teams on the ice in difficult and dangerous locations.’ (BBC, 7th December 2011)
British Gas is a large organisation offering many different products, such as gas and electricity, different services, such as maintenance or installation, as well as having different functions, such as customer services and marketing. It therefore operates within a tall (or hierarchical) structure. This allows each area to work under one senior manager, with all levels of employees in that chain of command reporting upwards.
This type of organisation structure enables British Gas to focus its activities around its customers’ needs. A hierarchical structure provides a clear line of management within each area and allows British Gas to focus on the training needs of each level of employees, whether apprentices who are learning the trade and front-line skills, or managers who arrange people and resources to meet strategic objectives.
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