Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



This study is an effort to examine the applicability of the matrix pattern of organization to selected science agency programs by making a comparison of three major management forms of organization: functional, project, and matrix. Concepts for selecting one organizational form rather than another are investigated in order to ascertain which concepts provide the rationale for choosing specific organizational forms in which the technical and functional specialists can most effectively be utilized. Specifically, the functional, project, and matrix forms of organization are described, analyzed, and compared through a literature search and finally, some applications of matrix patterns of organization in practice are investigated. The concepts used to compare these forms of organizations are: project direction, administration, time duration, flexibility of manpower, maintaining technical capability, project communication, and coordination. For the purpose of this study, a functional management form of organization is defined as representative of the hierarchical form of organization in general use today, i.e., the highly structured, formal, autocratic, strict management controlled concept patterned after the format of the Roman Catholic Church and the Military. A project management form of organization is defined as one where a project manager has direct control and full authority over all the people assigned to the specific, time-constrained task. A matrix management form of organization is defined as the concept which pinpoints a horizontal slice across the vertical structure typical of most hierarchical organizations. Under a matrix organization, employees may be assigned to a project, but they remain on the rolls of their parent {functional) organization and are under that organization's jurisdiction for merit reviews, promotions and similar formal supervisory action. The findings of this research confirm the hypothesis that the technique of matrix management is applicable to selected science agency programs. This study, however, also makes apparent that each form of organizational design investigated (functional, project, and matrix) has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Actual determinants of the optimal organization form for a given project would include many diverse factors, and, therefore, no one organizational form can be singled out as the "best" or the "ultimate" form in which the technical and functional specialists can most effectively be utilized. The study also supports the second hypothesis that worker motivation in complex agencies is facilitated by matrix management. The findings developed are examined through corollary concepts of coordination, communications, and particularly through worker identification with the specific task or project. The author concludes that the matrix management form of organization promises to be one of the most effective arrangements of people and tasks for coping with the problems of our changing technology.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Albert H. Rosenthal

Second Committee Member

Donald Winston Smithburg

Third Committee Member

Edwin Francis Connerley



Document Type