So I know what M-T think of matrix structures, but....

I'm interested in anyone's experience or opinion of matrices within matrices. 
The organisation I work for introduced a matrix structure about 6 years ago. It is fairly classic with the prime in our case being market focussed business units with certain functions deployed to those units, whilst there are non-deployed support functions (think Finance, Legal etc.) that aren't in the matrix but take direction firstly from their function and then from the business unit. So far all pretty standard stuff. 
The quirk comes in the fact that the group I lead are in some areas a support function, but in others are something of a sub-prime (this is starting to sound like the banking crisis!) in that to deliver what is expected of our role, we frequently need to call on support of those in the matrix and the support functions. I don't want to go into too many details, but we aren't always directly aligned to the business unit goals, instead working on behalf of the entire organisation, which is part of the issue. The issue being that everyone in the matrix and the support functions looks to the business unit or their function to drive actions and not to my group. As you can imagine, this makes delivering our objectives pretty tough, even though we have great relationships across all functions, business units and senior management. 
So, firstly, am I simply looking at everyone else as being the problem, or is it me? If so I can take it on the chin, but I'm thinking this org design is setting us up to fail but I'd welcome any advice on how to take things forward. 
On the other hand, if I'm right that the structure (or at least what is being asked of us within it) is set to fail, how can I raise that within the org?

I have access to all key stakeholders who could influence the outcome here (I had to use a lot of manager tool advice to keep going this long!) and although I'm clearly not going to lead with 'the org structure is broken' I guess my initial concern is that I don't know whether I am barking up the wrong tree. 
Any and all guidance welcomed!

mjspin's picture

Apologies, think I missed some pertinent information. 
My line manager leads a function in which the other sub-teams are mostly deployed to the business units. Those that aren't still take the majority of their direction from the matrix. 
The difference for our group is that to succeed we rely on action by those in the matrix and the sub functions that support them, but none of those colleagues expect us to drive activity. 
The result is that we rely on goodwill to achieve anything and in an org where resources are stretched we know that calling on that goodwill means that those who support us fail to meet the objectives that the matrix set for them, or they work long hours risking burnout. 

Jollymom's picture

Hey @mjspin, thank you for sharing your current situation. I recommend to use the VMOKRAPISPATRES and RACI Matrix across the board. This is to enable each unit/department be able to see the correlation of each and what output is expected of them. This matrix also helps the units that are dependent on another unit - this to overlap duplication, overlapping and missing out and pinpointing fingers.

Hope this helps.