Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 05/2014

Creating a 'one house' culture at the IAEA through matrix management

Robert E. Kelley

January 2014

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is currently structured along largely programmatic lines, with each programme recruiting and training its own staff. This process is wasteful as it creates bureaucratic disincentives to sharing people and resources. Many technical organizations in the business and government sectors deal with this problem by using matrix management. In matrix management, programme managers budget their funds and set programmatic objectives. This gives them a great deal of control over their programmes and the desired outcome. Staff, who are recruited as technical specialists by technical service organizations, not programmes, are then able to work on a multitude of programmes. The IAEA acknowledges that it would like to work as ‘one house’ and this has been a goal of senior management for some years. Structural obstacles have meant that there has been little progress towards changing the management culture to the ‘one house’ goal. A thoughtful reorganization of the IAEA along programme–matrix lines could go a long way towards reaching this goal.