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Cross-functional Management

Cross-functionality involves bringing together people with diverse talents from different departments to achieve a common goal.

Cross-functional organizations adapt themselves by interweaving functional activities. Each cross-function involves several departments and is typically guided by one or more senior managers.

What is cross-functional management

Cross-functional management, or CFM, is the management of business processes across functional boundaries. It consists of managers working together to support the organization’s goals.

CFM achieves this by building processes and systems to foster organizational change in areas such as innovation, quality, cost, and customer satisfaction.

CFM has a number of characteristics:

  • manages across functions — Managing across functions means coordinating functions as a way of creating synergy to support business operations.
  • provides leadership to synergize different areas of expertise — To enable specialists to make the greatest contribution, you should show them how their expertise fits into, and supports, the organization’s goals. A cross-functional manager should have a working knowledge of the technical issues. This means knowing enough about the various subject areas to understand issues and follow discussions.
  • adopts both a horizontal and a vertical outlook — Functional management aims to optimize the performance of a specific function. CFM, on the other hand, adopts both a horizontal and vertical outlook. The intent is to create synergies in both directions. A management approach that represents all points of view is the best approach to solving such problems and preventing new ones.

Benefits of Cross-functional Management

CFM has four specific advantages for organizations:

  • minimizes suboptimization — Suboptimization occurs when a benefit for a function harms the organization as a whole. By managing business processes across functional boundaries, a cross-functional organization minimizes suboptimization.