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Matrix Structure Development in Digital Manufacturing Organisations – their Evolvement via Critical Human Resource Development (CHRD) (REF: SF18/BAM/BENNETT)

Project Description

This project will investigate how manufacturing organisations incorporating Digital Technologies, specifically the efficiency and effectiveness of cross-functional working in the matrix structure, can be applied to “real time” working situations through the creation of true synchronous data and worker interface. Digital Technology, through its data collection readiness and very importantly, data sharing immediacy, promises to be a main driver in future organisational efficiency in gaining value advantage via closeness of data utilisation and hence business impact - most likely ensuring the strongest possible value impact to businesses. Thus, new ways of Digital team working efficiency are expected to emerge, as are new and innovative business models.

A further focus to the project will be to consider critical human resource development (CHRD) as an emerging concept. This challenges traditional assumptions when identified within organisational matrix structures based on functional and cross-functional operations as part of the new 21st Century manufacturing operations focus. A typology of organisation and supplier integration considerations in the digital technology era will be considered.

It is unclear at this stage how organisational business models will develop and how future sustainability will be maintained and this research could shed light on these too. The successful applicant will be part of the ‘Digital Business: Internet of Things’ research group, which is a multi-disciplinary group researching the emerging named Internet of Things. This is a fairly recent terminology emerging within the area of Digital Business, thus supporting considerations to traditional matrix structure working practices and deployment within the manufacturing sector such as the Automotive and other manufacturing industries.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/…) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include fees


Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project

Dinsdale, E. and Bennett, D. (2015) ‘Benefits Drawbacks and Boundaries to Deliver JIT: Re-thinking the UK Automotive Industry Operations Supply Strategy’ Benchmarking an International Journal, Vol 22 Issue 6 pp1081-1095, 2015
Bennett, D. Heron, G. Yuen, S. and Swamy, M. (2014) “Education and Training in Logistics & Supply Chain. Kaizen Group Enquiry based Learning, Primary Data Analysis & Research Led outputs: Lessons from an Undergraduate final year module based upon Strategic Supply Chain Management Investigation”, LRN CILT Conference, Huddersfield University (Sept 2014)

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