What is Matrix Organizational Structure? Definition, and Pros/Cons

What is Matrix Organization?

A matrix organization may be a special sort of problem-solving sort of organization that mixes two or more organizational structures. It’s going to combine line, functional, line & staff, etc. It’s formed to finish various sorts of projects of specific and unique nature. it’s applicable in modern, unique, and large-scale organizations.

Matrix organization structure is additionally referred to as grid or project management structure. It requires diverse technical and administrative experts to regulate efficiently with the dynamic and rapidly changing environment of business.

Matrix management is difficult to balance, but, when it is appropriately balanced it provides the advantages of increased performance and productivity for a corporation.

In a matrix organizational structure, the general functional job is given to functional managers, and different projects are given to a team of specialists, referred to as project managers. The team members could also be from various functional areas like production, finance, marketing, research, and development, etc. This team provides support to the overall manager to finish the project within the given period.

Generally, a matrix organization may be a combination and interaction of functional and project managers. Project managers are liable for the general direction and operation of the activities of the projects. The functional managers are liable for providing technical guidance and skilled functional staff and completing the project within the quality of technical guidance.

The authority of functional managers flows vertically downwards but the authority of project managers flows horizontally crossing vertical lines. Here, each subordinate works under two superiors: one may be a project manager and another is the functional manager.

This organizational structure doesn’t follow the unity of command and scalar chain. This organization is more democratic, human, and participative, and it maintains collaboration and coordination among a good range of people. 

Matrix Organization Structure

Advantages of Matrix Organization

The followings are the main advantages of matrix organizational structure.

Related: 5 Types of Organizational Structures in Management

Better Coordination and Control

During a matrix organization, the responsibility of the project manager is to take care of the coordination of interrelated factors of a project. He has got to communicate with both vertical and horizontal lines of authority in order that the project work runs smoothly.

Similarly, functional managers are liable for technical and administrative guidance to projects. This results in better and simpler control over regular operations.

Adaptable to Dynamic Environments

The matrix organizational structure is adaptable to the frequently changing and unsure environment of the business. The project managers have functional independence and can get quick feedback with information associated with projects.

Thus, fast decisions are often made in time, which contributes to reducing the adverse effects of any sudden change within the business environment.

Maximum Use of Resources

In a matrix organizational structure, many projects are handled at a time. As such, there’s more possible to use more resources including manpower. The specialized staff, experts, and other resources of a completed project are often utilized in other projects.

Related: What is Line Organizational Structure?

Thus, the available resources are often used within the organization and therefore the wastage of resources is often minimized.

Participative Management

Matrix organization structure emphasizes participative management. Here, people are working together on a project as a team. High-level management provides a motivational atmosphere within the organization.

It takes suggestions, information, and ideas from functional and project managers before making the commitment of members to finish the given work within the given standards and time.

Sufficient Time To Top Management

Matrix management encourages the delegation of authority to project managers. Project managers have the authority to form decisions associated with the day-to-day operation of the projects. This provides sufficient time for top-level management to form strategic planning and policies instead of operational activities.

Inter-Disciplinary Specialization

Since specialists and experts are involved in many interdisciplinary areas, there’s the likelihood of quality performance and output.

Similarly, specialists from any inter-disciplinary area interact with one another to urge a far better opportunity to expand technical excellence into many inter-disciplinary areas and also in many activities. Again, this contributes to developing the general working efficiency of the organization.

Development of Teamwork

In matrix management, many members, from both project and functional areas, involve in achieving common objectives. They interact with one another and develop mutual and shut relations with one another.

Also, both project and functional managers play the role of coordinator among them. This working environment develops a sense of solidarity among the team members.

Disadvantages of Matrix Organization

The followings are the main disadvantages of matrix organizational structure.

Violation of Unity of Command

Here, subordinates need to follow instructions from quite one superior. Generally, they receive orders from functional managers also as from project managers.

In some cases, subordinates may receive instructions from both superiors at a time, which confuses the subordinates. To avoid this problem, frequent and comprehensive communication among the project and functional managers is important.

Costly Structure

Matrix management maximizes administration costs. Here, specialists from the project are also functional authorities involved in project work. It maximizes paperwork and other information costs. Besides, it’s essential to pay lump-sum remuneration to functional and project specialists. 

The Problem of Over Specialization

In some situations, matrix organization creates a drag of over-specialization. Specialists from both functional and project works, gather to unravel many complex problems of the organization.

As many experts gather to unravel problems, in some cases, they waste valuable time discussing unrelated topics. Thus, there’s an opportunity for a delay in decision-making

Difficult To Balance

Matrix organization structure demands a high level of interpersonal relations and skill. it’s essential to involve both functional and project specialists. Besides, it’s essential to take care of balance among these authorities to cause uniformity in organizational performance.

Within the practical field, it’s harder to take care of a balance among these authorities, especially if they need no positive attitude toward one another.

Also Read: What is Functional Organizational Structure?

Feeling of Insecurity

A sense of insecurity among the workers is one of the restrictions of the matrix structure. In many cases, the project runs just for a hard and fast duration. After completion of the defined work, there’s more probability of the dissolution of the project.

In such a situation, an unemployment problem may arise if another project isn’t available to the organization.

Lack of Wide Coordination

The limit factor of matrix management creates problems in maintaining wide coordination among all the mechanisms of the organization. A project manager has been given a hard and fast time to coordinate all the mechanisms to finish the given work within the fixed time.

Because the time factor is restricted, the manager can’t maintain wide coordination among various departments and authorities.

Lack of Commitment

Many specialists and experts are drawn from different functional departments during a project. they’re generally appointed during a project just for a limited period. Their role is to supply technical and administrative support to the project manager.

However, the project manager doesn’t have the road authority to coordinate and control this personnel. Hence, a project manager is unable to form a commitment to realize the projects in time.

Read Next: What is Line and Staff Organizational Structure?

1 thought on “What is Matrix Organizational Structure? Definition, and Pros/Cons”

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