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Matrix Organizational Structure

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The matrix form of organization seeks to achieve the twin objectives of efficient use of resources and effective realization of project objectives – at the cost of greater organizational complexity. In this form of organization, the personnel working on the project have a responsibility to their functional superior as well as the project managers. To the extent a project manager is able to acquire the functional managers will be forced to dispense with the same. 

This form of organization is used almost in all projects, as it is efficient in resource use and effective in meeting project objectives. This recognizes that the line of authority, responsibility, coordination, control, and communication can exist both horizontally or diagonally and in the traditionally pyramidal form. The project personnel has a responsibility to the functional superior, project manager, and the functional manager that cuts across the traditional line and staff relations, leading to horizontal and vertical levels of command. By allotting their staff to various project segments, the functional manager has the responsibility for all technical decisions. This form is ideally suited for companies, such as constructions that are project-driven. 

Figure 1:  Typical matrix structure

Figure 2: Types of Matrix Organization Structure

  • Weak matrix organization:  In this type of organization structure, a functional manager checks all factors of a project and acts as the primary source of decision making.
  • Balanced matrix organization: In this type of organization structure,  more authority is given to the project manager as compared to the functional manager.
  • Strong matrix organization: In this type of organization structure, it provides equal or more power between the project manager and the functional manager.

Why do we use matrix organizational structures?

The need for a matrix organization structure was for an organizational form capable of managing the very large and complex, projects, problems, and for managing limited resources. The traditional hierarchical management organization deal with the delivered complexity and the full-size quantity of data that needed to be processed, and the traditional control principle changed into of little assist in fixing those new and precise troubles.

Advantages of Matrix Organization Form:

  • This form of organization retains the expertise and management skills of functional managers while executing the project. The expertise available can be applied in a most flexible and efficient and efficient manner to benefit a number of projects.
  • Matrix project organization is a fascinating arrangement for the highly skilled professionals who want to work on a new and challenging project but are reluctant to leave their parent organization in which their professional skills and attributes might not be properly respected.
  • The project manager can devote his time towards complex issues of the project and coordinate various tasks and priorities of the organization without being distracted by any other detail of project implementation.
  • Policies and procedures can be set up independently for each project provided that they don’t contradict company policies and procedures.
  • A strong technical base can be developed and much more time can be devoted to complex problem-solving. Knowledge is available for all projects on an equal basis.
  • Each person has a “home” after project completion. People are susceptible to motivation & end item identification.

Disadvantages of Matrix Organization Form:        

  • Each project organization operates independently.
  • Functional managers may be biased according to their own set of priorities.
  • People don’t feel that they have any control over their own destiny when continuously reporting to multiple managers.
  • Difficulty in monitoring and controlling.
  • Multidimensional workflow and information flow.

When operating under a matrix management approach it is obviously extremely important that the authority and responsibility of each manager be clearly defined and understood and accepted by both functional and program people. These relationships need to be spelled out in writing.    

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Last Updated : 23 Jun, 2022
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