Matrix Structure: Everything You Need to Know
A matrix structure is an organization that is a combination of the traditional departments seen in functional structures with project teams.8 min read
What is a Matrix Structure?
A matrix structure is an organization that is a combination of the traditional departments seen in functional structures with project teams.
In matrixes, the individuals work across teams and projects and in their own departments.
Advantages of Matrix Structures in General
With matrix structures, they can help break down traditional department barriers and improve communication throughout an organization. They can also allow individuals to use particular skills within a variety of contexts. Matrix structures avoid the need for several departments to meet on a regular basis, so they also reduce costs and improve coordination.
They are also likely to have greater motivation with the various team members. Matrix structures encourage sharing ideas between many departments.
They are a good way to share resources across departments, which means that projects are more cost-effective.
Disadvantages of Matrix Structures in General
There are some disadvantages to matrix structures. For example, having more than one manager can split team members’ loyalties. This also increases the pressure team members feel in their projects.
The line to their direct manager can be blurry in matrix structures, which can be hard to negotiate and adjust to. This can also result in some team members deciding to become lax in their job duties.
What Is a Matrix Organization?
When there is more than one structure for manager responsibility and accountability, this is called a matrix organization. Matrix can have different meanings depending on the person creating it and the industry they are in. With matrix structures, there are often functional connections and connections that are specifically designed for projects, products, or specific clients.
Project managers, in matrix organizations, could have strong manager duties or they may have duties that perform on a coordinating function. As an example, there needs to be a balance between power of the project managers and the functional managers in matrix organizations.
What is a Matrix Organization Structure?
Matrix organization structure is a combination of two or more types of organizational structures, such as the projectized organization structure and the functional organization structure.
Combination of organizational structures represent the two extreme points of a string, while the matrix organization structure is a balance of these two. Combination may help organizations achieve higher efficiency, readiness, and quick market adaptation.
Employees may report to many managers, and some from one section may report to one boss while the rest report to a different boss in matrix organization structure.
Matrix organization structure takes the characteristics of both types of organization structures.
The matrix structure is a composite of the projectized organization shape and the useful company structure. Supervisors may additionally look after the purposeful part of the task; he may additionally decide how to do the work, and might distribute the mission ideals among his subordinates.
Venture managers may have authority over the executive a part of the venture, including what to do, follow-up on the schedule, evaluate the overall performance, etc.
Operating in a matrix business enterprise may be difficult due to the fact you have got a confusing position at the same time as reporting to two bosses.
In a matrix enterprise, function and duties and the priorities have to be clear as a way to keep away from confusion. Matrix organization structure generally exists in huge and multi-undertaking organizations, in which they can relocate employees each time and anywhere their services are wished.
Matrix structures have the power of moving the agency’s expertise. They are also a mix of the projectized agency and the useful organization, and attempted to mix the best parts of both worlds. The term “matrix venture corporation” refers to a multidisciplinary group whose members are drawn from various lines or functional devices in hierarchical employers.
The agency with this structure is so advanced that it is temporary in nature, and for that reason it is constructed around the assignment of specific challenges to be completed as opposed to being based on organizational capabilities.
The matrix is for that reason built up as a group of personnel drawn from both the assignment and the useful or disciplinary agencies. When a company structure allows for a horizontal direction for employee skills and information is a matrix structure. This organizational structure is used most often for big projects that are very complex, including product development, and uses employees from many different departments and skill sets in one team.
In a matrix organization, employees report to the project manager, or product manager. They report in daily to this manager, who has responsibilities that cross departmental boundaries in a horizontal manner.
NASA, in fact, created this structure in coordination with its suppliers. The name comes from how a table or matrix is set up, with each element used in a row and column.
The Two-Boss Matrix
There are two bosses for many workers when an organization is a well-structured matrix organization. The management in an organization can have different structures with solid-line relationships and dotted-line relationships. Usually, when there is a solid-line relationship, managers are directly connected to their direct subordinates. The person above the subordinate is the boss. When there is a dotted-line relationship, the connection between the staff and the person they are connected to is less important.
In a matrix organization, the project manager is not staff and they often have less authority than the other managers that are shown on the same level. In particular, with project managers, a matrix organization shows the idea that the project is temporary and the departments are not.
Why the Matrix?
The matrix structure evolved naturally from hierarchical organizational structures in response to a definite global need. The new requirements changed the structural needs into an organizational shape capable of handling very massive and really complicated applications, projects, and issues, and for coping with confined resources.
Traditional hierarchy management structure couldn’t handle the complexity and large amount of information required for processing by large projects. Standard management theories were of little assistance finding solutions to the new era of issues.
Most control theorists anticipated that the shortage of any uncomplicated unmarried line of duty and authority would result in managerial ineffectiveness.
The primary purpose for adopting the matrix in a massive enterprise may be pinpointed within the truth that capabilities and competencies are fragmented at some point of the organizational shape.
Men and women are both useful in departments that have extraordinary experience solving very big issues because of a failure to view the overall machine and an inclination to sub-optimize or remedy the trouble inside their specific discipline.
Therefore, the matrix was a subsequent logical improvement.
Growth of the Matrix
Standard hierarchy in organizational structures has increasingly become inadequate, particularly with the increase in complexity of projects and the problems organizations see in projects. Matrix organizations were first seen in the aerospace industry in the US in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The structure was documented and formalized as it grew with the complex projects of that industry.
In hierarchical structures, large projects highly depended on the organization of the project, where everything essential to complete the project, including resources, were structured linearly. Matrix structures work well when large projects were being run. It also depends on the organization of the customer and if they were amenable to paying for the extra cost of having a matrix structure.
Still, high-level managers still want to have just one person from whom they get their information. They also want to know whose responsibility each part of the project is. There always needs to be management structures with projects, so going from hierarchical to a matrix structure was a natural progression in considering types of management structures. Engineers, especially, who think in mathematical terms, would enjoy and encourage a matrix organizational structure, as it made more sense to them.
Does the Matrix Work?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all organizational structure, and there isn’t a guarantee that any one structure will work to improve productivity. There is more to the matrix structure than simply implementing it. It’s not magic and it is not a guaranteed method. That being said, the most common reason that a matrix organizational structure does not work is a lack of support or active effort from management and supervisors at the lower management levels.
Making the Matrix Work
When getting the matrix structure to work, high-level management has to provide actual and fast support to the matrix structure. Their instructions and statement of work need to clearly outline the project’s objectives and the project manager’s specific duties and level of authority.
Additionally, the statement of work needs to show, as clearly as possible, the project manager’s relationship to other organizational managers who are also working on the same projects. Organizational management has to change a lot of how they think about management. For the matrix structure to be effective, managers should adjust their standard operating procedures and how they implement each step of their work.
In fact, they have to build their negotiation skills, since in a matrix organization, negotiation is much of how work is done in a productive way.
Advantages of the Matrix
There are many advantages to the matrix organizational structure.
- There is increased visibility of objectives that extends throughout the organization, and these objectives more closely align with the organization’s objectives.
- Existing or even new systems and project subsystems have a higher level of integration success, which extends throughout many functional departments.
- Matrix structures allow for a higher level of coordination in functional areas of the organization.
- Resources are used as efficiently as possible.
- Because the structure allows for even more part-time work, duties and workload can be distributed among multiple projects. This means that even resources that are scarce can be prioritized and shared between management and projects.
- Matrix structures are cheaper than basic hierarchical project structures.
- Information dissemination and availability is a definite advantage of matrix structures, as it is more efficient than other organizational structures.
- Departments are available to increase their collaboration and communication, which allows for faster problem solving and faster decision making.
- Customers and client organizations will have faster response times to their questions and problems.
- There is a more democratic leadership style with matrix structures as well. Teams and their members are more easily able to give opinions and suggestions for how to improve projects. Every employee can use their specialty and experience to the project in a positive way, and their managers can use that information to make better day-to-day decisions. This improves employee satisfaction.
Disadvantages of Matrix Organizational Structures in Business Organizations
While it is an effective method, there are some specific disadvantages to the matrix structure.
- There is a higher level of complexity when it comes to management structure, which could confuse employees who are unsure of who exactly their manager is – who they report to. This may result in communication issues and even some divisiveness amongst the employees and supervisors.
- Employees may be dissatisfied with their work and their managers due to the slightly higher chance of miscommunications or laziness on their manager’s side. Such issues can affect attrition rates.
- As mentioned above, the cost to maintain a matrix organizational structure is another downside. With the need for more management, the overhead that the organization has is increased. This may reduce the available resources for other aspects needed by the organization.
- Managers may experience a sense of competition that is unhealthy as a result of having to share employees. Because employees are able to bring more experience and knowledge to each project, managers may want to capitalize on those skills and keep the employee to themselves. Such competitiveness with resources that are not as readily available could hinder productivity overall in the organization.
If you need help with any issues surrounding matrix structures, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.