Matrix organizational Structure

Matrix organizational Structure

A matrix organizational structure combines two or more different organizational structures. These other administrative systems are joined by the matrix organization, which gives them balance.

Project team members typically report to both a functional manager and a project manager, creating two chains of authority. Due to the lack of an organizationally defined hierarchy between these two types of managers, these positions are flexible and not set.

Matrix organizational Structure

To enhance strengths and compensate for weaknesses, this two-boss matrix will make use of the best organizational structures and management approaches. This way, if an organization is working on producing two products or services at the same time, it can organize both and use that duality to its advantage through the matrix organizational structure.

What is the Function of a Matrix Organizational Structure?

An organizational chart is not the only thing that can be stacked on top of one another in a matrix framework. It takes meticulous planning and team collaboration tools to use matrix organizations.

The way matrix structures function is by promoting resource sharing and cross-team collaboration among initiatives. Simply stated, a matrix organization structure employs two chains of command to make businesses more dynamic and reorganizes them to maximize productivity.

Matrix Organisational Structure

Types Organizational matrix structure 

The power dynamics between the functional manager and the project manager are what distinguish these two kinds of matrix structures from one another. Let’s examine their differences.

Matrix Organization Is Weak

In a weak matrix structure, the functional manager is the highest authority in the decision-making process throughout the project and is in charge of all project management areas. On the other side, the project manager reports to the functional manager and has much less power.

Balanced Matrix Structure

The project manager has more power in this matrix structure than in a weak matrix company. The central managerial authority in the decision-making process is still the functional manager.

Organizational Matrix Strength

The project manager has the same authority as the functional manager in a strong matrix company if not more. Resource management and task management are under the project manager’s authority.

Advantages of the Matrix

Advantages of the Matrix
  • Project Objectives Clear:  Project objectives will not only be highly visible through the project office but will also be balanced with the objectives of the functional organization.
  • Project Integration: There is a clear and workable mechanism for achieving project integration of subsystems and work packages across functional departmental lines. Coordination across functional lines can easily be achieved.
  • Efficient Use of Resources: The maximum efficient utilization can be made of scarce company resources. It is the most efficient use of manpower since personnel can be used only part-time if desired and can be shared between projects. It is the most efficient use of facilities, machinery, equipment, and other resources since these resources can be shared between or among projects. Allocation of scarce resources can be negotiated between project and functional management, or corporate priorities may be established. The matrix is therefore less expensive than an equivalent pure project organization.
  • Information Flow: Information dissemination should be very effective since there is a provision for both horizontal and vertical flow. Horizontal flow provides for project systems information to flow from functional unit to functional unit. Vertical flow provides for detailed disciplinary information to flow from project to project, and to various levels of management. Information of use to other projects is not locked up within a single project.
  • Retention of Disciplinary Teams: Teams of functional experts and specialists are kept together even though projects come and go. Therefore technology and know-how are not lost when a project is completed. Specialists like to work with other specialists in the same discipline, and they will be better able to continually exchange ideas and information. As a result, when teams of functional specialists work together, a synergistic effect occurs, resulting in increased innovation and productive output, even though individually they may be working on different projects.
  • High Morale:  Morale problems occur less frequently since the worker in the matrix responds first to the morale-building experience of working on a successful project resulting in visible achievements. This will be true whether the achievement is a ballistic missile, an aircraft, a power plant, or the introduction of a new soap into the marketplace. Secondly, worker morale is normally higher when they can work with their fellow specialists. Thirdly, by retaining his functional “home,” the specialist may have a clearer career progression up the functional ladder. On the other hand, if he finds that his talents and interests are multidisciplinary, he can set his career objectives toward the project office.
  • Development of Project Managers: The matrix is an excellent training ground for prospective project managers since promising candidates can easily be spotted in the multidisciplinary project environment. A common occurrence would be the transfer of a person who had demonstrated the ability to work across functional departmental lines to the project office as an assistant project manager. His career progression would then be to project manager, which is an excellent path leading to top management.
  • Project Shutdown: In a matrix organization project termination is not the traumatic and painful event that it can be in a pure project organization. It is not uncommon for a large aerospace or construction project to have several thousand people working in a pure project organization. What do you do with several thousand people when the project is completed? Large layoffs are almost unavoidable since only a relatively few people can be relocated unless major buildups in another project are occurring. Matrix projects are normally smaller with fewer people overall involved. In addition, the people are spread across a whole functional organization and each department has only a few people to relocate.

Problems of the Matrix

Problems of the Matrix

There are some drawbacks and issues with the matrix structure, but they are manageable. Knowing what issues might arise is “half the battle” in dealing with them. The matrix structure has the following drawbacks by design:

  • Two managers: The fact that the project’s employees report to two managers is a significant drawback. Any kind of conflict scenario could easily lead to someone playing “the man in the middle.” Playing one boss off against the other by project employees may result in additional conflict issues.
  • Complexity: Because a matrix organization superimposes a functional organization on top of a pure project organization, it is intrinsically more complicated than either one. The following issues reflect this complexity:
  • Monitoring and controlling challenges: Complexity arises from the sheer number of managers and employees required, as well as the sheer number of individuals who need to be kept informed. Fortunately, contemporary computer methods have assisted in keeping this issue under control, but it is essentially still a “people” issue.
  • Complex Information Flow:  Only because there are so many people and organizational divisions engaged is this a problem. Before making any significant choices in their respective areas of responsibility, the functional manager and the project manager must be certain that they have spoken with one another.
  • Fast Reaction Difficult: The project manager occasionally struggles to get things done quickly, mostly because there are so many people who need to be considered. Since the project manager in the matrix typically lacks significant vested power, extensive negotiating is required. The main goal of project management is to avoid this issue, but it can become one if the management structure forbids the project manager from making decisions without consulting functional and top management. The issue won’t arise if the grid is functioning.
  • Conflicting Instructions: The likelihood of conflicting instructions and advice always rises in more complex organizations with two lines of authority.
  • Project priorities and resource allocation are serious issues in a matrix company with many projects. Naturally, each project manager will place the highest priority on his or her endeavor. Each functional manager will similarly believe that setting goals and allocating resources within his department is his sole responsibility. As a consequence, decisions about project priorities and frequently about resource allocation need to be made at a high level. This frequently places an excessive and unwanted burden on the matrix’s chief executive officer. Due to this issue, some companies now employ a manager of projects, also known as a super project manager. His main duties would be to regularly reassess project objectives and consult with higher levels of management to ensure equitable resource allocation. This endeavor may be very helpful in lowering tension and conflict within the matrix.
  • Project and functional management’s goals and objectives must constantly be balanced, though this battle is frequently invisible. While a functional manager might prioritize technical excellence over schedules, a powerful project manager might overemphasize time and budget constraints. Top management is responsible for maintaining a careful equilibrium between the objectives of the project and functional management.
  • Potential for Conflict: As we’ll cover in a later part of this chapter, there is always a chance of conflict when two project managers are vying for the same resources. This conflict might come across as being mainly a power struggle. However, it can also manifest itself through project mischief, foot-dragging, and backstabbing. To achieve high performance, conflict, and rivalry can also be beneficial; however, they must never turn into animosity and strife between individuals. Conflict is unavoidable in project work; the challenge in matrix management is keeping it productive.
  • Effects of Conflict on Management: Given that the matrix organization is characterized by conflict and tension, special consideration must be given to the people who will serve as both project and functional managers. The capacity of individuals to work successfully under stress varies greatly. Conflict can cause stress, anxiety, and a decrease in work satisfaction, especially the role conflict that is characteristic of a two-boss situation. Making sure that potential managers have a high tolerance for conflict situations requires a lot of focus.

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