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Learning to Unlock the Complexities of a Matrix Organization

The Matrix Organizational structure has a great influence on Project Management. The Matrix has evolved to fill the need of an organization to deal with great project size and complexity. This has increased organizational complexity.

However, it has also greatly added to the versatility and effectiveness of Project Management. The Matrix has permitted Project Management to be effective on both large and small projects.

The Matrix Organization

A Matrix Organization is a flexible approach to structuring teams and sharing resources.

A Matrix Organization is one in which there is a dual or multiple managerial accountability and responsibility. It may mean different things to different people and in different industries.

  • There are usually 2 chains of command. One along functional lines and the other along project, product, or client lines. Geographic location is another chain of command.
  • The Matrix Organization form may vary depending on what position the Project Manager holds. Based on the organizational principles, a Matrix will be considered first where there is a balance of power between the project and functional managers.

Yet, a Matrix Organization is not for everyone. It will only work if the entire organization, from top management to project personnel, are thoroughly sold on the Matrix concept. When the Matrix is accepted as a way of life, it can bring great advantages to the company in improving output and profit.

Discovering the Advantages of Matrix Organizations

A Matrix will work if everyone involved is a believer and every effort is expended to make it work. When this happens, an outstanding project achievement can result.

  1. Retention of Disciplinary Teams. Teams of functional experts and specialists are kept together even though projects come and go. A synergy occurs resulting in increased innovation and productivity.
  1. High Morale. Workers in the Matrix respond first to the morale-building experience of working on a successful project resulting in visible achievements. Very seldom is there any moral problem occurring.
  1. Development of Project Managers. It is an excellent training ground for prospective Project Managers. Promising candidates can easily be spotted in the multidisciplinary project environment.

Matrix Management may have its complexities and disadvantages. But, advantages always surpass disadvantages when companies are equipped with the fundamental concepts and framework of a Matrix Organization. This approach enables organizations to solve multidisciplinary problems.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the Matrix Organization? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Matrix Organization (Primer) here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Joseph Robinson

Joseph Robinson is the Vice President of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is a marketplace for business documents--specifically, documents used by folks who work in a business function (e.g. Marketing, Corporate Finance, IT, etc.). These documents can range from Excel Financial Models to customizable PowerPoint Templates to "How-To"​ Business Frameworks, covering management topics from Digital Transformation to Growth Strategy to Lean Management. You can peruse a full list of management topics available on Flevy here. Prior to Flevy, Joseph worked as an Associate at BCG and holds an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. You can connect with Joseph on LinkedIn here.

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