The matrix organization is an organizational structure in which the work is divided in projects. Each project is a profit center and is looked after by the project manager. Each project team has functional level employees that report to their respective functional managers and their project manager. The advantages of such structure are as follows:
- Ideal for project based organization
- Resource sharing
- Cost reduction
- Better coordination between the team
- Better balance between time, cost and performance
- Shared authority and responsibility
- Two bosses can create conflict of authority
- Limited applicability
In the matrix structure, the personnel and other resources that a project manager requires are not permanently assigned to the project, but are obtained from a pool controlled and monitored by a functional manager. Personnel required to perform specific functions in a particular project are detailed for the period necessary, and are then returned to the control of he functional manager for reassignment. Discipline supervisors are responsible for the efforts of the groups constituting assigned project personnel and for other required resources. The members of the groups and their supervisors are charged with the timely completion of the different tasks and are responsible to the project manager and the functional manager.
Example: An engineer assigned for a specific period to design a subsystem of a project is responsible to the functional manager for completing the task as scheduled, and to the project manager for providing an acceptable design. The two managers report to a matrix executive.
The project manager in the matrix works with the functional manager to establish the resource requirements and their timetable utilization on the project, and to work out the revisions required as the project effort proceeds. The functional manager is responsible for assuring that resources are utilized in the manner best serving the interests of the organization. The formal role of the matrix executive or top-level management is similar to the top subordinate to the position. The general manager is literally on top of or outside the basic matrix structure and therefore should have a clear perspective of all activities and personnel within the matrix. Here, however, the similarity ends. The general manager leads a dual command structure, the functional and the project hierarchies, which must be balanced through a careful blend of autocratic and cooperative managerial styles. Participation is required, for example, in the arbitration of technical disputes and in resource allocations. Autocracy is essential to the establishment, enforcement, and revision of priorities among and between the functional and project entities within the matrix. This role involve the three major managerial concerns:
• balancing power - The balance of power involves allocating both project and functions budgets, orchestrating personnel assignments, and applying schedule pressures and others.
• managing the decision context - Management of the decision context is accomplished by establishing strategy, policy, and control systems to assure that decisions are made to benefit the overall organization rather than the individual functional department or project.
• setting standards - High performance standards start at the top. They must established and enforced by the general manager, since his is the only position in the matrix with the perspective and power to require top quality performance.
Advantages of the matrix organization
• It attempts to retain the benefits of both structures ( functional organization and project team structure ).
• Coordinates resources in a way that applies them effectively to different projects.
• Staff can retain membership on teams and their functional department colleagues.
Disadvantages of the matrix organization
• Potential for conflict between functional vs. Project groups.
• Greater administrative overhead.
• Increase in managerial overhead
The advantages of a matrix include
•Individuals can be chosen according to the needs of the project.
•The use of a project team which is dynamic and able to view problems in a different way as specialists have been brought together in a new environment.
•Project managers are directly responsible for completing the project within a specific deadline and budget.
Whilst the disadvantages include
•A conflict of loyalty between line managers and project managers over the allocation of resources.
•If teams have a lot of independence can be difficult to monitor.
•Costs can be increased if more managers (ie project managers) are created through the use of project teams.
`resource sharing cost reduction. Better coodonation betwean th team . Shared authority and responsibility. Staff tetain membership. It attenpts to retain the benefits of both structures.
Limited capacity. Potential for conflict betwean functional vs project groups. Greater administration overhead. Increase in managerial overhead
Advantage of matrix organization