The matrix structure of the organization is a structure that is created by the organization by merging two different departments. First department is functional department and second is project and divisional department. Before moving forward it is very important to understand what is functional structure and what is divisional structure to understand matrix structure properly. Let’s understand both different departments one by one:
What is functional structure of organization
Functional structure means to divide the work of the organization on the basis of its functions. for example- All work related to production will be happen in production department, all work related to HR will be happen in HR department, all work related to advertisement will be happen in advertisement department, and so on. This type of structure is successfully work in small organizations where work load is less.
What is divisional or project structure of organization
Divisional or project structure means to divide the work of the organization on the basis of projects. For example- All work of project one will be happen in project 1 department, all work of project two will be happen in project 2 department. Here, every project department has separate functional departments. For example- Project 1 has production department, HR department, IT department. Project 2 department will also have its own separate production department, HR department, IT department. Members of project 2 department cannot do their work through the department of other projects. We can say that functional department is a part of divisional or project department. This type of structure is suitable for large organizations that handle multiple projects at the same time and have heavy workloads.
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How the Matrix Structure Works in an Organization
We can say that the matrix structure is the combination of two different structures which we have discussed above. Whenever a new project is started in an organization, instead of hiring new people, the organization appoints old people to do the work of new project. We can say that the organization transfers the old ones to the new project according to their experience.
Let us briefly understand the matrix structure through a diagram:
If we see in the diagram there is a general manager who is the head of all the managers in the organization and also under him there are many managers under whom many different groups are working. If we see this diagram through vertically ( vertically means production manager- production group- production group- production group) then we can clearly see that the division of work is happening on the basis of functions of organization that’s why vertical side of diagram is based on functional structure.
If we see the diagram horizontally (horizontally means Project A Manager- production group- finance group- marketing group- personal group) then we can clearly see that the division of work is happening on the basis of projects and every project has its own separate departments that’s why horizontal side of diagram is based on project structure.
In matrix structure, there will always be two owners in a group with similar work and the group will be accountable to both of its owners i.e. they have to update their work related information to both of their owners. For example- If we see in the given diagram, the production group of project A will be accountable to Product A manager and also to the production manager. Similarly, Project A’s finance group will also be accountable to the Product A manager and the finance manager, i.e. the finance group has two owners, the product A manager and the finance manager.
Advantages of matrix structure
1) Project Manager has the advantage of selecting the best employee for the project
2) Being a dynamic structure, the responsiveness of the employees changes from time to time, the employees get used to managing new responsibilities which makes them better in their work.
3) As new responsibility comes on the employees, that responsibility turns into an opportunity for the employees as they get an opportunity to learn new skills.
Disadvantages of matrix structure
1) There can be many conflicts inside the structure and there can be delay in the work in the organization as it involves many people in same work.
2) Due to having two bosses, there may be confusion among the workers and because of this they may not be able to do their work well.