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Matrix Structure PDF
(236 votes, average 3.47 out of 5)
Written by Ashim Gupta   
Thursday, 01 October 2009 03:53

Matrix Structure

The matrix structure superimposes the product structure laterally over the functional structure (Recommended reading: functional vs. divisional structure). The result is creation of dual line of authority that is balanced by top managers. It is formulated with the desire to maximize the strengths and minimizing the weakness of the both structures.
Matrix structure
The matrix structure has three distinctive components

  1. Top Manager: The top manager heads the entire matrix and balances the dual-chain of commands. He is critical to conflict management that intrinsically occurs due to dual chain of commands underneath him.
  2. Two matrix managers: For each matrix team or sub-group, there is one functional manager and one product manager. While functional manager’s role is to coordinate and maximize the potential of specialists across different products, the product manager’s role is to coordinate different functionalities of the owning product. 
  3. Teams: These are the teams that directly report to the two matrix managers. Each team operates on a single product’s specialized functionality.

Strengths of Matrix structure

  1. Accessibility of Specialists: The functional knowledge is shared between all products, since the functional manager is responsible for technical coordination; he is able to facilitate knowledge sharing across the product lines. ‘
  2. Flexible team resources: The teams are fluid and the specialists can be interchanged between products, this provides better career growth and variety for the team members.
    • It provides an opportunity for employees to pursue either technical or management skills based on their interest. Many employees find this motivating and very satisfying.
    • It also maximizes the usage of resources since new products or changes can be incorporated quickly by moving and regrouping the teams based on the necessity.  
    • The organization is more adaptable to external changes since resource exchange and regrouping is encouraged and desired by both employees and the organization.
  3. Better intra-team communication: The presence of dual chain of command results in better communication between both functional groups across same product, and product groups within same function.

Weaknesses of Matrix Structure

  1. Role & Authority Ambiguity: The dual reporting lines create a lot of confusion related to management role and authority demarcation within the structure. How much control does product manager has over the functional requirements of the product? The dual authority implies that the final product needs to be agreed by both product and functional managers, if this cannot happen in a constructive manner, the cost of management defeats the benefits of the structure.
  2. Hard to Manage: Everyone in the matrix reports to two managers with complimentary responsibilities, proper coordination requires lot of meetings and excellent interpersonal skills. It requires a lot of effort to maintain power balance and resolve frequent conflicts that arise from role ambiguity. At the very top level, the entire matrix is managed by a single manager, if too many decisions are referred to him, he may get overloaded with the task of running the matrix.

Essential components for successful matrix

  1. Performance Management: Dual reporting lines results in tracking of individual’s performance by two bosses instead of one, the bosses also own very different areas, product vs. technical functionality.  Hence, a satisfactory career growth depends upon that rating of two bosses, whether their ratings match or contradict. For an individual it’s double task of proving himself to two supervisors. If the authority of performance evaluation is given to only one boss, then the positional power of other boss reduces considerably and thereby his effectiveness. Hence the structure tends to reward the political skills of individuals rather than their core competencies and is often perceived as unfair. Designing a performance management system that continually enhance the productivity and motivation of an employee becomes very challenging, since the structure has inbuilt ambiguity and conflict.
  2. Conflict Management:  Matrix structure requires a well articulated conflict management, clear role definitions, kind of positional power, cultural and behavioral interventions.

Conditions for Matrix

  1. Dual Focus: The organization’s environment or strategy must exert pressure to generate rapidly changing products that are technically sophisticated. Such dual focus advocates the need to create a matrix as a way to maximize the outcome of both product and functionality.
  2. Shared Resources: There must be sufficient pressure to share the technical resources across the products, the resources must be perceived as quite scarce. It can be due to various factors:
    1. Small to medium organization with multiple functional products.
    2. The required specialization is hard to obtain and duplicate.
    3. Strong interdependence between the technical tasks.
    4. Rapidly evolving core technology.
  3. Uncertain environment: The environment that the organization operates under is unpredictable, highly competitive and technically complex. These favorable conditions must exist to support the need for a dual focus.
Comments (35)
  • Anonymous
    Clear and simple explaination... :) liked it... :D
  • Anonymous
    whats the :cry: :cry: chain of command within this structure?
  • sadiya
    its gud n very much useful.... :) :) :) n thank u fr useful note
  • Imelda  - Matrix
    This is so mean to me. Thanks a lot :twisted:
  • Elizabeth
    Hi I need an example of matrix and flat structure for one of my assisgnement any
    help thanks a lot
  • Arooj
    its very gud website!! nd ve alot of explanation :P :D :) :twisted: 8) :P :D
  • seyla  - good
    Explanation is very clear
  • kayley  - HELP
    i need to know how a commnication flows through the matrix structure its very
    important that i find out, my GCSE counts on this.
  • dee  - hi,
    thanks for the help....realy help a lot in doing my assignment.......... :lol:
    :lol: :P
  • sahil jain  - Matrix Structure
    hey cn u mail me ur assignment
  • Anonymous
    we have to choose which type of structure would meet our needs---for-profit
    nursing home that is part of a larger chain. Any suggestions?
  • Nunya Biz  - What the...........
    Looks like "raising the bar" for the worker, and "lowering the bar
    for management". Should be great for government and is a great
    micro-management business model.

    One quick question. What does the guy doing the work do when he gets conflicting
    orders from his multiple managers? :roll:
  • neha vithaldas
    really endearing to read this article.....thnku so much :)
  • adriana
    very useful i used it for my coursework business studies thax a lot :D :lol:
    :P :twisted:
  • Anonymous
    it's really useful :P :D
  • Anonymous
    great explanation! best i've seen so far :D
  • koli  - :) its good
    :P i like dis x
  • andrew mutenhabundo  - re:
    informative and cognitively engaging.may i pose a question, does matrix
    structure apply to service organisations such as education?
  • Tina Foligno  - functional hierarchy vs. strong matrix structure
    Thanks for a great article. In market with mature technologies or
    product/service categories, will a combination of functional hierarchy and
    strong matrix structure work for company's organization? Or should company
    organize in a strong matrix structure?
  • jhane  - excellent,,,,,,,,,
    :roll: :P it is very good that was totally a good answer in management....
  • kunsl singh  - matrix
    thanks to sharing such clear and diversified notes
  • joseph  - matrix structure
    its a good item.
    but can u send it to me through my email?
  • mohammed majeed  - learning materials
    I want be learning from your site
  • mercy  - matrix
    thanks alot,this is a very useful piece
  • Anonymous
    doing an exam on organisational structure tomorrow, can you think of nay more
    examples of companies operating this system and do you think that ...
    organisational structure is a source of order in the workplace and in wider
  • Ashim Gupta  - High technology industry
    The high technology industries like software & semiconductors usually have some
    form of matrix structure since they usually satisfy all the 3 conditions for a
    matrix. They usually have multiple products created using similar technology,
    high competition and shorter product life cycles.
  • mandeep kaur  - very well,can you please give me a example of matr
  • Nishantha Ekanayake
    Very well written.I wonder whether you can help to answer below question.
    "In which situation Matrix structure suits better than Divisional


  • Ashim Gupta  - Similar products, rapid changes
    Matrix structure is better than divisional when different products use similar
    technology but they keep changing rather rapidly. A mobile company has similar
    products like smartphones, cellphones and other hand held devices that use
    similar technology, but phones with new features need to be launched in rapid
    succession. However the art of organizing is in eliminating the contradiction of
    each structure and thereby making it productive and efficient.
  • anubhavsaxena  - matrix v/s fuctional

    very clear and consise explanation.
  • eve  - matrix
    Useful note
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