Gallup study showed majority (84 percent) employees are “matrixed” to some extent, meaning that they work on multiple teams every day, reporting to the same or different managers. However, is it good for all-inclusive business to allow employees to be “matrixed”?
Matrix organisation structure in depth
The Economic Times defines matrix organisation as a structure in which there is more than one of reporting managers. It is a complex but helpful strategy in achieving ultimate goal such as reaching higher productivity. Usually, matrix is used by organisation that has diverse product lines and services. Ada Demb, an Emeritus professors at the Ohio State University, added that matrix will be very useful in any organisation where activity needs to be organised in two dimensions. “IBM for many years had the quintessential matrix organisation, shifting from product to customer to region. In fact, in some situations, more than one matrix is used,” Demb said.
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Therefore, it is likely that matrix can be beneficial for business where reporting needs to be made two or the multiply. In organisation grouped by function and product, for example, each product line will have management that corresponds to each function. So, when organisation has three functions and three products, the matrix structure will have nine potential managerial interactions. However, while matrix strategy is good for firms, it will result differently to each organisation owing to the company’s different expertise.
Hence, to understand whether matrix organisation suits your company or not, first you need to understand the advantage and disadvantage of this strategy. These are the benefits and drawbacks of matrix structure taken from Project Management Institute.
- Project objectives will be highly visible through office project and will be balanced with objectives of functional organisation.
- Project integration is easier as a clear and workable mechanism of matrix can coordinate across functional lines more easily.
- Efficient use of resources as resources can be shared between or among projects.
- There are two information provision in matrix, vertical and horizontal. Vertical flow provides detail information, while horizontal provides for project systems information to flow from functional to functional.
- Retention of disciplinary teams as teams of functional experts and specialist are kept together even though projects come and go.
- High morale as matrix allows employees to respond to morale-building experience first which results in visible achievements.
- Development of project managers since promising candidates can easily be spotted in multidisciplinary project environment.
- In terms of project shutdown in matrix organisation, termination will not be as traumatic and painful that it can be in a pure project organisation.
- In any type of conflict, employee can be “the man in the middle.” Problems of conflict can also be caused by project personnel playing one boss against the other.
- Matrix organisation tends to be more complex in its practice, since it is superimposition of one on the other. Additionally, complexity will generate more problems such as: difficulties in monitoring and controlling, complex information flow, fast reaction difficult, and conflicting guidance.
- When it comes to priorities, each manager might think that their project is more important than the other.
- There will be constant struggle in management goals. It will also be harder to balance goals and objectives of project and functional management.
- Project work conflict is often enviable, keeping it constructive is problem in matrix management.
- Effects of conflict on management can result in stress, anxiety, and reduced job satisfaction.
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