Majority of employees are working matrixed as they work on multiple teams, reporting to the same or different managers, according to Gallup. The survey revealed 84 percent of employees send a report to multiple managers and are working together in a different team. Matrix organisation is an effective system to direct employees to where they are most needed and add the most value in a team. Additionally, implementing matrix in a multinational industry is believed to both retain economies and flexibilities of the industry’s product-line and geographic business units.
On the other hand, however, the matrix structure is also the most complex system a company can utilise. It requires employees to have a dual reporting relationship to a project manager and functional manager. Thusly, it will be impractical for employees as it will state a more complex duty to produce. Sometimes, a matrixed report can result differently to each organisation owing to the company’s different expertise. Consequently, the two different understanding of a report will lead to an internal conflict within the industry. Patrick De Maeseneire in HBR said, “No complicated matrix structures. One man or woman. One number. In matrix structures, everybody claims success as his and points to everybody else when things go wrong.”
However, if your organisation is implementing a matrix organisation, you should find ways to avoid the drawbacks of the matrix structure. There should be an act to avoid internal conflict as well because it will decrease productivity in all corners of your organisation. Hence, here are two tips to improve your matrix organisation.
1. Set clear communication
Communication plays a crucial role as a matrix structure means requiring employees to write to multiple managers. Therefore, there should be real and immediate support about the matrix, including a clear project charter. Managers also need to spell out responsibilities and authority of the project manager. Additionally, there should be an indication to the fullest extent of the two or more manager relationship. Clear communication can also help eliminate worries about a conflict that might arise.
2. Bring consistent behaviour
There should be a synchronised behaviour between two or more managers involved in the reporting process. However, the functional manager should modify much of their managerial thinking and their usual operational procedures and activities in order to make the matrix works. And all manager involved should become a negotiation experts while not diminishing their goals of the matrix structure.
“Nothing in business is perfect, and all organisational structures involve trade-offs. If you are implementing a matrix at your company, start small, learn, and fine-tune as you progress.” Herman Vantrappen & Frederic Writz