Matrix structure was introduced in the 1960s in aerospace industry. NASA has a pioneering role in the use of this structure. The matrix structure is mostly built up around problems or projects in which the organization is involved. They are generally presented as the rows of the matrix. The columns of the matrix are the equivalent of regular, repetitive functions similar to functions in functional structure.
In matrix structure grouping is based on object and functional criteria, there is a double subordination of employees, possible conflicts of competence are addressed through detailed demarcation of responsibility, high flexibility and ease of adaptation to new goals, improved communication.
Matrix structure in the need for the implementation of certain special projects, which require the establishment of many project teams. Members of those teams are usually permanent employees of other units within the organization.
Delegating of workers may be carried out on the basis of:
- full exemption from the parent cells at the time of the execution of the project and the total subordination to appointed project team manager.
- double subordination of workers: to both the head of the parent cell, and the project team manager (this corresponds to a typical matrix structures).
Matrix organizational structure is quite complicated. Not every company can successfully implement it. Use of this structure can lead to many positive and negative phenomena in organization.
Advantages and disadvantages
- creates conditions for interdisciplinary work
- promotes the development of cooperation skills
- is flexible
- promotes a high identification with the objectives
- create automatic mechanisms for coordination
- promotes the emergence of synergies
- high management costs
- the possibility of anarchy
- longer time to perform tasks (foster discussions rather than action)
- Ranson, S., Hinings, B., & Greenwood, R. (1980). The structuring of organizational structures. Administrative science quarterly, 1-17.