Everything You Need to Know About Matrix Organizations




When doing your PMP exam prep, you will come across different organizational structures, one of which is the matrix organizational structure. Let’s help you get some of those questions right and explore what the matrix organizational structure is all about.

What Is A Matrix Organization?

The matrix organizational structure is considered one of the most complex reporting structures an organization can implement. This structure incorporates more than a single vertical line of managers to be reported to. So in general, the employees in this structure do not have one boss, but several.

The reporting relationships are set up more like a grid, or as the name suggest, a matrix. Employees have dual relationships in the organization both to the product and functional managers.

Most organizations that have a system where a lot of cooperation is required between different departments use the matrix organizational structure. A reason to implement the matrix organizational structure is that it is a good way to increase productivity. This organizational structure is mostly used by companies that produce diverse products and services.

As it is observed in the functional organizational structure, it can become monotonous for the employees doing the same task every day, but the matrix organizational structure give a little more flexibility to the employees when it comes to approaching different tasks. Employees coordinate with colleagues in different departments and use their skill and expertise in different fields to develop new ideas and overcome different problems.

Advantages Of Matrix Structure Based Organizations

People doing their project management professional certification will be asked the question, why would an organization want to prefer going with the matrix organizational structure? For this purpose, you will need to know the advantages that different organizations can enjoy by implementing the Matrix Organization structure.

  • One of the most advantageous factors of using a matrix organization structure that all the resources of the organization are utilized efficiently. This reduces cost since personnel and equipment can be circulated throughout the organization as needed.
  • Another very useful advantage is that projects can be coordinated well throughout departments, since the entire department heads and managers are aware of the project at hand, there is lesser room for error.
  • Information is communicated well throughout the organization and mistakes can be highlighted easily as more people are in the loop.
  • Since the whole organization works in sync, decision making is done fast and time consuming processes are not a problem anymore.
  • Matrix organizational structure also increases the employees confidence when dealing with their competing bosses as it prepares them to deliver the best that would satisfy everyone.

Disadvantages Of Matrix Structure Based Organizations

Although the matrix organizational structure is very effective with diverse product and service providers, there are some problems that produce disadvantages with this method.

  • The first thing to be on the lookout for in a matrix organization is the internal complexity that can come with this structure. When there are too many people to report to on a project, confusion can occur whether all the information is to be shared among everyone or not.
  • Another disadvantage occurs when an organization has machine, equipment and personnel to share, the load on the shared resources can become too much at times and cause damage or drop in morale of the employee.
  • Communication problems occur when there are multiple people directing the same project. As an example, employees can receive different methods of approach for the same thing.
  • Employees and managers may be divided on some issues when faced with a problem out of the ordinary. In this case the upper management may have to step in to give the final word, but this sort of a problem if recurs too much, it’ll be a time consuming.

The matrix organizational structure works well with companies that are based on innovating and creating solutions to problems, but if not done correctly, it can fail and cause a big rift in the organization. For the matrix system to succeed there has to be a lot of unity among the managers as they will be the ones directing the employees through all day to day tasks.

For your PMP exam prep, it is essential to keep in mind different organizational structures and how they fit in with different organizational processes. 

Feel free to reach out if you are looking for some PMP exam questions and their answers.

About The Author
Shamsah
VP Channel Sales at QuickStart

Shamsah Malik

Shamsah is an entrepreneurial, innovative professional with over ten years of sales, relationship management and business development experience within highly competitive SaaS, information technology, and SLED markets.