Monday, March 16, 2009

Matrix Organizational Structure

In the 1960s and earlier, frequently big corporations were logically arranged into silos, in which divisions of employees reported to a line or functional manager with a Master’s degree. The attempt to restructure the organization to develop workable project management teams is referred to as a matrix organization.

There are a wide variety of matrix organizations that possible. The goal for each of them being that they struggle to balance the power between each leader's functional needs. Primary types of matrix's can vary from: The Weak Matrix, Strong Matrix, and Balanced Matrix which all possess an organizational structure. This article in cover the in-depth benefits and drawbacks of the Strong Matrix organizational structure in particular.

A Balanced Matrix Structure

You can argue whether or not absolute power breeds absolute corruption but, in the business world, absolute power can cause havoc and decreased productivity. Each department or group has their own function to contribute to a project. Balance, harmony, and cooperation between the different groups are key to a successful project. If one group supersedes another group, the focus shifts from attaining goals to dissension and power struggles. The ideal of teamwork breaks down into every group and individual being out for themselves.

Guidelines need to be in place to solve any problems that might arise due to conflicts with organizational boundaries. These guidelines should clearly state when each manager is in control of a particular worker. For example, make a rule stating that a worker may only be managed by the functional manager for projects lasting less than a week. For projects expected to take longer than one week's time, the rule could be that the project manager will control that employee. Another rule to consider is that one person may not be employed for two consecutive projects by the project manager.

A variety of possible rules and structures may be imposed to achieve the goal of balancing power between project and functional managers so that a win/lose condition is avoided. Obviously, the balanced matrix takes its name from the balance of power that results in this structural format.

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