Matrix organizations

Matrix organizations

According to Stanley Davis and Paul Lawrence, the matrix organization is "any organization that employs a multiple command system that includes not only, the multiple command structure, but also related support mechanism and an associated organizational culture and behaviour pattern". A matrix organization, also referred to as the "multiple command system", has two chains of the command. One chain of command is functional, in which the flow of authority is vertical. The second chain is horizontal depicted by a project term, which is led by the project or group manager who is an expert in his term's related area of organization.


1.       Dual benefit: it is combination of functional Departmentation and purpose Departmentation, technical specialization and emphasis on overall goal.

2.       Better planning and control: it focused the organizational structure on the specified projects, thus, enabling better planning and control.

3.       Environmental adaptively: it is the most appropriate structure to respond rapidly to the external experience is the best guide to establishing rules and procedures.

4.       Better motivation: as any department or division has to harness its efforts towards accomplishment of a single project, employees are effectively motivated.

5.       Development of the personnel: it provides an excellent framework for training and developing able and efficient managers who, under traditional structures, are subjected to restricted functional specialization.             


Complex relationships: as the matrix organization does not follow, "one subordinate one boss" principal, and an employee is often required to report to more than one superior, the result is likely to be an anarchy in which the subordinates are at a loss to identify their respective bosses.

Power struggle: due to duality of command, intensive power struggle may arise between project and functional department heads, which may an early completion of the projects.

Excessive emphasis on group decision making: a matrix decision organization requires joint decision making as regards sharing and or organizational resources. In the absence of a spirit of accommodation and understanding, it may not always be possible to make quick decisions, so vital for the successful completion of the projects. Too much of democracy may mean inadequate action.

Excessive emphasis on the conflict resolution: a matrix organization sets a great store by identifying and conforming conflict situations, which are bound to arise as regards sharing of resources. However, too much of self analysis and accent on the resolution of the conflicts may retard efforts towards accomplishment of the objectives.

Heterogeneity: a matrix organization is brought into being temporary drafting of people, mainly professions from diverse departments. It is therefore difficult to coordinate and control the functioning of a heterogeneous group, particularly in the absence of a line authority.

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