There are different hierarchical organizations in France: the functional organization, the divisional organization, the organization in project mode or even the matrix organization .
This article focuses on the matrix structure, which can be defined as a mixture of functional organization and divisional organization.
Matrix organization: what are the principles of operation?
The concept of matrix organization was born in the United States, in the aeronautics sector, in the late 1950s. It is designed to cope with an increasingly complex production of large industrialists.
The matrix organization can therefore be defined as a mixture between the functional organization and the divisional organization.
The famous matrix organization consists of cutting and then combining the functions of the company (research and development, marketing, sales, etc.) with the divisions (products, geographical areas, customers) and projects.
In a matrix organization, the employee depends on at least two authorities. On the one hand, the hierarchical superior of his function or division, on the other hand, the project manager who sets the objectives and supervises his working group .
The matrix organization is mainly set up in companies working on several projects using the same means.
Each project requires a certain combination of technical and administrative elements. The establishment of units comprising these two dimensions at once makes it possible to meet the requirements of each project.
What are the benefits of matrix organization?
The matrix organization promotes transversal relationships between employees and allows them to collaborate on specific projects. The formation of working groups to carry out a given project is therefore reinforced.
Team members are constantly modified as projects progress. Each employee confronts his method, his point of view, but also his skills.
One of the other advantages of this organization is also the regular transition from one project to another which becomes a source of motivation for the employees who do not appreciate the routine tasks.
What are the disadvantages of matrix organization?
But the matrix organization also has disadvantages. Indeed, there is a risk of internal conflict and stress .
The division of decision – making powers can also lead to staffing problems .
Indeed, the fact that employees are placed under the responsibility of several superiors can be difficult to manage when they issue contradictory orders. The staff does not always know which person to obey!
Moreover, in a matrix organization, employees become more specialized. This specialization is more expensive for the company, which has more difficulty replacing employees in case of unavailability.