Matrix management structure: advantages and disadvantages

The matrix control structure is considered one of the most complex structures of the adaptive type. It was originally developed for the space industry, but later it began to be actively used in the electronics industry and in the field of high technology. There was a need for the rapid implementation of technological changes, and at the same time to ensure that the capabilities of skilled labor were used to the maximum. All this stimulated the emergence of such a managerial structure.

A matrix organizational management structure is created by combining linear and software-digital technologies. According to the first system (vertically), specific individual areas of organizational activity are managed. As for the program-target form (horizontal), it is used to exercise control over production, supply, and other areas.

The scale of use of such a structure is very extensive, which indicates its high efficiency, even though the dual subordination system sometimes contributes to problems with personnel management.

The matrix control structure can be of two types. In the first of these, the project manager liaises with two groups of employees. First of all, these are the members of the project team who are part of its structure on an ongoing basis. In addition to them, communication is made with those subordinates who belong to all other functional units subordinate to him temporarily.

As for the second type, in this case, only those executors who are included in the necessary structural departments are temporarily subordinate to the head.

The project manager in the matrix structure is responsible for combining all the resources and activities that are relevant to the implementation of the ongoing program. In order for him to achieve his goal, all material and financial resources go to his complete disposal. The head has the right to highlight the tasks that must be performed in the first place, as well as determine the timing of their implementation.

The matrix management structure has the following advantages:

  1. The simultaneous use of several activities in the framework of ongoing programs.

  2. Getting high-quality results for many projects and programs.

  3. Involvement in business in order to achieve the specific goals of a larger number of managers and specialists of all levels.

  4. Overcoming the obstacles that are created in the organization itself. Moreover, the development of functional specialization does not suffer.

  5. Reducing the burden on the top-level manager due to the redistribution of some part of the powers to middle-level managers.

The fact is that, despite the advantages that the matrix control system possesses, many practices are very skeptical about its use. The theoretical basis of this system is constructed in such a way that its implementation in practice becomes sometimes very problematic.

There is a considerable list of disadvantages that such a structure has:

  1. In order to bring it to life, it is necessary to train employees, which takes a lot of time.

  2. The structure is very cumbersome and complex, which entails problems not only with its implementation, but also with operation.

  3. Within the system, there is no clear distribution of the rights of each participant, therefore, there is a tendency towards anarchy.

  4. There are difficulties with the use of promising employees in this company.

  5. In times of crisis, the matrix management structure has a low degree of efficiency.

  6. Very often, the struggle for power begins as part of the implementation of this system, because the governing powers are not clearly distributed.


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