Matrix Organization

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What is a Matrix Organization? Meaning.

A matrix organizational structure depends on both vertical and horizontal authority and flow of communication (hence the term: 'matrix'). The traditional hierarchical, vertical structure is complemented by a horizontal structure.

The Matrix Organization (MO) is an organization structure that is matrix-shaped. It has 2 axes, rather than a pyramid-shape. The vertical hierarchy is overlaid by some form of lateral authority, influence, or communication.


Typical for MOs are their dual (or even multiple) command structures.

Employees must deal with dual lines of authority (violating the traditional "one-boss" or "Unity of Command" (Fayol) principle of management), dual sources of reward and punishment, dual reporting and communication channels, shared responsibility and accountability. This means working in a matrix structure from an employee's perspective can be quite challenging and even tricky; for one has to use all his / her interpersonal, social, and relational skills to manage multiple bosses.


MOs require extensive and very effective communication systems and can result in higher overhead because they create more management positions.

Typically, but not necessarily, it has product groups on the vertical axis and Strategic Business Units on the horizontal axis.

Teams of functional personnel (e.g., manufacturing, research and development, finance, and sales) report to a manager with profit responsibility bearing a title such as business manager, category manager, or new product manager. The functional personnel also report to their functional bosses, who are responsible for maintaining the quality of functional performance.

The MO is at the center of a continuum between purely functional type organizations and purely product type organizations. On the functional end of this continuum is the traditional hierarchical structure divided along functional, lines such as marketing, production, and accounting. On the other end of this continuum is the pure product organization. Here, a separate team is formed, duplicating the functional structure but organized under a product manager.


The MO was described by Jay R. Galbraith in a 1971 article called "MO Designs".

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Advantages of a Matrix Organization
1. Individuals can be chosen according to the needs of the projects.
2. The use of project teams which are dynamic (...)
Disadvantages of a Matrix Organization
1. A conflict to loyalty between the line manager and project managers over the allocations of resources.
2. Projec (...)
Matrix Organization Effectivity
In a manufacturing unit, in how far the matrix organization is effective more specifically if the organization has only (...)
Public Matrix Organizations
Is it possible to place public or governmental organizations (for example the Police) into a matrix organization? Who ca (...)
Complexity of the Matrix Organisation (MO)
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Matrix and Virtual Organizations
What similarities exist between matrix organizations and virtual organizations? (...)
🔥 NEW What are Alternatives for a Matrix Organization?
The discussions here raise the issue: if an organisation is embarking on several ongoing development programmes at one t (...)
What is a Matrix Organization? Definition
Any organization with a multiple command system whereby an employee might be accountable to one superior for overall per (...)
Similarities with Bureaucratic Organization?
What are similarities between a matrix organization and a bureaucratic organization? (...)
Unity of Command in Matrix Organization
In the present scenario wherein many organizations prefer matrix reporting especially when teams are distributed geograp (...)


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When Matrix Organization?
Under what circumstances would a matrix organization be the most appropriate structure? Why? (...)

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Organizational Structures: Principles, Types and Diferences

Organizational Structure, Organizational Design
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Compare also: Organization Chart  |  Hierarchical Organization  |  Organizational Configurations

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