Matrix Organization

The matrix organization is commonly used by construction com­panies or consultancy firms running more than one project at a time. This type of organization is also useful for special projects in the field of advanced technology. One of its most desirable key strengths is its inbuilt tendency to encourage integration of different experiences from multiple projects and its enabling the ready sharing of such experiences across multiple projects.

The main strengths of this organization are as follows: [4]

Figure 5.1 Matrix organization.

• There is strong communication between members of the project and between the functional departments in the main office.

• Individual projects enjoy considerable flexibility to operate as separate units. At the same time, expertise not normally attached to some particular project can be engaged from another project currently utilizing that expertise.

• With good planning, and coordination, a balance can be struck over the allocation of the common resources.

The main disadvantages are:

• The individuals in this organization enjoy no employ­ment security at the end of the project, although job security is usually less of a concern than in the independent project organization model.

• The project manager controls the administration, while managers of the departments at the Head Office are managing only the technical aspects. Where a technically-informed decision might have undesired impacts on the project’s cost or time targets, this might cause confusion between the project manager and functional department heads.

• Everyone has two managers.

• Potential for conflicts lurks in the overlap between the project manager and directors of different departments.

• A burden rests with the planning department at Head Office in the distribution of resources commensurate with each project’s requirements.

Such disadvantages can be minimized or avoided by an expe­rienced project manager, or by selected individuals whose project experience is commensurate with the challenge of achieving the necessary balance between the requirements of the project manager and the functional department at Head Office.