Matrix Organizations

Matrix Organizational Structure – A Complete Guide

This form of organization is helpful in maximizing the strength of both the functional and projectized structures. When it comes to matrix organization, think “Two Bosses”. Team reports to both functional and project manager. Communication also flows from team to two bosses. Team needs to work in project work as well as routine work. Matrix organization is blend of functional and projectized organization.

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Matrix Organizational Structure

There are three types of matrix organizations:

  1. Weak Matrix Organization
  2. Balance Matrix Organization
  3. Strong Matrix Organization

Matrix Organization

The power of the project manager differs in these three matrix organizations.

This type of organization is about to minimize the difference between the strength and weakness of Projectized and functional organization.

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Weak Matrix Organization

  • Power enjoyed by the functional manager completely.
  • Project manager works like a project coordinator or project expeditor.
  • Project coordinator can take Low bit decision on the allocation of the resources
  • Project expeditor works only like communicator point between the customer and team.
  • Project manager reports to functional manager


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Balance Matrix Organization

A balanced matrix structure has many of the same attributes as a weak matrix, but the project manager has more time and power regarding the project. A balanced matrix still has time accountability issues for all the project team members since their functional managers will want reports on their time within the project.In this type of organization

  • Reasonable authority to project manager.
  • Power enjoyed by the functional as well as project manager in the same manner.
  • Resources working on the project face a complex communication.
  • It is not clear – whom to report and who is the real boss.


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Strong Matrix Organization

Strong matrix equates to a strong project manager. In a strong matrix organization, many of the same attributes for the project team exits, but project manager gains power and time when it comes to project work. The project team may also have more time available for the project even though they may come from multiple departments within the organization.

  • Power is enjoyed by the project manager Low bit more than the functional manager.
  • PM can take decision on the allocation of the resources
  • PM can utilize his or her project management skill on the projects.


Comparison of different Matrix Organizations


Project Manager

Weak Matrix

Balanced Matrix

Strong Matrix



Project Coordinator, Project Expeditor, Project Leader

Project Manager

Project Manager



Split focus between project and function responsibilities

Project and Project Task

Project and Project Task



Less authority and power

Balance Authority and power

Full authority and power


Time on Project

Part Time

Full Time

Full Time



Functional Manager

A Functional Manager but shares authority and power

Manager of project managers

In today’s environment mostly organizations are combination of different organization structure.

Advantages of the Matrix Organizational Structure

  • The main benefit of matrix organization is that highly skilled and capable resources can be shared between the functional units and important strategic projects.
  • Communication is smooth across the boundaries.
  • It is a good environment for professionals to develop their career.
  • Project team can get the highly skilled personnel they require.
  • People can be selected based on skills and suitability.
  • Employees have job security.
  • Typically the efficiency of matrix organizations is higher.

Disadvantages of the Matrix Organizational Structure

  • Employees may have to report to two bosses, which can add confusion, and conflicts may arise, particularly in the balanced matrix environment where both bosses have equal authority and power.
  • Conflicts may arise between the bosses regarding the power and authority.
  • Employees may become confused regarding their roles and responsibilities, especially when they are assigned to a task which is somewhat different than what they were doing.
  • Sometimes unclear priorities may also confuse the employees.
  • Generally matrix organizations have more managers, which make overhead cost very high.
  • Many times in matrix organizations, workload is high. Employees have to do their regular work, along with the additional project related tasks.

How to overcome disadvantages of the Matrix Organizational Structure?

  • Well-defined and strong communication is very important to gain support from executives, managers, and employees. Organizations must communicate their vision, objectives and goal with the employees.
  • There must be close cooperation between the project manager and the functional manager to avoid confusion and conflicts.
  • Conflict between the project manager and the functional manager must resolve as early as possible, and in private.
  • Roles and responsibilities must be documented and clearly communicated to avoid the confusion.

Questions & Answers

  1. A form of project organization where power is evenly shared between the functional manager and the project manager is called
    • A. A tight matrix
    • B. A weak matrix
    • C. A balance matrix
    • D. A strong matrix

    Correct Answer: C

  2. You are a project manager in a large organization that uses a matrix structure. You have been asked to investigate what organizational structure your competitors use and how the choice affects their ability to manage projects successfully. Which type of organizational structure gives the LEAST amount of authority to project manager?
    • A. Functional
    • B. Matrix
    • C. Projectized
    • D. Profit Centers

    Correct Answer: A

  3. Which form of organization retains many characteristics of a functional organization and treats the project manager’s role as more of a coordinator or expediter than a manager?
    • A. Projectized
    • B. Functional
    • C. Strong Matrix
    • D. Weak Matrix

    Correct Answer: D

  4. A frequent complaint about matrix organization is that communications are:
    • A. Hard to automate
    • B. Close and inaccurate
    • C. Complex
    • D. Misleading

    Correct Answer: C

  5. In which type of organization are employees grouped by specialty?
    • A. Prioritized
    • B. Weak Matrix
    • C. Strong matrix
    • D. Functional

    Correct Answer: D

  6. Which type of organization is BEST for managing complex projects involving cross – disciplinary efforts?
    • A. Projectized
    • B. Functional
    • C. Line
    • D. Matrix

    Correct Answer: D

  7. A project team member is talking to another team member and complaining that many people are asking him to do things. If he works in a functional organization, who has the power to give direction to the team member?
    • A. The Project manager
    • B. The functional Manager
    • C. The team
    • D. Tight Matrix

    Correct Answer: B

Final Words

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About Aditi Malhotra

Aditi Malhotra is the Content Marketing Manager at Whizlabs. Having a Master in Journalism and Mass Communication, she helps businesses stop playing around with Content Marketing and start seeing tangible ROI. A writer by day and a reader by night, she is a fine blend of both reality and fantasy. Apart from her professional commitments, she is also endearing to publish a book authored by her very soon.
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