Matrix management brings together managers and employees from different departments to collaborate with each other towards the accomplishment of the organizational goals. As much as it is beneficial, matrix management also has limitations. Hence, companies should understand its benefits and pitfalls before implementing this management technique.
The following are some of the advantages of matrix management:
Effective Communication of Information
Because of the hybrid nature of the matrix structure, it enables different departments to closely work together and communicate frequently in order to solve project issues. This leads to a proficient information exchange among leaders and subordinates. Consequently, it results to developed strategies, enhanced performance and quick productivity.
Efficient Use of Resources
Resources can be used efficiently in the organisation since it can be shared among functions and projects. As the communication line is more open, the valuable knowledge and highly skilled resources are easily distributed within the organisation.
The matrix structure promotes democracy. And with the employees working on a team, they are motivated to perform their duties better. The opinions and expertise of the employees are brought to the table and considered by the managers before they make decisions. This leads to employee satisfaction, empowerment and improved performance.
Since the employees communicate with each other more frequently, decision making becomes speedy and response is adaptive. They can easily adjust with diverse situations that the company encounters.
Matrix employees are pooled out for work assignments, even to projects that are not necessarily in line with their skill background. With this approach to management, employees have the chance to widen their skills and expertise.
One significant advantage of matrix management is that it enables the employees to maintain their skills in functional areas while working with multidisciplinary projects. Once the project is completed and the team wraps up, the members remain sharp in their discipline technically and return to their home functions.
Here are some disadvantages of matrix management:
In the matrix structure, there is always tension between the functional and project manager. Although their intent is polite, their conflicting demands and competition for control over the same resources make it more difficult.
Having more than one manager, the employees might become confused to who their immediate leader is. The dual authority can lead to internal complexity and possible communication problems. Worst, employee dissatisfaction and high employee turnover.
In any given situation where people and resources are shared across projects, there would always be competition and conflict. When these issues are prolonged, conflicts will heightened and will lead to more internal problems.
For the employees, being part of a matrix structure can be stressful. Their commitment is divided among the projects and their relationship with multiple managers requires various adjustments. Increased stress can negatively affect their performance in the long run.
Excessive Overhead Expenses
Overhead administrative costs, such as salaries, increase in a matrix structure. More expenses, more burden to the organisation. This is a challenge to matrix management that leaders should consider carefully.
These are just some of the advantages and disadvantages of matrix management. The list could go on, depending on the unique circumstances that organisations have. The key is that when you decide to implement matrix management, you should recognise how to take full advantage of its benefits and understand how to lessen, if not eradicate, the pitfalls of this approach to management.