Matrix Structure

Matrix Structure

When looking at the subject of organisational structures, matrix structures are often a natural progression from functional or divisional structures as firms seek to gain the advantages of each.

What is a matrix structure?

  • A matrix structure aims to combine the benefits of decentralisation (e.g. speedy decision making) with those of co-ordination (achieving economies and synergies across all business units, territories and products).
  • It usually requires employees from various departments to form a group to achieve a specific target.
  • They require dual reporting to managers and the diagram shows a mix of product and functional structures.
  • For example in a university, a lecturer may have to report to both subject and department heads.
a matrix structure

Advantages & disadvantages of matrix structures


  • In today's rapidly changing environment, there is a need for effective coordination in very complex situations. If a car manufacturer wants to design, produce and market a new model, the process involves most parts of the organisation and a flexible/adaptable system is needed to achieve the objectives. The more rigid structure experienced in a divisional company would not have the flexibility to be able to coordinate the tasks and the people, whereas the matrix structure can cope.
  • The production managers could be replaced with customer managers, in which case the whole team will be focussed on meeting the needs of the customer.


  • Where the matrix structure can cause difficulty is in the lines of control. These may become ambiguous and conflict with each other. A team member may be answerable to the product manager and to a functional head, and this may cause confusion and stress. Time consuming meetings may be required to resolve the conflict, so resulting in higher administration costs.

Other types of structures

Created at 6/20/2012 2:44 PM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
Last modified at 10/10/2013 11:49 AM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

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