iii) Matrix Structure

organisational development change management

. This creates dual lines of authority that combine functional and product/service departmentalisation.

. Its main strength lies in putting specialists together while minimising the number necessary, and allowing the pooling and sharing of specialised resources across product/service is/programs. Its major disadvantage is the difficulty of co-ordinating the tasks of diverse functional specialists who have responsibility for completing their activities on time and within budget.

. Product/service departmentalisation has exactly the opposite benefits and disadvantages. It facilitates coordination among specialties to achieve on-time completion and to meet budget targets. Furthermore, it produces clear responsibilities for all activities related to product/service/program.

. The matrix structure works on the strength of each (functional and product/service departmentalization) while avoiding its the weaknesses. On the other hand, it breaks the "unity of command" concept with the dual responsibilities, such as sharing staff, reporting to more than one boss/manager, eg their functional department managers and product/service/program managers.

. The strength of the matrix structure lies in its ability to facilitate coordination when the organisation has a multiplicity of complex and inter-independent activities. As an organisation gets larger, its information processing capacity can become overloaded. The direct and frequent contact between different specialties in the matrix can make for better communications and more flexibility, with information flowing through the organisation more quickly to the staff who need to know. Furthermore, the matrix reduces "bureau-pathologies", with the dual authority reducing tendencies for "silo thinking".

. Another advantage is that it facilitates the efficient allocation of specialists by allowing the advantage of the economies of scale to prevent monopolisation and under-utilised resources that can occur in one function departments or product/service group.

. The major disadvantage of the matrix lies in the confusion and ambiguity it creates, such as reporting to more than one boss, its propensity to focus power struggles, and the stress and insecurity it places on individuals. It is frequently unclear who reports to whom and conflicts arise about the allocation of staff.


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