What Is Matrix Management?—A Guide to Matrix Management

Jul 11, 2021 5 min read
What Is Matrix Management?—A Guide to Matrix Management

In this guide, we answer the question: what is matrix management? We also describe the pros and cons of the matrix management structure.

What’s more, we show how today’s businesses, which require greater flexibility and often need to share finite resources, can benefit from the matrix management structure.

Furthermore, we explain why traditional approaches to management, although often valid, are too rigid for the modern organization where projects are often vehicles for delivering business change.

Background

For many organizations, function and resource supply, not on the resource demands needed to satisfy the delivery of projects or large-scale organizational change, determine line management structure.

Since many organizations continually implement business change, the use of project teams is widespread, which results in project and line management structures coexisting in the form of the matrix management structure.

Unless properly introduced, a matrix-management organization runs the risk that employees will receive conflicting instructions. Indeed, some would argue that matrix structures have proved all but unmanageable, with dual-reporting leading to conflict and confusion, and a loss of accountability arising from overlapping responsibilities.

But first, let’s get back to the question: What is matrix management? And, perhaps of greater importance, what does matrix management mean in practice?

What Is Matrix Management?

We often think of matrix management when delivering projects. That is, where the customer specifies a desired result and the supplier provides resources and skills to accomplish the specified outcome.

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