Understanding Matrix Structures

1065 WordsJul 17, 20185 Pages
Module 5 Critical Thinking: Understanding Matrix Structures An organization’s capacity for responding effectively to dynamic change derives from a synergistic combination of people, processes, and flexible organizational structures (Gibson, Ivancevich, Donnelly, & Konopaske, 2009). The flexibility of an organization’s structure depends on the relationships that determine organizational workflow, authority and communication (Covin, Slevin, & Schultz, 1994). As an example, this paper describes a matrix structure, offers recommendations for its use, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of a matrix relative to the need for organizational flexibility and responsiveness. The Matrix Structure A matrix structure can be thought of as…show more content…
For example, information needed from various functions for completing a project can be exchanged more efficiently when horizontal channels are used. A further advantage of horizontal linkages arises from an increased organizational capability for coping with the high information overload that accompanies change by enabling the sharing of processing resources (Larson & Gobeli, 1987). These lateral linkages also increase organizational flexibility and responsiveness by enabling the rapid acquisition and deployment of scarce human and technical resources (Ford & Randolph, 1992). For example, the ability to dispatch specialized technical knowledge on demand for resolution of a problem anywhere along the project dimension increases overall technical quality and responsiveness. The very same characteristics that are seen as advantages of a matrix also present numerous disadvantages, which can potentially diminish the level of organizational flexibility and responsiveness to change (Ford & Randolph, 1992). The duality of a matrix tends to create ambiguity and conflict in terms of identifying the lines of authority and responsibility for organizational decision-making (Larson & Gobeli, 1987). In addition, the confusing ambiguity of a dual reporting relationship often forces employees to reconcile conflicting responsibilities and priorities, which, in turn, causes considerable stress, diminished motivation and commitment, and increased resistance to change (Ford & Randolph,
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