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What is the 'Strong Matrix' in Business?


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Earlier than 1970, large businesses were most typically formatted in a silo design, where workers were divided into departments that report to a line or functional manager. The result of the restructuring attempt of this classical silo design in order to create more productive project management teams is known as a matrix organizational structure.

Different styles of matrix management can exist within an organization. The overall objective is to satisfy divisional or departmental functional requirements by pooling workers with similar skills. The major organizational matrix types consist of either weak, strong, or balanced matrix structures. This article presents pros and cons of the weak matrix organization.

Strong Matrix Structure

The matrix structure was developed because of the organizational difficulties present. It works out that the line managers are not responsible for the workers but now it is the responsibility of the project managers. While the project managers aren't responsible dealing with the human resource administration, they now can be empowered to directly handle the workers. The result is the project in the whole can be dealt with without forcing them to get involved in human resources issues.

I have personally experienced this work environment and organizational structure finding it very satisfying. As Project Manager, I successfully led the project team with authority over project related tasks while not having to be concerned with functions that were not project related. I did not have to devote time and energy to performance reviews, employee contracts, training needs, vacations, etc. These functions were managed by a staff manage allowing me to focus on project priorities.

When a new project begins, the project manger meets with the functional managers and plans are developed for staff allotment. Skills needed for the project are matched with available resources and deficiencies can be addressed early in the project's life. The functional managers, in their turn, develop the appropriate staffing plans to provide each project manager with the right resource at the right time. Part of this process is a negotiation in which resources can be moved to meet the organization's most critical need.

While project managers cooperate with functional managers, the project manager is primarily responsible for every detail related to the project. Hence, in this matrix structure, the project manager has primary authority and responsibility.

Daiv Russell is a management and marketing consultant with Envision Consulting in Tampa, Florida. Get more information on matrix organization structure at Choose the right Project Management Software and optimize your Gantt Chart Use


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