Matrix Organization definition

Businesses in which employees work in both traditional siloed departments as well as in cross-departmental teams. These teams may be temporary or permanent depending on what they have been tasked to do. Individuals working in matrix organisations will typically report to two superiors – their normal departmental head and the project leader.

As an example, a business may have marketing, PR, manufacturing and R&D departments but will bring together individuals from each of these departments when putting together a team focused on developing new products for the company. Matrix organizations are designed to bring together the company's expertise for a specific purpose.

Perceived advantages of matrix organisations include increased motivation among employees, increased collaboration and knowledge-sharing and the breaking down of departmental barriers. Disadvantages include complexity, which makes the flow of knowledge difficult to co-ordinate, and no clear 'ownership' or levels of accountability.

Matrix organisations are named because when employees are mapped by function, they are included in both horizontal and vertical hierarchies, which form a matrix grid.