Monday, August 30, 2010

Matrix Management

Matrix Management is type of management wherein an individual has two reporting superiors - one functional and one operational. Surprised (and some may find it difficult to have two bosses when even handling one is cumbersome). This is mostly applicable in technical matters where a technical person, for instance an engineer, has to report to his technical head ( say a chief engineer) on technical matters, but also has his obligations towards the administrative or project manager for issues related to operational / non-technical matters. Likewise an accountant may report to the head of the accounting department, but at the same time also communicating with the overall in charge of the company.

So which “boss” is important or takes precedence over the other? Naturally, it is the technical head who has an edge over the operational head as the technical or the functional matters are more important than the operational matters which are more of routine matters. However to ensure smoothness in management matters, normally both heads should be given equal weight otherwise due to the inbuilt “nuisance” one would tend to ignore the operational side on the pretext of importance of functional or technical superiority of one’s task.


There are pros and cons of matrix management, which is also known as dotted line responsibility. The technical person may get confused as to who is to be given precedence and when as the technical head would be wanting immediate information, while the operational manager may have more pressing requirement of the information. The inherent “technical-loyalty” may thus delay the information to the operational boss.

The Matrix Management thus augers well for tightly knit organizations where each member has confidence as well as the managers. Every one is willing to work towards a common goal rather that only pursing technical or operational goals of one’s own department.


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