Typically, management of an organization is done in a top-down approach, where employees answer to a single leader, i.e., your boss. However, in the scenarios where employees operate upon various projects at a time, all under different domains, one is led and answers to several bosses/ leaders. Matrix organization involves the representation of who is responsible for a particular field of the organization and who holds the power to make decisions.
What is a matrix in HR? Here, basically, one has to report to one or more team leaders or through various channels. It is called a matrix due to its grid-like nature or matrix pattern. For instance, a digital marketing agency employs SEO experts, designers, content writers, graphic designers, etc., in a team to work on a certain project concurrently. Team members, in this scenario, are organized under their functional leaders. However, they might be allocated further work by the manager of the project.
The flexible and fluid style of the matrix allows easy allocation of human resources wherever they are required. Priorities may shift through different assignments, and thus, are changes made. The chain of command in a matrix organization structure is laid on the basis of assignments, which promotes employees to work cross-functionally to accomplish collective goals.
When it comes to collaborating between employees on several teams and mid-level management, or when coordination is virtually impossible via organic or informal means, such as quarterly syncs or one-off ad-hoc meetings, matrix structure emerges as the best option. The channels of accountability and communication are made clear in the matrix structure, which facilitates pushing work through the pipeline smoothly.