Key advantages that organizations seek when introducing a matrix include:
To break business information silos - to increase cooperation and communication across the traditional silos and unlock resources and talent that are currently inaccessible to the rest of the organization.
To deliver work across the business more effectively – to serve global customers, manage supply chains that extend outside the organization, and run integrated business regions, functions and processes.
To be able to respond more flexibly – to reflect the importance of both the global and the local, the business and the function in the structure, and to respond quickly to changes in markets and priorities.
To develop broader people capabilities – a matrix helps develop individuals with broader perspectives and skills who can deliver value across the business and manage in a more complex and interconnected environment.
Key disadvantages of matrix organizations include:
Mid-level management having multiple supervisors can be confusing, in that competing agendas and emphases can pull employees in different directions, which can lower productivity.
Mid-level management can become frustrated with what appears to be a lack of clarity with priorities.
Mid-level management can become over-burdened with the diffusion of priorities.
Supervisory management can find it more difficult to achieve results within their area of expertise with subordinate staff being pulled in different directions.
Advantages and disadvantages in a project management situation
The advantages of a matrix for project management can include:
Individuals can be chosen according to the needs of the project.
The use of a project team that is dynamic and able to view problems in a different way as specialists have been brought together in a new environment.
Project managers are directly responsible for completing the project within a specific deadline and budget.
The disadvantages for project management can include:
A conflict of loyalty between line managers and project managers over the allocation of resources.
Projects can be difficult to monitor if teams have a lot of independence.
Costs can be increased if more managers (i.e. project managers) are created through the use of project teams.
Organizational efficiencies are very difficult to identify because benchmarking headcount against revenue (or output) is not possible due to the scattered nature of the supporting functions
In popular culture
An example of matrix-style management can be seen when Peter Gibbons messes up his TPS reports in the movie Office Space.