matrix organization

  

Definition

An organizational structure that facilitates the horizontal flow of skills and information. It is used mainly in the management of large projects or product development processes, drawing employees from different functional disciplines for assignment to a team without removing them from their respective positions.

Employees in a matrix organization report on day-to-day performance to the project or product manager whose authority flows sideways (horizontally) across departmental boundaries. They also continue to report on their overall performance to the head of their department whose authority flows downwards (vertically) within his or her department. In addition to a multiple command and control structure, a matrix organization necessitates new support mechanisms, organizational culture, and behavior patterns. Developed at the US National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) in association with its suppliers, this structure gets its name from its resemblance to a table (matrix) where every element is included in a row as well as a column.

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