What Are Three Communication Problems in a Matrix Structure Organization?

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Matrix organization has the problem of redundant management.
Matrix organization has the problem of redundant management. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Businesses require organization to ensure that their operations do not degenerate into a tangled mess and continue to be able to produce revenues. Some businesses organize their personnel according to their function, others according to product line, and others according to geographical location. For example, a business might organize all personnel stationed in Asia as its "Asia" department. In a matrix organization, personnel bear multiple sets of responsibilities to multiple sets of management.

Function and Project Organization Structures

In a function organization structure, employees are organized according to the nature of their employment. For example, all employees who work with human resources are relegated to a department called human resources while all employees who work with the company's accounts are assigned to the accounting department. In a project organization structure, employees with different skills and responsibilities are put together in departments according to the projects that they are working on.

Matrix Organization Structure

Matrix organization structure is a hybrid of function and project organization structures where one employees has two or sometimes even more sets of responsibilities and oversight. Said employee is responsible not only to superiors in the department in which he works but also to the manager who leads the project to which he is assigned. For example, an engineer who is assigned to work on architectural plans answers to both the project leader and to his superiors in the engineering department.

Communication

Communication can be considered good when it is both effective and efficient in getting the intended meaning across to the intended recipient. Efficient means that the meaning was conveyed in a concise manner without bloat while effective means that the message was conveyed without its intended meaning being distorted in some way in the process.

Poor Communication in Matrix Organizations

A matrix organization comes with a host of disadvantages, many of which have a negative impact on the efficacy and efficiency of communication within the organization. First, there is redundant management in the sense that there are two sets of management whose responsibilities overlap at times, meaning that their communication to higher-ups is hampered by one another. Second is that each set of management is independent of one another; this can produce different analyses, which can lead to a confused assessment for higher-ups. Third is that redundant management is expensive and the two sets of information that they produce and communicate to their superiors is generally not worth that expense.

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