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matrixan ORGANIZATION structure in which individuals report to managers in more than one DEPARTMENT or function. The simple CHAIN OF COMMAND found in the classic BUREAUCRACY is replaced by (potentially) a multiplicity of reporting relationships. This type of structure may characterize part of the organization – for project team management for instance, where a project manager assumes authority over team members drawn from a number of departments – or it may extend to the entire organization. See Fig. 58.
There is no standard form of matrix. Managers may have equal formal authority over subordinates or alternatively one of these may have primary authority with the others, assuming authority on particular issues, as in the dotted-line relationship (see ORGANIZATION CHART). The benefits of matrix organization are said to be that it facilitates interdepartmental coordination during innovation, and, by weakening departmental boundaries, encourages greater flexibility and creativity. However, many organizations that have assumed this form have found that the absence of clarity in lines of authority and responsibility can lead to inertia and conflict. See FUNCTIONAL STRUCTURE, PRODUCT-BASED STRUCTURE, CRITICAL FUNCTION STRUCTURE, CONCURRENT ENGINEERING.