Matrix structure is an organizational structure in business. The structure most often refers to a group project within a large company that uses workers from a variety of departments without actually transferring those workers. Each worker then moves between her day-to-day work and the special project.

How Does Matrix Structure Work?

Matrix structure definitions become clearer with an example. Say a company launches a new project that requires workers from several departments, including research and design, legal and graphic design. However, the company does not want those participating in the project to ignore the responsibilities of the home department. Each worker is then said to move horizontally between the project and home department, as neither duty should take precedence over the other. Project members will report to the project leader and the home department head. The project leader's ability to manage members from different departments also gives him a horizontal role. Department heads remain the direct boss of only those in lower positions within their department, which is why this position is said to function vertically.