Organizational Structures

Posted on September 10, 2009 by


For a Project Manager, and many other professionals, the organizational structure of one’s job environment affects how they perform their daily tasks. There are three major categories of organizational structure—Functional, Matrix, and Projectized.  When there exists more than one organizational structure within a single organization (for example one department could be projectized and all other departments could be functional) it is called a Composite organization. Matrix organizations are further broken down into three categories—Weak, Balanced, and Strong.

In a Functional organization, people are organized by specialty within a clear hierarchy. A Project Manager has little or no authority and only works part-time on projects. The functional manager has control of the budget in a Functional organization. A Projectized organization is on the opposite side of the spectrum—the Project Manager has much authority, including control over the budget, and works full-time managing projects. Matrix organizations are in-between Functional and Projectized organizations, with Weak Matrix organizations being most like Functional organizations and Strong Matrix organizations being most like Projectized organizations.  The Project Manager’s authority is limited in a Weak Matrix, but moderate or high in a Strong Matrix. In a Weak Matrix the functional manager controls the budget, in a Balanced Matrix the Project Manager and Functional Manager balance budget authority, and in a Strong Matrix the Project Manager has budget control. In a Weak Matrix, the Project Manager’s role is only part-time, but in a Balanced or Strong Matrix, it is a full-time role. Table 2-1, page 28 of the fourth edition PMBOK® has a good table clearly outlining the differences among these organizational structures for those interested in learning more.