Which organizational structure

will facilitate the success of your project?



By Ying Li

SKEMA Business School

China and France



Doing business has existed almost forever, and still, the human being cannot find one and only one way to manage people because people are too, so the management also needs complexity to manage the people correctly and efficiently. The lot different structures which exist prove that there is not only one way to structure a company; it is way more difficult than this and that is the reason why many authors write about how to structure the companies, about the advantages and disadvantages of the different structures.

This paper presents an extensive literature analysis to find the best alternatives and solutions to support managers who try to find out what should be their structure to get successful projects, successful company, and successful teams.

Keywords: organizational structure, management, project, team, skills, conflicts, The efficiency.


Famous authors like Taylor, Fayol, and Sloan investigated to find out the most efficient structure for the company.

Different structures exist in companies with more or less common structures. Among them, functional (Divide the tasks with managers which are expert in their subjects), divisional (company divided into smaller companies called divisions responsible for its division), matrix, team, and finally network structure.

All those structures are different and will define what the head of the company wants to do with the company. It is essential to divide task and jobs among the company to make it work out.

The structure will determine the future success or failure of the company, and that is why this choice is fundamental.

The basic definition of a structure is “A system used to define a hierarchy within an organization. It identifies each job, its function and where it reports to within the organization.”[2] This structure will indeed allow the management to develop into the company according to the hierarchy.

Management is a set of tools to make people invest themselves in projects for the company with different teams, different rewards and make them use their maximum potential to deal with this project. More a team is larger and more the management issue will be about managing people than smaller where managers need to be aware with the technical issues. [3]

The Cross-functional structure is an organizational structure in which we find matrix management and cross-functional teams composed by members from different departments of the company which are put together for a specific purpose or specific goals.

Matrix has to be carefully used by organizations. It has to be because there is a real business need for this organization to develop a cross-functional structure and a need for more coordination between the teams. They also wrote that it is essential for the teams to have reasons to collaborate.

Another condition for matrix success is to limit the size of the matrix (« 2 teams maximum and not too many different levels »).

Matrix advantage is that it is not needed to escalate issues to the top manager cause the matrix team is supposed to solve the daily issues independently from the rest of the company and efficiently. (Of course, sometimes, it would be needed to escalate in case of sensitive subjects or VIP costumers …).

Once the company built the matrices built, the manager needs to do his best to motivate the employee’s lines putting them all with the same level of importance for the project role.

It is difficult to manage people in a cross-functional organization because the leader needs to have a bunch of quality to deal with a team in the cross-functional organization: empathy, conflict management, influence or also self-awareness.

Consequently, the companies need to get the leaders who get all of those competencies. About this, there is one good news and a bad one: The bad one is that very few people have all of those or not enough. The good news is that the leaders can improve these competencies with practice and time

The importance of this research is to synthesize the solutions for the managers to help them understand how to manage those people who come from different areas.

In this paper, we will bring different organizational structures as solutions to help companies make better choices for the projects based on their actual situation.

Therefore, the following question will be the focus of this paper:  What is the most effective organizational structure for projects to be successful?


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: This paper was prepared for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper: Li, Y. (2019). Which organizational structure will facilitate the success of your project? PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue II (February).  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/pmwj79-Feb2019-Li-which-organization-structure-will-facilitate-project-success.pdf


About the Author

Ying Li

Paris, France





Ying Li is currently an MSc student in Project and Programme Management & Business Development (PPMBD) in Skema business school. She born in China and graduated from Yunnan Normal University (China) and holds a bachelor’s economics major: international economics & trade. She has worked for China resources healthcare group ltd. – Strategic development dept as an assistant manager. And she was a volunteer of the 7th Chinese Bridge – Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Middle School Students. Helped the disciplines and security of outdoor activities. She has both project management and economy study background.

Ying Li lives in Paris, France now, and can be contacted at [email protected]


[1] Making Matrix Organizations Actually Work. (2016, March 1). Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/03/making-matrix-organizations-actually-work

[2] 4 Types of Organizational Structures. (2018, February 22). Retrieved from https://online.pointpark.edu/business/types-of-organizational-structures/

[3] GUILD OF PROJECT CONTROLS COMPENDIUM and REFERENCE (CaR) | Project Controls – planning, scheduling, cost management and forensic analysis (Planning Planet). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.planningplanet.com/guild/gpccar/acquiring-manpower-for-the-project