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Organizational chart example, picturing the departments in advertising agencies.

An organizational chart (often called organization chart, org chart, organigram(me), or organogram) is a diagram that shows the structure of an organization and the relationships and relative ranks of its parts and positions/jobs. The term is also used for similar diagrams, for example ones showing the different elements of a field of knowledge or a group of languages.


The organization chart is a diagram showing graphically the relation of one official to another, or others, of a company. It is also used to show the relation of one department to another, or others, or of one function of an organization to another, or others. This chart is valuable in that it enables one to visualize a complete organization, by means of the picture it presents.[1]

A company's organizational chart typically illustrates relations between people within an organization. Such relations might include managers to sub-workers, directors to managing directors, chief executive officer to various departments, and so forth. When an organization chart grows too large it can be split into smaller charts for separate departments within the organization. The different types of organization charts include:

There is no accepted form for making organization charts other than putting the principal official, department or function first, or at the head of the sheet, and the others below, in the order of their rank. The titles of officials and sometimes their names are enclosed in boxes or circles. Lines are generally drawn from one box or circle to another to show the relation of one official or department to the others.[1]


Organization Chart of Tabulating Machine Co., 1917

The French Encyclopédie published in France between 1751 and 1772 had one of the first organizational charts of knowledge in general.[2] The Scottish-American engineer Daniel McCallum (1815–1878) is credited for creating the first organizational charts of American business[3] around 1854.[4][5] This chart was drawn by George Holt Henshaw.[6]

The term "organization chart" came into use in the early twentieth century. In 1914 Brinton[7] declared "organization charts are not nearly so widely used as they should be. As organization charts are an excellent example of the division of a total into its components, a number of examples are given here in the hope that the presentation of organization charts in convenient form will lead to their more widespread use." In those years industrial engineers promoted the use of organization charts. In the 1920s they were still not common among ordinary business concerns, but were beginning to find their way into administrative and business enterprises.[8]

The term "organigram" originates in the 1960s.[9]


There are several limitations of organizational charts:

  • If updated manually, organizational charts can very quickly become out-of-date, especially in large organizations that change their staff regularly.
  • They only show "formal relationships" and tell nothing of the pattern of human (social) relationships which develop. They also often do not show horizontal relationships.
  • They provide little information about the managerial style adopted (e.g. "autocratic", "democratic" or an intermediate style)
  • In some cases, an organigraph may be more appropriate, particularly if one wants to show non-linear, non-hierarchical relationships in an organization.
  • They often do not include customers.


A military example chart for explanation purposes.

The example on the right shows a simple hierarchical organizational chart.

An example of a "line relationship" (or chain of command in military relationships) in this chart would be between the general and the two colonels - the colonels are directly responsible to the general.

An example of a "lateral relationship" in this chart would be between "Captain A", and "Captain B" who both work on level and both report to the "Colonel B".

Various shapes such as rectangles, squares, triangles, circles can be used to indicate different roles. Color can be used both for shape borders and connection lines to indicate differences in authority and responsibility, and possibly formal, advisory and informal links between people. A department or position yet to be created or currently vacant might be shown as a shape with a dotted outline. Importance of the position may be shown both with a change in size of the shape in addition to its vertical placement on the chart.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Allan Cecil Haskell, Joseph G. Breaznell (1922) Graphic charts in business: how to make and use them. p. 78
  2. ^ See Figurative system of human knowledge
  3. ^ Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. (1962). Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  4. ^ Burton S. Kaliski (2001). Encyclopedia of business and finance. p.669.
  5. ^ For years people believed no copy of this chart surviced, see for example: Sidney Pollard, Richard S. Tedlow (2002) Economic History. p. 18
  6. ^ Caitlin Rosenthal (2012) "Big data in the age of the telegraph" in McKinsey Quarterly, March 2013.
  7. ^ Brinton, Willard Cope. Graphic methods for presenting facts. The Engineering magazine company, 1914.
  8. ^ Alexander Hamilton institute (1923) Organization charts. p. 6
  9. ^ Angus Stevenson (2010) Oxford Dictionary of English. p. 1252

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organizational_chart — Please support Wikipedia.
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294 news items


Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:21:22 -0700

Customers don't care about your org (organizational) chart. Period. And if you're going to build a superb customer experience and exemplary customer service, you need to understand this reality. A common example: A guest leaves a room service tray ...
CollegeRecruiter.com (press release) (blog)
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:15:00 -0700

It has to be made sure that the company has the right people at the right time and at the right place within the organizational chart. The importance of this wing can be well supported by the fact that the entire business strategy is executed by the ...

Toledo Blade

Toledo Blade
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:56:15 -0700

The one “no” vote was cast by Councilman Steven Steel, who said his confidence in the Department of Public Utilities has been undermined by its failure to provide him with a staff organizational chart. Chief of Staff Robert Reinbolt said the chart ...
Central Kentucky News
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:15:00 -0700

STANFORD — Lincoln County School District may be changing how its top-level staff members are organized, but many of the faces will probably remain the same. Under a new organizational chart approved by the school board, the district's three “chief ...

Sky News Australia

Daily Mail
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:14:43 -0700

DeFoggi's name appears on an HHS organizational chart in a planning document related to the agency's fiscal year 2014 budget request. The document describes him as being in charge of 'OS IT Security Operations,' reporting directly to HHS Chief ...
Houma Courier
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 08:45:00 -0700

“It seems to be trickling down the organizational chart,” Baronne said. In addition to his staff, Dupre also challenged state Sen. Norby Chabert of Houma, Terrebonne Sheriff Jerry Larpenter and Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet. Claudet ...

Van Wert independent

Van Wert independent
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:07:30 -0700

Kaufman said the commissioners' request that the county economic development director provide direct supervision for the city/OSU ED director, while Advisory Group reps seek a “lateral” organizational chart that would put both city and county ED ...
Stockton Record
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 00:07:30 -0700

Tonight's speakers, including representatives of the Friends of the Stockton Public Library, say they believe it is time for the city to alter an organizational chart that was compressed out of financial necessity when Stockton began its plunge toward ...

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