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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The organization chart for the Wikimedia Foundation (April 2009). This is an example of a hierarchical organization chart.

An organizational chart (often called organization chart, org chart, organigram(me), or organogram(me)) 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 French Encyclop├ędie had one of the first organizational charts of knowledge in general.



An organizational chart of a company usually shows the managers and sub-workers who make up an organization. It also shows the relationships between the organization's staff members which can be one of the following:

  • Line - direct relationship between superior and subordinate.
  • Lateral - relationship between different departments on the same hierarchical level.
  • Staff - relationship between a managerial assistant and other areas. The assistant will be able to offer advice to a line manager. However, they have no authority over the line manager actions.
  • Functional[1] - relationships between specialist positions and other areas. The specialist will normally have authority to insist that a line manager implements any of their instructions.

board of directors : managing director chief executive officer: various departments... In many large companies the organization chart can be large and incredibly complicated and is therefore sometimes dissected into smaller charts for each individual department within the organization.

There are three different types of organization charts:

Limitations of an organizational chart

There are several limitations with organizational charts:

  • If performed manually, for example when using manual software such as Microsoft Visio or Powerpoint, org charts will very quickly become out-of-date, especially in large organizations that change their staff regularly.
  • It only shows 'formal relationships' and tells nothing of the pattern of human (social) relationships which develop.
  • When starting a business, or when changing from one organizational structure to another, it's appropriate that owners consider advantages and disadvantages of each structure in meeting business, personal and family goals.
  • The best structure for one type of business may not be the best for another. The best structure for a new business may not be suitable as the business expands.

In some cases, an organigraph may be more appropriate, particularly if one wants to show non-linear, non-hierarchical relationships in an organization.

Example of an organizational chart

Organizational chart.svg

The following is an example of a simple hierarchical organizational chart is the image-chart on the right.

An example of a 'line relationship' in this chart would be between the general and the two colonels. These two colonels are directly responsible to the general.

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

Various shapes such as rectangles, squares, triangles, circles etc. can be used to indicate different roles. Colour 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.


External links

Organizational Charts



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