An organizational chart is a visual diagram that shows how work flows through an organization by outlining the hierarchy and reporting needs. You may also hear this type of chart referred to as an 'org chart.' Some key elements in organizational charts include job design, departmentation, delegation, the span of control, and the chain of command.
As organizations become increasingly flexible, it's becoming more common for organizational structures to change quickly. Organizational charts are often used in businesses, government agencies, universities, and other organizations to visually represent these changing structures.
They can also help leaders understand the characteristics, benefits, and limitations of different organizational structures and allow them to continually review the hierarchies and roles of employees within the business. For example, organizational charts are regularly used to show current staffing numbers, make hiring decisions, and to help onboard new employees.
Here is an overview of some of the different types of organizational chart structures:
This is a pyramid-shaped chart that defines the chain of command. The highest level in the chain (for example, the CEO or managing director) is at the top of the hierarchy, and entry-level employees are at the bottom.
This is a functional chart that defines the chain of command and organizes employees based on their organizational skills and function. Like a hierarchical organizational structure, the highest level in the chain goes at the top, and entry-level employees are at the bottom.
Horizontal or flat org charts are designed for organizations with few levels between upper management and standard employees. This structure is often used by start-ups or small companies that are not large enough to have many different departments.
This is a chart designed for organizations with divisions that have control over their own resources within the organization. A market-based divisional structure separates divisions by market, industry, or customer type. A product-based divisional structure separates divisions by product line, and a geographical divisional structure separates divisions by region, territories, or districts.
The matrix org structure features a grid-like chart showing cross-functional teams created for special projects. This allows supervisors to easily identify who is suitable to work on specific projects and provides a dynamic view of the organization.
A chart that groups employees according to which team they are on. This helps provide more transparency within the organization and focuses more on employees' experience instead of their seniority.
A chart that visualizes the complexities of onsite and offsite relationships within an organization includes third parties such as vendors, subcontractors, and freelancers. This puts less focus on the organization's hierarchy and more on facilitating open communication.
An organizational chart can be used to show how work flows through an organization and to show the organization's reporting needs.
Some specific examples of when to use an organizational chart include:
Organizational charts are useful in new hire onboarding because they let employees know who their manager is and who else is on their team. For example, organizational charts can be used for:
Organizational charts improve the efficiency of resource planning and making staffing decisions because they provide a clear overview of an organization's structure. Some of the ways organizational charts can do this include:
Organizational charts can help managers restructure departments more efficiently and identify new opportunities for current employees excelling in their roles. Some ways that organizational charts give managers more control include:
Below is a list of steps you can follow to create an organizational chart:
You can make an organizational chart by hand or use a program specifically designed for diagram making. MindManager, an industry-leading organizational chart-making software, allows you to create complex, detailed organizational charts with ease.
MindManager's key benefits include:
MindManager helps you synthesize ideas and information by providing a simple, intuitive framework for organizing your thoughts. With MindManager, you and your team can clarify complexity and collaborate in new and unexpected ways.
MindManager comes pre-installed with many templates. To use these templates:
An organizational chart is designed to show the internal structure of an organization and provide a clear visual picture of the hierarchy within the organization. It shows information about employees, such as their photograph, telephone number, email, role and department within the organization.
Here's a brief recap of the different types of organizational charts and when you should use them:
The important elements that should typically be included in an organizational chart are job design, departmentation, delegation, the span of control, and chain of command.
Organizational charts are a simple way of viewing an organization's hierarchy and reporting needs. Any organization can use them for purposes such as showing managers the responsibilities of employees within the organization, helping employees to understand their roles, and providing a clear directory of an organization's employees.
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