What Is An Organizational Chart?

The definition of an organization chart or “org chart” is a diagram that displays a reporting or relationship hierarchy. The most frequent application of an org chart is to show the structure of a business, government, or other organization.
Org charts have a variety of uses, and can be structured in many different ways. They might be used as a management tool, for planning purposes, or as a personnel directory, for example. Perhaps your organization doesn’t operate in a “command and control” style, but instead relies on teams.

How Organization Chart Are Used

Organizational charts are useful in a number of ways. Here are a few of the ways your company or group can benefit from an org chart.

  • Show work responsibilities and reporting relationships.
  • Allow leadership to more effectively manage growth or change.
  • Allow employees to better understand how their work fits into the organization’s overall scheme.
  • Improve lines of communication.
  • Create a visual employee directory.
  • Present other types of information, such as business entity structures and data hierarchies.

The type of organization chart you make should mirror the managament philosophy and organizational structure of your company.
There are four basic types of organizational charts:

  1. Functional Top-Down
  2. Divisional Structure
  3. Matrix Organizational Chart
  4. Flat Organizational Chart

How To Make An Organizational Chart

We usually think of an organization chart of having a fairly rigid, top-down structure. Here’s the format of a basic three-level org chart.
But just as one size business suit doesn’t fit everyone, the same can be said of an organizational chart. You’ll want to custom-tailor an org chart to fit the needs of your organization. There are a lot of factors to consider. What type of information should be included in each box? Should the chart flow top-down or in another direction? What if there are people with multiple roles?

Show Managers With Two Titles As Two Different Boxes In The Chart

Particularly in smaller companies, one person may manage multiple parts of the organization. For example in this technology company, the CEO, Paul Smith, also acts as the VP of Engineering. Both the management team and the programmers report to him. The best way to show this is to include both positions in the chart and show Paul as occupying both of them. Remember, the organizational structure is based on positions; not the people that occupy the

Use Dotted Lines Sparingly

Sometimes it can be helpful to show relationships with a dotted line connecting the boxes of two positions. One common example is an assistant that works for three managers.

Gudra Management Consultancy is connected to Toby and Linda by dotted lines because she assists them, as well as Dan. She reports directly to Dan, as shown by the solid line. It’s not useful to try and impose the structure of multiple teams on the organization chart with lots of dotted lines. Too many and the chart becomes a mess. To show teams, it’s better to use separate charts such as this one.

Break Up Large Charts In To Multiple Smaller Linked Charts

In any format, a very large chart is cumbersome to view. An org chart showing every employee of a large company like GE is impossibly too big and complex to be useful. A more manageable approach is to break the organization up into smaller groups, each with a reasonably-sized org chart, and then link them together. For example, here is GE’s top-level organization chart:

Each of the presidents heads up a different company within GE. Their positions can be linked to the org chart for that company. For example, the box for Healthcare links to the org chart for GE Healthcare:

The healthcare chart itself is so large each of these positions links to charts for the CIO’s organization, the Business Development organization, and so on. Each sub-chart links back to its parent, so no matter where a reader is in the hierarchy, they can find their way back to the top.