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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 Encyclopédie published in France between 1751 and 1772 had one of the first organizational charts of knowledge in general. The Scottish-American engineer Daniel McCallum (1815–1878) is credited for creating the first organizational charts of American business around 1854.
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 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- If updated manually, organizational charts can very quickly become out-of-date, especially in large organizations that change their staff regularly.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.
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 Manager and the two Supervisors. These two colonels are directly responsible to the general.
Various shapes such as rectangles, squares, triangles, circles etc. 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.
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