What is an Organizational Chart?
An organizational chart is defined as a visual representation or diagram that depicts the structure of an organization. It provides a hierarchical view of the relationships and reporting lines between various individuals, departments, or units within an organization. Organizational charts are used for several purposes, including:
- Structural Overview: Organizational charts help individuals understand the organization’s overall structure, including the various levels of management, reporting relationships, and how different departments or teams are organized.
- Clarity of Roles and Responsibilities: They make it clear who is responsible for what within the organization, helping employees and stakeholders understand their roles and the roles of others.
- Communication: Organizational charts can assist in communication by showing who reports to whom, which can be helpful in understanding lines of authority and decision-making processes.
- Onboarding: New employees often receive organizational charts to familiarize themselves with the company’s structure, which can help them understand their place in the organization.
- Strategic Planning: Organizational charts can be useful in the context of strategic planning by identifying key personnel and their roles, aiding in decision-making and resource allocation.
Organizational charts come in various formats and styles, including hierarchical, matrix, and flat structures, depending on the organization’s design. Hierarchical charts display a clear top-down chain of command, with the highest authority at the top and subordinate positions beneath. Matrix charts show both functional and project-based reporting relationships. Flat structures are often found in smaller organizations with minimal hierarchy, where employees may have more autonomy and work collaboratively.
Business Organizational Chart
A business organizational chart, also known as a company organizational chart, is a visual representation that illustrates the structure and hierarchy of an organization. It provides a clear overview of how different roles and positions are interconnected, who reports to whom, and the lines of authority within the company.
Organizational Chart Examples
Organizational charts come in various forms and can be customized to suit the specific structure and needs of an organization. Below, I’ll provide examples of different types of organizational charts to give you an idea of the possibilities:
- Hierarchical Organizational Chart
This is the most common type of organizational chart and represents a traditional top-down hierarchy.
CEO/President > Executive Team > Departments > Teams or Units > Employees
- Matrix Organizational Chart
Within a matrix organizational framework, staff members have dual reporting relationships, answering to both functional managers and project managers. This is often used in organizations with complex projects or cross-functional teams.
Functional Manager > Employees
Project Manager > Employees
- Flat Organizational Chart
In a flat organization, there are few or no middle managers, and decision-making is decentralized.
CEO/President > Departments > Employees
- Divisional Organizational Chart
This type of chart is used by organizations with multiple product lines or divisions.
CEO/President > Divisions
Division 1 > Departments > Employees
Division 2 > Departments > Employees
Division 3 > Departments > Employees
- Geographic Organizational Chart
Organizations with a strong geographic presence may use this type of chart.
CEO/President > Regional Managers > Branch Managers > Employees
- Team-Based Organizational Chart
In organizations that rely heavily on self-managed teams, a team-based chart might look like this:
Team 1 > Members > Project-Based
Team 2 > Members > Project-Based
Team 3 > Members > Project-Based
- Project-Based Organizational Chart
Project-based organizations may have a structure like this, where teams are formed for specific projects:
Project 1> Team 1 > Members
Project 2> Team 2 > Members
Project 3> Team 3 > Members
- Nonprofit Organizational Chart
Nonprofit organizations have a structure that might look like this:
Board of Directors > Executive Director > Departments or Programs > Staff and Volunteers
- Academic Organizational Chart
Universities and educational institutions have a unique structure:
Chancellor/President > Deans > Departments > Faculty and Students
These are just a few examples, and organizations can create customized organizational charts to fit their unique needs and structures. Organizational chart software or tools can help in designing and maintaining these charts effectively.
Learn more: Advantages of Organizational Charts
How to Create an Organizational Chart
Creating an organizational chart involves several steps, and you can choose between various methods and tools to accomplish the task. Here’s a general guide on how to create an organizational chart:
Method 1: Using Software or Online Tools
- Select a Software or Online Tool: There are numerous software programs and online tools designed specifically for creating organizational charts. Some popular options include Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Visio, Lucidchart, OrgChart Now, OrgPlus, and online platforms like Google Drawings, Canva, and Creately. Select the tool that aligns with your requirements and personal preferences.
- Start a New Document or Project: Open the software or online tool you’ve chosen and start a new document or project.
- Choose a Template (if available): Many of these tools provide pre-designed templates for organizational charts. You can select a template that matches your organization’s structure or start from scratch.
- Add Shapes or Elements: Typically, organizational charts use shapes (e.g., rectangles or squares) to represent positions or individuals. Insert these shapes onto the canvas, and label them with the job titles or positions.
- Connect the Shapes: Use lines or connectors to indicate the reporting relationships. Connect the shapes to show who reports to whom. The lines should point from the subordinate to the supervisor.
- Customize and Format: You can customize the chart by changing the color, size, and style of the shapes and lines. You may also add images, logos, or additional information to the shapes if needed.
- Add Text: Insert text within the shapes to include the names of individuals holding each position.
- Group and Arrange: Arrange the shapes in a logical and hierarchical order. Group related positions or departments together.
- Review and Edit: Double-check your chart for accuracy and completeness. Ensure that reporting relationships are correctly represented.
- Save and Export: Save your chart in the desired file format (e.g., PDF, PNG, or JPEG) to share with others or print it out.
Method 2: Drawing Manually
If you prefer to create an organizational chart by hand:
- Gather Supplies: You’ll need a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, markers, and a ruler.
- Sketch the Chart: Draw shapes (rectangles or squares) to represent positions and connect them with lines to indicate reporting relationships. Label each shape with the corresponding job title or position.
- Add Names: Write the names of individuals in their respective positions.
- Color and Format: Use different colors and formatting to distinguish shapes and lines, if desired.
- Review and Edit: Carefully review the chart to ensure accuracy and readability.
- Photograph or Scan: If you want a digital copy, photograph or scan the manual chart.
- Share or Print: Share the digital or physical chart with your team or organization.
Creating an organizational chart is a useful tool for visualizing your organization’s structure, but remember that it should be updated as your organization evolves or undergoes changes in its structure or personnel. Using dedicated software or online tools makes it easier to make updates and revisions.
Learn more: Organizational Structure vs Organizational Chart