An organizational chart is a diagram that depicts the structure of an organization in terms of relationships among personnel or departments. This type of chart also represents lines of authority and responsibility. Generally, an organizational chart is a horizontal or vertical tree that contains geometric shapes to represent staff or divisions. The lines that connect the shapes indicate relationships between the positions. The chart indicates the formal structure of a business or company.
Most often, a rectangle represents a person, position, or department. In a hierarchical chart, the Chief Officer or President is the top rectangle. The level underneath the chief officer contains high-level managers or executives, and each succeeding level includes the subordinates of the line above.
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In standard organizational charts, the shape is similar to a pyramid. Often, box size is relative to the authority level of the position; for example, an executive position may have a larger rectangle than a subordinate position. Peers generally have boxes of similar size on the chart. Lateral positions on the chart indicate a relationship between departments on the same level of hierarchy in the organization.
In a standard organizational chart, solid lines depict a formal and direct relationship between positions. A double linked rectangle might indicate a situation with co-supervisors. A dashed line indicates an advisory or indirect relationship between positions, while arrows indicate the flow of communication. To indicate job sharing or dual responsibilities, a divided box might be used. An open position is sometimes represented by a dashed border surrounding a rectangle, or a box containing either TBH (to be hired) or TBD (to be determined).
Because in a large company, the organizational chart can be space-intensive and complex, smaller charts may be utilized to represent individual departments. Other common space-saving techniques used in these charts include a staggered tree method, a columnar stack, or a list style which provides names or job titles rather than boxes. To avoid the frequent need to update the chart, you might use position titles rather than the names of individual staff. Due to the changes in organizational structure, an organizational chart is not always up to date.
To create an organizational chart, you can use software such as Visio, or specialized software such as SmartDraw or OrgPlus. Microsoft Word has a Diagram Gallery to create such a chart, and Microsoft PowerPoint and Publisher have similar capabilities. The use of software to create a chart makes revisions and additions simple.