Work Culture

Importance of Organizational charts in the workplace

By on March 8, 2018

What is an Organizational Chart?

An organizational chart, informally known as an org chart is a crucial tool that visually depicts the structure of an organization. It’s a graphic illustration of the roles, responsibilities and relationships among the members of an organization. It applies equally to business corporations, government agencies, non-profit organizations or any other type of establishment. 

Crafted as a visual representation of roles within an organization, it highlights the hierarchy from top executives down to lower-level employees. An org chart provides clear reporting lines, emphasizing the decision-making hierarchy. It offers – at a glance – a snapshot of the authority and responsibility mapping within the organization. 

The real importance of org charts, however, goes beyond their hierarchical representation. They are extremely useful in depicting the flow of communication, thereby enhancing the understanding of the organizational structure. By clearly showing who reports to whom, they offer details on the lines of communication and decision-making pathways.

For instance, org chart examples often show the CEO or another high-level executive at the top, with lines extending downwards to other executives, managers and employees. These lines represent the chains of command and communication, making the chart an indispensable tool for role clarity and resource allocation.

An organizational chart acts as a guide, providing valuable insights into the organizational structure and overall functioning. The importance of organizational charts lies in their ability to facilitate understanding and communication about the structure of an organization, making them essential for any organization.

The Purpose of an Organizational Chart

Organizational charts are seemingly simple diagrams, but they actually serve various important purposes within a business context. They serve a purpose beyond simply depicting the chain of command. They provide insights into the organizational structure, communication, and decision-making processes. 

For example, a chart that shows a lot of dotted lines between positions indicates that there is a lot of communication and collaboration between different departments. A chart that has a lot of vertical lines indicates that there is a more hierarchical structure, with decisions being made from the top down.

Here are some of the main purposes that an organizational chart serves:

Main Purposes of the Organizational Chart

Visual Representation

At a very fundamental level, an organizational chart is a diagram that shows the hierarchy within an organization. By illustrating the hierarchy and the interrelationships of positions within the company, org charts provide a clear, bird’s-eye view of the organization.

A graphical format is easy to understand and quick to read. This makes organizational charts a good way to show employees and stakeholders how an organization is structured. 

Role Clarity

One of the primary purposes of an org chart is to provide role clarity. By visually mapping the roles and responsibilities within the organization, org charts ensure that every member of the team understands their duties, who they report to and how their role contributes to the overall business objectives. 

This clarity can enhance productivity and job satisfaction. It also reduces potential conflicts or misunderstandings within the team.


Org charts also serve as blueprints for communication within an organization. They illustrate the formal lines of communication, helping everyone understand who they should reach out to for specific concerns or queries. 

This visualization of the communication flow can promote more effective communication practices and prevent potential bottlenecks or communication breakdowns. 

Decision Making

By clearly outlining the authority, org charts also facilitate efficient decision-making processes. They show who holds the decision-making power for each area of business. This prevents potential disputes over authority and streamlines the decision-making process. 

This clarity can lead to quicker, more effective decisions, ultimately enhancing the organization’s responsiveness and competitiveness.

Resource Allocation

Organizational charts play a pivotal role in resource allocation. By providing a clear picture of the organization’s departments, teams and roles, org charts can help managers and leaders distribute resources more effectively. This includes budgets, manpower, and equipment, among others. 

This visibility can contribute to more strategic and efficient resource allocation. It, thus, directly influences the productivity and profitability of the organization.

The purpose of an organizational chart extends beyond simple structure illustration. It is a powerful tool that, when used correctly, can enhance role clarity, improve communication, facilitate decision-making, and optimize resource allocation. Regardless of the organization’s size or industry, an org chart can offer significant value and insight.

Importance of organizational chart in the workplace:

Having a visual representation of the organization’s structure also has an impact on a couple of other factors:


Org charts help to demonstrate clear reporting structures for all the employees in the organization. It creates a road-map for how the work is to be done and the process required to ensure this information is shared throughout the company, to the right individuals. And the way to ensure this takes place efficiently is, to have one supervisor or manager and few employees directly reporting to one.

In larger organizations particularly, employees need to know who is their reporting head. So that whenever there are issues or they require guidance pertaining to complex problems, their superiors can provide help as and when needed. It is best to seek help at the earliest instead of waiting for the right time or in standard meetups. Clearly defined chain of communication helps efficiently spread the message & minimizes losses in translation.

Impact on long-term planning:

Due to the visual nature of charts it gets easy to identify if any employee/team can become a bottleneck in the long run. If an employee or a team is shouldering more responsibility than they should, you can spot that in a minute in the org chart. This helps you in creating contingencies & backups in case of systemic breakdown. And that turns out to be a strategically important aspect as it also helps in business continuity planning.


For smaller companies or rising startups, growth is inevitable. As they enter new life cycles in their growth, restructuring is bound to happen. Employees can be shifted from one team to another or one department to another depending on their skills and expertise. And because the chart has detailed information about every employee’s abilities, it gets easy for the management to reshuffle and form a new team with the right balance of functional skills.

Alignment of goals:

For any company to succeed as a whole, everyone needs to be equally invested in its vision. They need to collectively work together to make sure efforts are taken in that direction. The OKR goal setting methodology, for example, talks about aligning goals at all the levels of the organization to ensure company objectives are achieved. This is one of the most important factors that has been instrumental in the popularity of this goal setting framework.

Organizational flowcharts help streamline the process of aligning these efforts and goals in one direction. When there is a clear relation between two or more levels, goals should be aligned the way OKR methodology suggests. Every employee is made aware of their roles and responsibilities in the workplace.

New employees also benefit from the organizational charts. Even before they get a chance to interact with their colleagues, they can easily determine who they are going to work with. It helps them connect more effectively and with purpose.

Types of organizational charts:

There are various types of charts and structures but the following 3 are widely used:

Different types of Organizational Charts

Hierarchical structure:

Hierarchical organizational charts are the most common structures as well as the most popular one. In this model, the employees are grouped together in a team where each one has one clear manager to report to. Groups can be formed depending on various factors such as functions (Product Development, HR, Marketing, Sales, etc.), geographically as well as according to various products or services that these individuals are working on.

Hierarchical structures are commonly observed in larger companies where power and authority increases as it ascends to the very top level of management. For example, in Government organizations.

Matrix structure:

Unlike traditional hierarchy, the structure of reporting is set up in the form of a grid or matrix. Employees with similar skills or expertise are grouped together for common tasks. However they may report to more than one manager.

For example, the sales team of a company may report to their Sales manager or Sales Head. But they also have to report to the Marketing Manager or Marketing Head to share the information collected through their interactions with prospects and customers.

In traditional organizational charts, this concept was known as solid line and dotted line reports.

Flat structure:

A flat structure or a horizontal structure is one where middle levels of management are eliminated to expedite the process of decision making in the workplace. This can be especially seen in startup cultures or smaller companies and is near impossible to use in larger organizations.

Flat organizational charts help to reduce bureaucracy and enable employees to take decisions independently. That is, without having to wait for their manager’s approval as crucial time may be lost. It further helps to improve their productivity while at the same time empowering them to be more accountable towards their work.

A popular misconception is that in flat hierarchies, employees do not have any managers or supervisors to report to. That is incorrect. They do have someone to report to but the power of decision making is shared which differentiates this structure from the previous ones mentioned.

Companies can choose any of the options depending on their growth stage and management’s discretion. One way or the other, these structures will help them manage their employees. Which one is most suited for your company?

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