What Is the Chain of Command in Organizational Structure? Understanding the Pros & Cons

In any organization, the chain of command plays a crucial role in defining authority and communication channels. Explore the benefits and drawbacks of this hierarchical structure for effective decision-making and accountability.

what is the chain of command in organizational structures

Have you ever worked in a diverse team of multiple members, especially in corporate sectors? If yes, you must be aware of how important the chain of command is to run all the business operations smoothly. This is what every business owner or entrepreneur wants.

Do you own a big organization and are looking forward to maintaining a peaceful environment within the workplace? This is where the organizational chain of command plays a key role. Don't you know whether or not an appropriate chain of command in organizational structures is beneficial for your business? This article has everything to share in this regard. Give the below discussion a careful read.

Chain of Command in Organizational Structures: Let's Understand What It Is?

A well-defined hierarchy that determines "who has to report to whom" is commonly called the chain of command in organizational structures. Apart from that, this hierarchy also highlights the roles of every employee working within the organization.

The best thing associated with the organizational chain of command is that it lets every person know their space within the workplace and where they should go to get answers to their queries or concerns.

We can break the chain of command into multiple levels. It starts with the most senior managers who have the highest decision-making power, and ends with the people working in entry-level positions. Between these two extreme positions, there exist a variety of departments, including human resources, sales, finance, marketing, and the list goes on. Every department has its own responsibilities to fulfill.

1. The Leading Purposes of the Chain of Command

Are you searching for the major purposes associated with the chain of command within an organization? If yes, below is a list of a few potential purposes you are looking for. Let's have a look.

  • The very first and the most important purpose of the chain of command is to let everyone know their work responsibilities and what they are supposed to do within the working environment.
  • The chain of command maintains effective communication everywhere, from the top decision-making management to the lower positions.
  • This hierarchy is known for improving the overall productivity of a business by maintaining a smooth workflow, which is another leading purpose of the chain of command.

2. Pros

The chain of command in organizational structures offers a wide range of benefits, as listed below.

  • Structured Responsibility: Every team member who appears on the chain of command has predefined goals to achieve. Therefore, every employee works hard to fulfill their responsibilities, achieving greater success as a whole.
  • Clear Direction: When the top management defines the responsibility of every employee, the direction to work in becomes super clear, and no one gets confused about what to do and what not.
  • Improve Efficiency: When employees know that they have to report to a single manager (who has a better understanding of the work), they work closely to get better outcomes in the end. Hence, overall productivity increases greatly.
  • Accountability: The chain of command within the company allows the senior managers to keep an eye on whether or not every employee fulfills their responsibilities. This is how accountability is maintained effectively.
  • Stability: Every employee may need support from senior management on a daily basis to do their routine tasks. The chain of command empowers all employees to ask about their concerns whenever they want. This is what is known as stability.
  • Outside Understanding: The chain of command develops a clear outside understanding. For instance, if a customer is unhappy with a business's services and wants to meet the top management because he believes that they will solve his problem in a better way.

3. Cons

Along with a wide range of benefits, there are a few drawbacks associated with the organizational chain of command. Let's look at them one by one.

  • Enhanced Competition: When working under the same manager, different employees may feel that they have to compete with each other to stand out. Therefore, the organizational standards may get disturbed.
  • Slow Communication: When a lower-level staff has some concerns, they have to go to the upper management to get better solutions. The multiple levels of the chain of command will make communication slow.
  • Less Empowered Employees: The chain of command gives decision-making power to very few people from the top management, and employees can't take a step forward without their permission. This is why the sense of less empowerment prevails.
  • Less Collaboration: An organization with a predefined chain of command offers set standards, and everyone has to follow them. As a result, collaboration within the working environment reduces greatly because everyone thinks that their opinions or ideas will not be worthy enough for the company.

Analyzing the Chain of Command in Different Organizational Structures

Now that you know what the organizational chain of command is and how it helps your business grow. It is time to analyze the chain of command in different organizational charts to understand this subject better. The four org structures created in Wondershare EdrawMind are listed below. Let's analyze the chain of command in these org charts.

1. The Chain of Command When Manufacturing Mobile Covers

The org chart attached below displays that four different departments (human resources, manufacturing, finance, and marketing) are working on manufacturing mobile covers. It means the decision-making power is divided into these departments. The human resource manager is responsible for hiring skilled technicians. On the other hand, the manufacturing manager has control of the whole manufacturing department.

At the same time, finance and marketing managers have to work on maintaining a smooth budget flow and intensive marketing campaigns to ensure decent product sales in the end. They are responsible for achieving different goals. But all four managers have a single goal of taking the mobile covers business to the next level.

2. The Chain of Command in the Marketing Department

It is very clear from the below picture that the marketing department has four managers (creative, customer acquisition, customer engagement, and PR branding). They all have different teams to control and fulfill their responsibilities.

These managers have good decision-making authority, but they all will be reporting to the senior manager of marketing, who is above all. This is how the chain of command is divided into the marketing department of an organization.

3. The Chain of Command for a Company with Two Working Sites

This org chart shows that two different groups have been assigned the responsibility of managing two different sites of a company. Every group is further divided into subgroups and users to maintain a continuous workflow. Each group has to report to their site managers, who will further report to the top management about the work progress.

4. The Chain of Command of a Marketing Director

The marketing director (Lilly Snap) has three managers working under her, i.e., a media manager (William John), a development manager (Jay Potter), and a product manager (Ron Watson). Different team leaders, sales persons, and groups work under these managers.

Lilly Snap has the highest decision-making authority, which is further divided into managers. Employees have to report to these managers, whereas the managers are responsible for reporting to the marketing director, Lilly Snap.

Illustrate the Chain of Command in an Organization with EdrawMind

When it comes to creating an organizational structure with Wondershare EdrawMind (as presented below), the illustration of the organizational chain of command becomes super easy. But how?

Well, EdrawMind enables you to draw appealing, easy-to-understand, fully customized org structures to give better insights into the organizational hierarchical standards. The best thing associated with EdrawMind is that you have to provide it with a limited amount of information, and it has the ability to present it well in an easily understandable way.

We have presented four EdrawMind org chart templates in the above section and highlighted the chain of command in each of them. If you have missed reading through the above section, make sure you scroll up a bit and give it a read.


Wondershare EdrawMind simplifies the creation of organizational structures by allowing users to easily illustrate the chain of command. It offers customizable org chart templates that provide better insights into hierarchical standards, requiring only a limited amount of information for clear and understandable representations.

Or If you are interested, you can learn more about tips for creating organizational strutures.

How To Create an Organizational Structure Using Wondershare EdrawMind?

Do you want to create an org chart for your company? Looking for an efficient tool to do a quick job? Then, there is nothing better than trying Wondershare EdrawMind. It is available for iOS, Android, Web, Linux, Windows, and Mac devices.

You can use pre-built org structure templates or create an org chart from scratch with this utility. The choice is purely yours. However, this section focuses on creating an organizational structure using the "Org Chart" feature of EdrawMind. Let's look at how it works.

Step 1: Open the Wondershare EdrawMind software on your computer. If you don't have it installed, you can download and install it from the official website. From the main interface, choose the "Org Chart" option.

create an org structure with edrawmind

Step 2: As soon as you choose this feature, you will see a basic layout on your screen, as shown below.

org chart creation in wondershare edrawmind

Step 3: Double-click on the green-colored box located at the top of the figure above to enter the main idea. Use the same method to add and elaborate on the main topics within the organizational structure.

Step 4: Add subtopics and link them to your main topic as and when needed.

Step 5: This step is about customizing the organizational structure by adding additional information to each node, such as the names of individuals holding each position. You can also use different fonts, colors, and icons to enhance the visual representation of your structure.

personalizing your org structure with edrawmind

Step 6: Export your fully customized organizational chart to various file formats. Wondershare EdrawMind allows you to save your creation as PDF, PNG, or other compatible formats for easy sharing and collaboration.

export your org chart using edrawmind

Final Words

The chain of command in organizational structures defines the roles of every individual working in an organization. In addition, this hierarchical diagram makes everyone familiar with whom to report to. The organizational chain of command has a variety of benefits, including giving clear directions to all employees, increased productivity, and effective communication.

If you are looking forward to creating an engaging and easily understandable org chart for your company, try making it using Wondershare EdrawMind. It is a great org structure creation tool that works perfectly on a wide range of devices, like Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. You can also give EdrawMind Online a try. It does not ask you to download any application on your system.

EdrawMind logoEdrawMind Apps
Outline & Presentation Mode
Real-time collaboration
22 structures & 47 themes
5,000+ free templates & 750+ cliparts
EdrawMath formula
Generate mind maps, slides, and more with AI
edrawmax logoEdrawMind Online
Outline & Presentation Mode
Real-time collaboration
22 structures & 47 themes
5,000+ free templates & 750+ cliparts
LaTex formula
Generate mind maps, slides, and more with AI

EdrawMind Team
EdrawMind Team Apr 10, 24
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