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Relevance Of Org Charts in 21st Century

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

Should we Circulate Organizational Charts among all employees ?

Org Charts as we know them are regarded as standard business practice in majority of Organizations. These are basically charts which shows top down hierarchy of an organization starting from the CEO at the top and going down to the mid- management levels at the bottom.

Brigadier General Daniel McCallum is recognized as the developer of the org chart in the 19th century. Today almost 200 years later we need to revisit and debate on whether we need org charts circulating within organization or not.

Lot of people believe that org Charts are absolutely necessary for any firm or organization and it is very much relevant even today. 21st century is all about open door policy and transparency, Org Charts definitely cater to that. It helps each and every employee of an organization to understand the hierarchy and reporting structure of top management and leadership. It is a tool to help everyone understand how organization is working as a whole showing the chain of command. Executives can see which departments require additional employees and which departments are overstaffed. This knowledge makes it easier to balance out teams and ensure managers have enough workers to reach their goals.

Org Charts was originally adopted during industrial revolution era, at a time of expanding railroad businesses. Notably, the Erie Railroad was a thriving but extremely disorganized company responsible for transporting goods throughout the Northeastern United States.

We are now in information revolution era and we have millennials at workplace who expects attention & are looking to make quick impact. An org chart does satisfy the executives and maybe their egos however no human being want to be seen as subordinate to another and on top of that vast majority of employees does not make it to the Org Chart.

Thereby an Org chart is good to have but bad to circulate as it demotivates employees.

According to David Packard (the late CEO and co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Corporation), “after you get organized, you ought to throw your organization chart away.” Robert Townsend, the former president and chairman of Avis once cautioned “never formalize, print and circulate your organizational chart” and according to biographer Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs once exclaimed: “These charts are bullshit".

I echo with all of them.


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