What Are the Types of Organizational Charts?

by Patricia Smith Michaels; Updated September 26, 2017
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Businesses come in many different sizes and forms. Organizational charts are used to visually summarize the structure of a business. By using charts to study the overview of a business' structure, owners can analyze how effective operations run. By identifying bottlenecks and redundancies, organizations ensure smoother operations and increased efficiencies. Organizational charts display businesses from different aspects depending on the nature of the business and the needs of the chart creators. When creating charts, it is essential to think ahead as to how the charts will be used, how they will be presented and to whom they are presented to.

Hierarchical

Hierarchical charts show the relationships between top and lower levels. These types of charts can show an organization's structure, key top-level personnel and areas or employees they are in charge of. Hierarchical charts show authority and can be effective in summarizing the chain of command and accountability within an organization.

Matrix

Matrix charts display an organization as a group of teams with functions. Each box on the chart refers to the name of a team and its function or could display the team leader's name. In the latter case, each team's box breaks down into individual subteams of members and their subfunction.

Flat

Flat charts are used for companies that are owned, managed and operated with few employees. For instance, mom and pop stores are horizontal or flat organizations because there are few levels between these working the front line and management. Employees in flat organizations are often involved in key decision-making for the company. Flat organizational structures can be presented as a triangle which shows the owner at the top followed by a middle level and bottom level of departments.

Geographic

For very large companies with divisions dispersed throughout the world, a geographic organizational chart that shows the locations of divisions is beneficial. Typically, each box is used to display the division name, location and division head. The company's main headquarters is displayed on the top level with the other geographic locations given on the bottom level.

About the Author

Patricia Smith Michaels has been writing business and technology articles online since 2010. She has written instructional manuals and white papers for corporations and has more than 20 years of experience as a researcher and consultant in the areas of health care, education and management. She holds a Master of Business Administration in management and a Bachelor of Science in computers from St. John's University.

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