Learn How the Chain of Command Is Changing in Modern Times

Learn  How the Chain of Command Is Changing in Modern Times



   By John Wolf

The chain of command is the way the responsibility is going up to the top of the management and form the top downwards. All the organization has a chain of command, it can be the military or the civil government, the church or a university.

Chain of command

Reporting go form the bottom up to the head of the chain and orders go down from the head to the bottom.

The chain of command can be shown on the organizational chart. Each level on this chart report to the higher hierarchy

Every employee reports and receive orders from another employee, this is a tightened control system, the organization will have control of every step in the production or services process. This is the traditional structure of the organization chain of command, its allocation of power and control are tightened.

Looking at the organizational chart of the traditional company you will see the CEO on the top and the staff that report to the CEO directly on the second line of the chart. The third line will report to the second line and so the fourth line to the third and so on, the number of levels depends on the size of the organization. As we go down the charts level the power to take a decision if diminished.

Chain of Command in Organizational Structure

This is the hierarchical method that organizing information flow, Policymaking, power and authority, each level have its responsibilities and report to the higher level.

The language and terminology used are, subordinate for the reporting employee and superior to the employees that are receiving the reports.

The superior staff is the managers the lower are supervisors, the larger the organization is, the use of these titles will be more common.

Command and control are the reason to be for the chain of command in the organization. The higher in the chain of command you are more power, authority and responsibilities will be in your hands.

Is it time to say good-bye to the chain of command?

There are pros and cons in the traditional hierarchical structure 

Positive Aspects of the Chain of Command

  • The reporting is clear between the employees that are designated with clear responsibility for communication of the information and give the direction and delegate the authority.

  • Each employee has one boss above him and not like in a matrix organization.

  • .Responsibilities and accountability are assigned in a clear way, managers have a clear responsibility for a group of employees with a clear job to do.

  • Workers know who is the boss that can assist and give instruction.

  • Working is more simple under a clear structure, employees know who is there to help in solving problems, to pass their voice to higher levels.

  • The chain of command is important for the communication with the customers and vendors, they know who is the employee that they need to talk about their needs. Job titles for the higher level will be the direction for the owners for asking reports or any other information.

Challenges of the Organizational Chain of Command

  • Chain of command came from the army to the industrial revolution. Work in the factories was simple with a lot of manual work, no communication options, small group manage the operation and hierarchic was very clear and power in a few hands.

  • Today’s world is very different, communication between people has abounded, jobs are more intellectual and many jobs are informational-based. The traditional chain of command impedes the new options, it is slowing the process because it is too centralist and too depending on the managers.

  • Today information can move instantly from the manager to the supervisors without the staff that had to move papers from the boss’s desk to the manager desk. One email makes it in a second to all the managerial staff.

  • Flexibility is what we need for today’s tempo of life and work, A waiting customer will go to the competition, the employee will call for help to his boss or his boss for a problem resolving. No one will let a client go without buying. Hierarchy is less respected, sometime employee will have to take action by himself to save the situation. 

  • Modern managing requires employees that can respond immediately, to do so they need to have the information instantly without looking for the bosses signature or last ok for the action.

  • Jobs are not that rigidly defined as in the past, employees empowerment will give greater autonomy to the employees.

Today’s hierarchical order is much flexible, the organization chart is still there but the lines are not as rigid as in the past.

In the past things were clear, there was no way for an employee to overpass his boss and talk to his boss. In the case that it was done there was a letter sent to the employee tell him to stop doing it.

Easy communication changed the workplace completely. The organization levels of managers and supervisors can delegate more job to the employees and at the same time see the report on email together with the lower level.

Today’s managers have a board span to control than in the past.

To be able to manage the new intimation of job they are forced to delegate and use the Internet, PC, and smartphones. Decisions can be made from distance and control by those who work on the ground.

Position Power

A new employee took an hour of work only for writing a letter to the VP level manager, the reason was that it was written to someone very important in the company.

Modern management science people are looking for other option than the management and use of the organization chain of command. But there is no other option, even the smallest company need an organized chain of command.

Modern Organization Structure

The fast-changing present can show us what the future holds for an innovative organizational structure that will be able to emulate the needs of employees, organization, and marketplace.

The rise of gig workers and another way of telework and employees that are in a remote place and not in the main workplace of the organization. Having employees or people working for the same manager will need to create new management structures.

There will always be the hierarchical chain of command as owners and executives that spread the power down the chain. No groups of people can do something together without a leader, it can be elected as prime minister or a sole owner of a business so the hierarchy is there to stay.

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Disclaimer: John Wolf and paystubmakr.com are making a total effort to offer accurate, good, ethical HR management, employer, and workplace advice.  We do not use the words of an attorney and the content on the site is not given as legal advice. The website has readers from all US states which all have different laws on these topics. The reader should look for legal advice before taking any action.  The information presented on this website is offered as a general guide only and never as legal advice.