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What Is A Chain Of Command? Pros and Cons Revealed

chain-of-commandPosted on Mon Aug 08 20222 min read
chain-of-commandPosted on Mon Aug 08 20222 min read

The majority of organizations have a hierarchy describing which staff, teams, or divisions are responsible for. It is called an organization’s chain of command, which is a valuable feature. A chain of command lets any member of the organization know whom they report to and who constitutes their team. In this article, we address what is a chain of command and how the chain of command in the workplace is an important factor for a smooth working process.

What is a chain of command?

A chain of command is a type of organizational structure that records the relationship between the members of each company. The founder, owner, or CEO will be at the top of the list, and the individuals who report will be displayed immediately below. This trend persists until any individual or level of work in the organization. With the workers coming and going, this hierarchy changes over time. There is a chain of commands to delegate powers and obligations, inform staff about business news and build an information-sharing mechanism. It also ensures that every employee works for himself and a senior leader offers support, encouragement, and motivation.

Structure of the traditional chain of command 

The traditional command chain is a very common way to structure the authority levels of an enterprise. It is normal for different organizations, from customer companies to government bodies, to see the same chain of command structure. A business owner or CEO occupies the leading spot in a chain of commands as he holds the company’s top position. The next down step typically involves senior managers or people in a section of the company who are vice-presidents. These persons inform the owner or CEO directly.

You may find individual managers or superiors at the upper management level that are responsible for a department or group of employees. These workers will demonstrate that the estimates of their authority were their immediate boss under middle management and at the bottom of the chain of command. Moreover, depending on how big an organization is, how many divisions it has, and more, it is also found many ways to break down the hierarchy further. Depending on company needs, there can be more or fewer management levels.

The key thing to note is the more you have, the less authority, the further down the hierarchy is your status. Those at the top of the hierarchy have more power and are in a position to take important decisions. They also have more responsibility for the performance of the organization and all the people that fall within the control chain. Since there’s a typical chain of command structure in the hierarchy of an organization, the terminology used can be found to distinguish between companies. Some businesses define members of a company’s hierarchy with conventional words “superior” and “subordinate,” while others use “team members,” “employees,” or the actual employment names.

Chain of command advantages and disadvantages 

As with most items in a business, a chain of command is in place with some advantages and disadvantages. Take these advantages and disadvantages when choosing to establish or obey the existing chain of command:

Advantages of a chain of command:

Getting a chain in place is just some of the advantages that can be expected:

Increased efficiency

If only one person is told by an employee, they will work closely together, resulting in quicker communication and a faster solution to problems. Imagine, for example, a team member working to solve a customer query. Your director would probably have a greater understanding of the activities of your department and of how to solve the problem. The boss will provide them with useful feedback fast rather than an employee who goes to the next superior director. If required, the supervisor will lift the issue to higher management.

Clear direction

If a chain of command in the workplace is not in effect, employees can be instructed in dispute by different management representatives. A command chain helps reduce uncertainty or determine which director to listen to while carrying out a mission or project.


Supervisors and directors work closely with their direct reports in a chain of command and are more familiar with their roles and tasks on which they work at all times. This will lead to improved transparency and accountability as workers lead to success.


Employees naturally have concerns or need feedback on their job throughout the whole day. They also need job objectives and someone to help them. The chain of command offers continuity so that certain things can be experienced. An employee knows exactly how to answer input and assistance and thus feels more managed and stable in his position at work. An employee often knows utilizing a chain of command the aspirations of their boss and the circumstances a manager has to participate in.

Structured responsibility

Every employee in a chain of command has a set of responsibilities. Everyone knows what its work means and what it needs to accomplish its objectives with a chain of command.

Outside understanding

Some names hold a certain weight outside the company with individuals. For example, an upset client might want to talk to a senior manager because he or she knows that he or she can solve their problems more efficiently.

Disadvantages of a chain of command:

There are certain disadvantages a chain of command in the workplace can have. These are the disadvantages:

Slow communication

If a matter, issue, or concept needs to take a few steps of the control chain to be addressed or approved by top management, it may take some time. This can influence how fast workers can do tasks, such as finishing their project or solving a customer problem.

Less collaboration

An organization with a chain of command will work less together in the workplace as those at the top of the hierarchy set the requirements and regulations and require everyone else to meet them. Although central managers and staff may make decisions or have some flexibility in their jobs, the authority figures authorize it all and determine how the organization works. Furthermore, an employee can never get to know anyone above his direct supervision if the chain of control is respected.

Decreased employee empowerment

Without a chain of command, an organization would certainly value the empowerment of its employees and give its workers the right to decide on their job or a situation. This employee authority can be diminished by a command chain.

More competition

Decision-makers can compete with their peers across a chain of command since they feel protective of their workers and want to exercise control of their team. This could result in a mistrust culture amongst peer managers.

Final words

So by now, you must be clear about what is a chain of command and its advantages and disadvantages. It can be seen that modern ways of organization control are replacing the traditional chain of command structure. But one should consider the advantages and disadvantages before replacing them. You can use both methods side by side for better functioning of the organization and achieve success.

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