Chain Of Command: Definition, Advantages, Disadvantages

Chain Of Command

It’s essential to have a proper hierarchy or managerial structure within every organization. Otherwise, it will create ambiguity and a lot of problems in managing the organization. Having an organizational order that helps in controlling is known as a chain of command.

In this article, you will clearly understand the concept, its features, advantages, and disadvantages. After reading this, you will create a proper hierarchy within your organization to keep everything in order.

Chain Of Command And Its Features

A chain of command is a structural hierarchy within an organization. It clearly defines who should report to whom and who is in charge of whom. Take a look at the features and structure of a good chain of command.

1. Order Of Ranks

Chain Of Command - Order Of Ranks

The order of ranks is the key feature because it clearly defines the rank of employees at different levels. Order of ranks helps employees to understand their responsibilities within the organization and act accordingly. It creates discipline and helps in the smooth running of the organization.

2. Unity Of Command

Unity of command helps the organization to avoid any conflict while making decisions. Since the accountability of decisions is defined, only one person takes a particular decision. It prevents any kind of conflict in decision-making.

3. Accountability

Chain Of Command - Accountability

A chain of command provides particular decisions to its employees. So, people can make decisions at different levels. This makes the whole process smooth because people take responsibility for their decisions.

4. Delegation Of Authority

A good chain of command clearly defines the delegation of authority. That means it becomes easier for people to know from whom to take instructions and who to give orders. For example, top-level managers can delegate the authority to their subordinate managers to attend a meeting on their behalf.

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5. Levels Of Management

Chain Of Command - Levels Of Management

Another important feature is it helps to maintain different levels of management. There are three levels of management within an organization:

  • Top-Level: People in top-level management set the future goals of an organization and are involved in planning.
  • Middle-Level: These managers are involved in executing the plan and making modifications when necessary.
  • Low-Level: These managers keep track of the day-to-day activities of the employees.

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Advantages Of Chain Of Command

There are several benefits of a good chain of command; some of them are as follows:

  • Responsibility: Businesses have different responsibilities, and it’s important to distribute them among your employees. Everyone has individual responsibilities, and their supervisors should handle them.
  • Productivity: An efficient chain of command will foster good workflow and proper management, which ultimately improves the productivity of the employees.
  • Maintain Good Relationships Internally and Externally: It does not just help you to foster good employee relationships. It also allows your organization to build strong relationships with customers, vendors, and stakeholders. Again, a good chain command helps employees to convey their role and authority within the organization.
  • Boost Employee Morale: Another great advantage is that it helps to boost employee morale because they can communicate with their supervisors about their concerns. A good managerial structure helps employees to solve their problems properly.

Disadvantages Of Chain Of Command

Now that you understand the advantages, there are also some probable drawbacks.

  • Less Collaboration: A major drawback of having a chain of command within the organization is poor collaboration due to the people who are at the top of the hierarchy operating the organization. They set the rules, but the employees and middle managers have some autonomy in their work. In such a case, there can be less collaboration between the authority figures and employees.
  • Reduced Employee Empowerment: When there is a chain of command, the employees may not take the decision in a particular situation. So, it can discourage employees because they cannot act on their own in a particular situation.
  • More Competition: Another key problem is it can increase the competition among managers. It’s because decision-making managers may feel that their fellow managers are trying to be protective of their employees and employ control over them. So, it can lead to a factor of mistrust among peer managers.
  • Slow Communication: There can be slow communication because an idea or problem needs to go through several steps before reaching the decision-maker. For example, employees need to inform the supervisor about their concerns. The supervisor then talks to their immediate managers; the managers may decide or seek advice from their senior managers about the problem. So, communication can be very slow, especially in the case of a long chain of command.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Now that you have understood the concept, its benefits, and drawbacks, here are some common questions asked by employees.

1. Is A chain Of Command Important?
Yes, it is important because a proper chain of command establishes a hierarchical structure that helps to maintain order within the organization. When the managerial structure is clearly defined, it’s easier to set expectations at every level. It also allows employees to know whom to concern in certain situations.
2. What Are The Principles Of The Chain Of Command?
There are two principles-

  1. Unity of command
  2. Scalar principles

The unity of command states that every employee should have only one supervisor. The scalar principle states that all the employees have a clear line of authority in the organization.

3. What Happens When The Chain Of Command Is Broken?
When the chain of command breaks, it will create a lack of respect for authority within the organization. So, it’s essential that leaders should teach their employees about it and respect it.
4. Does The Chain Of Command Work In Both Ways?
Yes, the chain of command works both ways. It’s not meant to mistreat employees and suffer; instead, it’s quite the opposite. It’s a way to encourage workers to maintain good relationships with the supervisors and have a system that can be useful for a change through a single system.

Final Words

Hopefully, you have got some insights into the concept of chain of command, its principles, advantages, and disadvantages. However, some organizations have informal managerial structures. Lastly, don’t hesitate to share what you think about this post in the comments section.

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