What Do Job Titles Signify on the Organization Chart?

Job Titles Tell You about an Employee's Position in the Hierarchy

Employees look at the job titles and hierarchy on the organization chart.
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Job titles are the official names or designations for the title of or what you would call an employee who is performing a specific job. Job titles designate a specific role, in a specific job, that has a particular status, at a particular level in the hierarchy of an organization.

Job titles designate the positions or job responsibilities of the organizational hierarchy including executive management, management, supervisory, professional, and employee positions or levels within the job structure of an organization.

Job titles illustrate the reporting relationships and the level status of various employees within an organization. Job titles, in some instances, may designate an individual as an officer of the company with particular responsibilities for which they are legally accountable in that position.

You will frequently find job titles and the organization hierarchy displayed on an organizational chart. Job titles are often a communication about and a reflection of your organization's culture.

Levels in the Job Title Hierarchy

Organizations come up with all sorts of titles that they believe demonstrate their corporate values, define the responsibilities of a position, and designate its place in the organization's hierarchy. The same job can have different titles depending on the company, the industry, the location, customer facing responsibilities, the size of the company, and more.

Here is an example of the job titles that are commonly in use in the field of Human Resources to illustrate this point.

The organizational hierarchy is generally a multilayer management structure in which the employees at the next level report to the managers or executives who are at the level above them.

These are titles that you would typically find in an organization with the level of the job represented numerically.

You won't find all of them in any organization and you will find many variations that suit their organization and its hierarchical structure.

  1. Chairman of the Board of Directors
  2. Vice Chairman of the Board
  3. Board of Directors (members)

These people are external to the operations of the organization although the Chief Executive Officer and even the President frequently sit on the Board.

Following is the internal hierarchy.

  1. Chief Executive Officer
  2. Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO), Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), Chief Data Officer (CDO), Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Chief Talent Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHR), Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Chief User Experience Officer (CUEO), Chief Automation Officer (CAO), Chief Intellectual Property Officer (CIPO)
  3. President
  4. Executive Vice President
  5. Senior Vice President
  6. Vice President
  7. Assistant Vice President
  8. Associate Vice President
  9. Senior Director
  10. Director
  11. Assistant Director
  12. Manager
  13. Middle Manager of people or a function
  1. Employees, freelancers, contract employees, temporary employees, contingent employees. part time employees

An organizational chart is a visual communication tool. The organizational chart allows employees and other stakeholders to see employee job titles and the reporting relationships in an organization. It is a reflection of your organization's culture.

The organizational chart usually portrays the organization's structure using boxes and vertical and horizontal lines to connect the boxes. The vertical lines demonstrate the reporting relationships of supervisors and their reporting staff.

The lateral or horizontal lines indicate a working relationship. A dotted or broken line indicates a strong working relationship with an employee who may supervise your work or projects. But, the employee is not your boss.

Use of Organizational Charts

Organizational charts are used for:

  • organizational and supervisory communication,
  • workforce planning,
  • departmental or team planning,
  • resource planning,
  • change management,
  • organizational restructuring or redesign, and
  • job analysis.

Types of Organizational Charts

If you look at an organizational chart and find rows of vertical boxes with few relationship lines extending from the boxes, the organization is probably hierarchical.

The boxes on an organizational chart for a flat organization have a more horizontal relationship. In a team-based, empowering organization, each supervisor has many reporting staff members.

The team-based organizational chart may focus on the relationship between teams to illustrate the interlinking of people and teams.

A matrix organizational chart is difficult to make because of the number of interconnected employees and teams. The matrix organizational chart I have seen most frequently has products listed in the left-hand column, teams (or functions) listed horizontally, and lines and dotted lines demonstrate the relationships.

Predictions for the Future of the Job Title Hierarchy

Some analysts and consultants predict that you will see a continued expansion in the executive jobs with titles at the C-level or in the C-suite as it has come to be called, such as COO, CEO, and CIO.

As the war for talent increases, qualified executives for these roles will demand the C-level title so that they have equivalent authority and responsibility with their co-executives. (I have provided a sample of the type of jobs above that will eventually hold C-level titles.)

Analysts are also predicting the flattening of the hierarchy through the elimination of many middle management roles in favor of executive level managers who report to the executives at the C-level. This will have the effect of eliminating a communication and goal definition level that has frequently created problems in effective organization communication and trust building in organizations.

According to Jared Lindzon who writes for Fast Company on the future of work, "fifty-three million Americans, or 34% of the U.S. workforce, are considered contingent, temporary, diversified, or freelance employees today, with that number expected to reach 40% by the year 2020."

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