Daniel McCallum drafted the first modern organization chart in 1857, to describe the complex reporting structure for New York and Erie Railroad.
|The First Organization Chart|
This question of origin and history has haunted me ever since a lawyer asked for the organization charts for Michener Centre dating back to the 1940's. I looked hard enough to say with confidence that if these organization charts were ever made, they do not exist now. I advised that if such a chart was needed, the lawyer would have to pull back individual employee files to reconstruct the reporting relationships. A simple request had become a slog.
So organization charts are a useful business tool, and help clarify relationships. They satisfy an underlying need in all of us for order, clarity. The jungle of existence is cleared away and we have focus and direction. I recommend Weinberger's book to understand how the third order of organization - big data and the cloud - can turn this sense of order on its' head.
This being early morning, my first desire to capture this history (for my own peace of mind) was quickly followed by a recollection of my own working organization chart for the middle manager. I have used this chart many times to explain to colleagues and subordinates how middle managers keep tabs of the "front line" and how we simultaneously reassure executive that all is in order.