Chain of Command

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Description of Chain of Command. Explanation.

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Definition Chain of Command. Description.


The Chain of Command is a metaphor for the way power is passed down through a business organization. The term is supposed to have a military background.


Military personnel give orders to only those directly below them in the chain of command and receive orders from only those directly above. A soldier who has difficulty carrying out an order is likely to be disciplined for not observing the chain of command if he skips the officer who is in direct command of him and directly appeals to a higher-ranked officer in his chain of command.


The concept of chain of command implies that higher rank alone does not entitle a person to give commands. If an officer needs something from a common soldier of another unit, he is generally expected to approach him via his officer, who then contacts the soldier along his own chain of command.


Henri Fayol in his 14 Principles of Management, said that managers in a company normally exist in a chain of command that is hierarchical. Authority and responsibility are delegated down the chain of command and become less the lower one goes in the organization. Lower level managers have the responsibility of informing those senior in the Chain of Command of current information regarding task accomplishment.


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Compare also: Top-down Approach  |  Organizational Configurations  |  Covert Leadership  |  Art of War (Sun Tzu)  |  14 Principles of Management Fayol  |  Organization Chart

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