The First Organization Chart of McCallum

12manage is looking for students!

Organization Chart
Knowledge Center


Next Topic

Organization Chart > Best Practices > The First Organization Chart of McCallum

The First Organization Chart of McCallum
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Who could supply me with a copy of the 1854 org chart made by Daniel McCallum? Who has proof of even earlier organizational charts? Please send them to me, thanks

McCallum Organisation Chart
Alleisha Shaddick, Student (University), Australia, Member
I found that ... the formalized organizational chart has been around since 1854, when Daniel McCallum became general superintendent of the New York and Erie Railroadne of the world's longest railroads. According to McCallum, since the railroad was one of the longest, the operating costs per mile should be less than those of shorter railroad lines. However, this was not the case. To remedy management inefficiencies, McCallum designed the first organizational chart in order to create a sense of structure.
The organizational chart has been described as looking like a tree, with the roots representing the president and the board of directors, while the branches symbolize the various departments and the leaves depict the staff workers...
Source: Chandler, Alfred D., Jr. (1988). "Origins of the Organization Chart" Harvard Business Review 88:2, (March/April):p. 156.

Daniel McCallum's Organizational Chart
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
On the site of Willamette University I found this text:
In 1855 Daniel C. McCallum, general superintendent of the Eric Railroad, pointed out that the reason his line and other large lines such as the New York Central, the Pennsylvania, and the Baltimore & Ohio were in financial distress was a problem of management. He wrote:

"A superintendent of a road fifty miles in length can give its business his professional attention and may be constant]y on the line engaged in die direction of its details; each person is personally known to him, and all questions in relation to its business are at once presented and acted upon; and any system however imperfect may under such circumstances prove comparatively successful." (Chandler, 1962)

These comments recall the spectacular ease with which Napoleon dealt with grave military disadvantages when he had only seventy to eighty thousand troops to maneuver on a single, cormpact battlefield. But, McCallum continued, when one attempts to manage a railroad "five hundred miles in length a very different state exists. Any system which might be applicable to the business and extent of a short road would be found entirely inadequate to the wants of a long one." For want of an adequate organizational system, McCallum argued, the large railroads faced financial failure.

McCallum quickly moved to install a management system to replace the overloaded manager. He broke his railroad into geographical divisions of manageable size. Each was headed by a superintendent responsible for the operations within his division, Each divisional superintendent was required to submit detailed reports to central headquarters, from where McCallum and his aides coordinated and gave general direction to the operations of the separate divisions. Lines of authority between each superintendent and his subordinates and between each superintendent and headquarters were clearly laid out. In sketching these lines of authority on paper, McCallum created what might have been the first organizational chart for an American business (Chandler 1962). Soon the other great railroads copied the Erie's system, enabling the big railroads to function as effectively as small ones. As a result, railroads rapidly became the largest industrial companies of that time,

The railroads had two direct effects on other industrial firms. First, they made it possible for other firms to grow by using rail shipments to reach national rather than just local markets. Rail shipments could carry goods across the nation and bring needed supplies from far away. Second, the railroads provided a first crude organizational model for operating large firms. As other kinds of firms grew, they adopted the idea of divisions, but as we shall see, these were based on functions rather than geography. As they grew, new industrial firms created functional divisions that controlled each step in production through a process called vertical integration. These two features of industrial firms came to dominate organizational theory for many decades.

Still no sign of McCallum's actual organization chart yet :-(

Is the hunt for the First Organization Chart now over?
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Good news, apparently I was not the only one looking for the first organogram ever which was reported to have been created by Daniel C. McCallum.
Caitlin Rosenthal, an alumnus of McKinsey’s Houston office, reports in McKinseyQuarterly March 2013 she found it after a period of desperate search in a very nice and interesting article.
Below you can have a peek; for the larger size and the interesting story of finding the map etc, I recommend to visit the McKQ web site.

If you know of even earlier attempts to create an organization chart, I'd be delighted to hear from you.

History of Organization Charts
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, Premium Member
Peter F. Drucker in his book “Management Task, Responsibilities, Practices” (1973, 1974; p.526) gives credit to the Catholic Church under canon law for the first (scalar) organizational structure of the modern West, about 800 years ago. Priest – Bishop – Pope.

Drucker also credits modern organizational structures (large and complex companies) to Alfred P. Sloan Jr., CEO, General Motors during the 1920’s. For smaller, single-product businesses, he credits Henri Fayol (1910). Drucker also notes that “there is no perfect organization” (p.546). He describes malorganization and organizitis as the reasons for organizational flaws and problems. He notes, “what matters is not the chart, but the organization” (p.548). FYI, Alfred Chandler (Strategy and Structure, 1966) may also be a noteworthy author, who identified that “structure follows strategy.”

Richard Hogetts in his book Management: Theory, Process, and Practice (1975) describes how the Roman Emperor Diocletian (in 284 AD) reorganized the Roman Empire by creating two additional organizational levels between his position and the 100 Provincial Governors. In addition, the Governors had civil governmental authority and no military authority. Hogetts also describes the structure of a Roman Legion. Of course, there is mention of organization charts. Hogett’s defines an organization chart as “a diagram of an organization’s departments and their relationship to each other” (p.583).

Special Interest Group Leader

Interested? Sign up for free.

Organization Chart
Best Practices

Organization Chart
Knowledge Center


Next Topic

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2019 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.1 - Last updated: 15-9-2019. All names ™ of their owners.