You need to keep in mind one simple principle, there’s always a manager and a subordinate, and there can be no managers without a hierarchy, regardless of what form it takes. Now let’s see how that works.

Definition of Management Hierarchy

A hierarchical organization is an organizational structure where every person in the organization, except one, is a subordinate to another person. The most typical representation of this structure is a pyramid with power concentrated at the top in a single person. In other words, only one can sit on the throne.

Business hierarchy

When it comes to businesses, the owner used to be the one at the top of the organization. Nowadays it’s rare to find single dominant shareholders, especially in large corporations.

Instead, the power of the owner is delegated to a board of directors, which in turn delegates the regular activities of the organization to the manager, or CEO, and they delegate it to other managers beneath them.

Supporters say that this allows for a more efficient way to manage, while cynics say that it allows for an easier way to avoid full responsibility. You decided which one is true.

Levels of management

Each organization handles hierarchy differently, and with that the relationship between the different managers. That said, most managers can be divided into three levels.

  • Low-level Managers. They are at the bottom of the hierarchy. They are the ones in charge of most employees, supervising their work and the day to day operations of the organization.
  • Mid-Level Managers. Mid-level managers act as intermediaries between lower-level managers and top-level managers. Some of them may still engage in the operations, but they mostly depend on lower level managers.
  • Top-Level Managers. Top-level managers are the top executives in a company. They are the ones responsible for choosing the direction it takes.

The popularity of traditional hierarchy

This type of organizational hierarchy is very common through the world and through history. The main reason why is so popular it’s because on one hand it limits the flow of information, allowing a better control of its distribution, and on the other it provides someone who can be clearly identified as the ruler.

However, these points are also its main flaws because a better control of information does not necessarily translate into a better use of that information, and the ruler may not necessary be a leader.