The chain of command of the administration of a company is the hierarchy by which decisions are made within an organization.
Typically, they are organized based on the unity of command. The control unit means that each employee receives orders from one superior.
That is, each person is assigned a direct manager who is the only one who can establish the tasks and obligations of the worker.
This vertical relationship also works in the opposite direction. When an employee has a complaint or simply a suggestion for improvement, they should communicate it to their superior.
If it is the responsibility of someone higher up, his superior will be in charge of communicating it to his fine and so on.
This format is the most common and can be very useful, although some alternatives have emerged that advocate greater horizontality in recent years.
However, both options have advantages and disadvantages, and it will depend on the culture of the company, its organization, and even human capital to discern which option is more appropriate.
Objectives of the chain of command of administration of a company
The objectives of the management chain of command are to improve the transmission of orders, optimize decision-making and avoid saturation and unnecessary information. It is one of the main aspects to improve at work when looking for weak points.
According to this business administration methodology theory, the company will perform better, be more productive, and save costs by having much faster and more hierarchical decision-making.
But let’s go on to see these objectives one by one and how it works and in which other issues it does not.
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Improve order transmission
This is the main objective of adopting a company’s management chain of command that each employee knows what to do and does not receive mixed messages.
It is common in companies that do not follow this model that different people at a higher level can give other or even contrary orders to their subordinates.
Due to differences in criteria, on many occasions, on other events, because they do not even know that the other orders or directives have been given. Thanks to this system, these types of situations or misunderstandings are avoided.
Each person knows who they are accountable to and who must authorize changes or can establish the tasks to be performed.
In addition, it is a way to reduce labor disputes. When everyone is clear about their role, problems diminish.
Optimize decision making
This brings us to the second objective, which is to optimize decision-making. To do this, it is essential to know who is responsible for each decision.
With the chain of command, the responsibilities of each person are also established. Thus, each employee knows how far he can or cannot go and in which cases he must request the approval of a superior. In case there is a problem, it is easy to find the person responsible.
In some cases, especially in larger companies, this goal can also backfire against other methodologies.
The reason is that decisions often require speed, and this option slows it down until it reaches the last responsible party.
To avoid this, it is always advisable to have a series of assumptions. You can act independently to adapt to a fast and changing environment that requires greater flexibility in decisions.
Avoid unnecessary information and saturation
Not everyone has to know everything that happens in the company. Transparency is a value on the rise today in employer branding work, but ideally, the employee to have access to information when you need it, not at all times.
Otherwise, if employees spend the day in online or face-to-face meetings that do not even have to do with their work, they are fed up. If, in addition, they do not have decision-making power and are only for informational purposes, greater frustration may occur.
Thanks to the chain of command of a company’s administration, employees have a direct manager to receive the information. The same person who can receive your complaints and suggestions, achieving greater feedback from the moment any change is proposed.
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Characteristics of the chain of command
We have already seen that the main characteristic of the chain of command is the sole command or unity of command. Each person must have only one person above him.
This does not mean that below it is similar. Typically, each person in managerial positions has different department managers in charge, these to various project managers and ordinary employees.
Likewise, managers will have to report to the CEO of the company.
For the management chain of command to function well, the company’s organizational chart must be clear. In this organization chart, we can also see how the teams are managed and how to apply all the theoretical parts.
In the organization charts, we also see why it is easier to apply in small and medium-sized companies, with few steps or people up to the highest decision-making authority, than in large multinationals or, for example, in public administration, characterized by its immobility.
Even so, if the functions and responsibilities of each superior are correctly defined, the operation under this method can be correct and efficient.
How to control the chain of command of a company?
There is an obvious problem in a system as vertical as the one proposed by this methodology.
If either manager fails, behaves tyrannically, or doesn’t work properly, it can completely screw up the entire workflow down to the lowest levels.
Likewise, it isn’t easy to detect if someone abuses their authority since the employee has to turn to that person.
This can lower the retention rate of talent, create a bad work environment and even affect the company’s productivity.
Combined, three elements will allow dealing with the potential errors that exist in said system. They all have one point in common: the Human Resources department.
The first is that this department must always be available to any employee, regardless of their level in the company. Whether you are a regular employee or a middle manager, you need to be able to go when you detect a problem without involving your superiors.
In addition, to function, this department (or the person in charge of a small company) must offer anonymity. In this way, workers will feel the confidence to attend without fear of reprisals from their superiors.
In addition, the department shall conduct periodic employee satisfaction surveys. Through them, they will check if the employees are happy and everyone is fulfilling their role.
Finally, it is also important that they study performance evaluation. In such a hierarchical structure, it is essential to make promotions or changes objectively and that staff is more satisfied with their position.
Also, so that effort and good work are rewarded, there is nothing more effective against motivation than seeing that the structures of a company are immutable and that talent and work do not matter.
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The chain of command in teleworking
With the current situation of prevention of coronavirus in companies, teleworking is prevailing in most companies.
In this new context, this traditional way of working is gaining more followers. We have already discussed the advantages and disadvantages of teleworking.
In the case of the chain of command, it allows greater clarity in the orders and a much more effective organization than with other methodologies.
The chain of command of administration in a company allows each employee to be more clear about their functions, their responsibilities, and the reports that they must provide.
Likewise, it allows those responsible for managing the teams more effectively, without third parties who get in the way and hinder the work.