What Do Staff Job Titles Signify on the Organization Chart?

Job Titles Tell You About an Employee's Position in the Organization's Hierarchy

Employees look at the job titles and hierarchy on the organization chart.
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Job titles are the official names or designations for the title of what you would call an employee who is performing a specific job. Job titles designate a specific role, in a specific job, that has a particular status. Each job functions at a particular level in the hierarchy of an organization on the company's organizational chart.

What Job Titles Designate

These job titles designate the hierarchy—from executive management to low-ranking employees—within the job structure of an organization. They also denote the reporting relationships of staff members as well as the status level within the company. In some instances, titles designate an individual as an officer of the company with specific responsibilities that make them legally accountable in their position. These include such staff positions as CEO, president, and vice president,  

You will frequently find job titles and the organization hierarchy displayed on an organizational chart which reflects your organization's culture. These rankings demonstrate your commitment to a top-down, hierarchical organization versus a relatively flat reporting structure.

Levels in the Job Title Hierarchy

Organizations come up with all sorts of titles that they believe demonstrate their corporate values, define the responsibilities of a position, and designate the place the job holds in the organization's hierarchy. It's worth noting that the same job can have different titles depending on the company, the industry, the location, and the size of the company.

In the field of Human Resources, job titles that are commonly in use range from administrative assistant to attorney.

Levels in the Job Title Hierarchy

These are titles that you typically find in an organization with the level of the job represented numerically. You won't find all of them in any one organization and you will find many variations that suit the organization and its hierarchical structure.

Historically, the top three positions are:

1. Chairman of the Board of Directors

2. Vice Chairman of the Board

3. Board of Directors (members)

These people are external to the operations of the organization although the Chief Executive Officer and even the President frequently sit on the Board.

Here is an example of the traditional internal hierarchy of an organization.

1.     Chief Executive Officer

2.     Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO), Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), Chief Data Officer (CDO), Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Chief Talent Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHR), Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Chief User Experience Officer (CUEO), Chief Automation Officer (CAO), Chief Intellectual Property Officer (CIPO)

3.     President

4.     Executive Vice President

5.     Senior Vice President

6.     Vice President

7.     Assistant Vice President

8.     Associate Vice President

9.     Senior Director

10.  Director

11.  Assistant Director

12.  Manager

13.  Middle Manager of people or a function

14.  Employees, freelancers, contract employees, temporary employees, contingent employees. part-time employees

Organizational Charts

An organizational chart is a visual communication tool that allows employees and other stakeholders to see employee job titles as well as the reporting relationships in an organization. 

The organizational chart usually portrays the organization's structure using boxes and vertical and horizontal lines to connect the boxes. The vertical lines demonstrate the reporting relationships of supervisors and their reporting staff.

The lateral or horizontal lines indicate a working relationship. A dotted or broken line indicates a strong working relationship with an employee who may supervise your work or projects. But, the employee is not your boss.

Use of Organizational Charts

Organizational charts are used for:

  • organizational and supervisory communication
  • workforce planning
  • departmental or team planning
  • resource planning
  • change management
  • organizational restructuring or redesign
  • job analysis.

Types of Organizational Charts

If you look at an organizational chart and find rows of vertical boxes with few relationship lines extending from the boxes, the organization is probably hierarchical.

The boxes on an organizational chart for a flat organization have a more horizontal relationship. In a team-based, empowering organization, each supervisor has many reporting staff members.

And, the team-based organizational chart may focus on the relationship between teams to illustrate the interlinking of people and teams.

Predictions for the Future of the Job Title Hierarchy

Some analysts and consultants predict that you will see a continued expansion in the executive jobs with titles at the C-level (or C-suite as it is commonly called) such as COO, CEO, and CIO.

As the war for talent increases, qualified executives for these roles will demand the C-level title so that they have equivalent authority and responsibility with their co-executives. 

Analysts are also predicting the flattening of the hierarchy through the elimination of many middle management roles in favor of executive-level managers who report to the executives at the C-level. This will have the effect of eliminating a communication and goal-definition level that frequently creates problems in communicating effectively.