Differences Between Vertical and Horizontal Org Chart

Differences Between Vertical and Horizontal Org Chart

Org chart can be classified into two types: vertical and horizontal, based on the style of the layout.  A vertical org chart looks like a pyramid. At the top is the CEO or company president. A single segment consists of a series of middle management and the manager who is responsible for their department. In contrast, a horizontal org chart has no middle management, hence normally all employees need to report to only one manager. Such type is also called the flat org chat. This article is going to explain the most significant differences between vertical org chart and horizontal org chart in terms of decision-making, collaboration, and communication.

Figure 1. Vertical Org Chart Example

Differences Between Vertical and Horizontal Org Chart

Figure 2. Horizontal Org Chart Example

horizontal org chart


In a vertical org chart, a decision is made by the top management and descended down to employees through the hierarchy. Employees are required to follow orders and guidance from their upper level in order to complete the tasks. However, in a horizontal org chart, employees can make a decision by themselves for daily operation and only have to ask for instructions when it comes to very important issues. In most cases, staffers are not driven by their manager’s command, but instead the company’s goal.


In vertical org charts, since the decision is made by the upper level and flows down to employees, collaboration can only occur on some formal occasions like a meeting. In horizontal org charts, employees have rights to make a decision during the daily operation, therefore, collaboration tends to happen more organically. Employees are more accessible to an acquaintance in order to produce collaborative and teamwork solutions.


Communication in the vertical org chart mainly occurred within departments or between sub-divisions members and managers. It can be slowed down by the rigid structure. On the other hand, communication in a horizontal org chart can be easier to flow down from one department to another.

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