Differences Between Vertical and Horizontal Org Chart

Differences Between Vertical and Horizontal Org Chart

Org chart can be classified as two types: vertical and horizontal, basing on approach of layout.  A vertical org chart looks like a pyramid. At the top is CEO or company president and then each segment consists of series middle management and its manager who are responsible for their departments respectively. However a horizontal org chart has no middle management where lots of workers are made to report to one manager. It’s also called flat org chat. These two types of org charts are very different. This article is going to explain differences between them on aspects 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, decision is made by the top management and descended down to employees through the hierarchy. Employees are required to follow orders and guidance from the upper level to do complete the tasks. But in a horizontal org chart, employees can make decision in their daily operation and only have to ask for instruction when it comes to some large issues. Most of the time, staffers are driven by not the manager’s command but company’s goal.


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


Communication in vertical org chart is mainly to occur within in departments or between department members and managers. It can be slowed down by rigid structure. But communication in a horizontal org chart can be easier to flow down from one department to another.

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