The Road to Now
Business organization charts are synonymous with hierarchies and business structure. We all know them well and reference them every now and again. Like so many of our previous business resources, however, business organization charts have evolved quite a bit since their humble beginnings.
Daniel Craig McCallum was a railroad engineer and general manager of the Erie Railroad in the 1850s. The railroad system was complicated and any hiccup in one area led to a cascade of problems down the track. He designed what is considered the first organizational chart to provide an illustration of the New York and Erie Railway organization, the division of duties, and the number and class of employees employed in each department. It was one man’s attempt at bringing order to a complex ecosystem.
Nearly 70 years later, the Tabulating Machine Co, which later became IBM, developed a new organizational chart with a pyramidal structure of the departments and people within them. This chart is more in line of what most think of when envisioning an org chart and again, brought order to a growing company. But as with most things, change is the only constant.