I have asked the following question on stackoverflow around modeling an org chart. This focused on the DB modeling details, etc but I want to ask a related question here focusing purely on the user experience. (I do believe that its an independent question on its own but thought it would be useful to give the reference of the modeling question on SOF)

If a person has multiple responsibilities in an organization, is it expected that he will show up multiple times on the org chart or the org will update its "shape" to show that person one time?

Again, this is focused purely around trying to understand expected visualization expectations (although if you have ideas around the modeling in the other question, feel free to add answers and comments to that question :) )

  • You can have two views: the positions' view (the traditional orgchart, an "objective" or "impartial", "dehumanized" tool) and the manager-subordinate view (who reports to whom, interesting from HR standpoint). This would definitely combine the best of various approaches. Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


An org chart is not about the relationship between people, but rather about the relationship between positions (usually of responsibility) within the organisation. We ase just used to each position being filled by one person, but that is not necessarily the case.

Taken from Wikipedia (with my own emphasis):

An organizational chart is a diagram that shows the structure of an organization and the relationships and relative ranks of its parts and positions/jobs

So, it's fine if a person appears multiple times in an org chart, as long as the structure of the organisation is clear from it. If I report to Joe Smith on marketing, all I need to see is that my role reports to him. It doesn't matter that he also is responsible for Finance.

  • While this should go without saying, if a person fills multiple roles in the organization, it's important the person knows this.
    – Josh Bruce
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 21:07
  • 1
    @JoshBruce I can only hope that the org-chart isn't where people find out what their own roles are :)
    – JohnGB
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 22:39
  • Agreed...but I've seen it happen. I've also heard of organizations that didn't realize no one was filling a certain position. :)
    – Josh Bruce
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 23:10

Expanding on John's answer, it might interesting to know that a person has multiple positions in the organization chart. It might not always be clear to everyone that this is possible and names may not be unique. Therefore, you could preemptively answer the question of "is that the same John Doe as the one responsible for marketing?" by indicating John Doe has 2 positions.


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