The order in which authority and power in an organization is wielded and delegated from top management to every employee at every level of the organization. Instructions flow downward along the chain of command and accountability flows upward.
According to its proponent Henri Fayol (1841-1925), the more clear cut the chain of command, the more effective the decision making process and greater the efficiency. Military forces are an example of straight chain of command that extends in unbroken line from the top brass to ranks. Also called line of command.