Understanding organizational change: Exceptional visualizations of evolving org charts


Org charts have long been used to show people the formal reporting lines in organizations, usually as a hierarchy with different levels.

However organizations are regularly re-organized, requiring a new org chart to be created. In fact, organizations are completely dynamic, changing in ways small and large every single day.

A fantastic video (below) depicts the continuous and frequently dramatic changes in the org chart of Autodesk over a 4 year period, in what the creators describe as an OrgOrgChart (Organic Organizational Chart). It’s well worth watching.

While Autodesk was probably a particularly fast-changing organization in this period, the video gives a powerful indication of the extent to which organizations restructure.

Organizations are living entities, highly dynamic organisms that cannot be captured in a formal organizational chart.

I have worked with many clients to apply Organizational Network Analysis to understand the informal (as opposed to formal) structure of their organizations.

Network perspectives are essential to truly understand how organizations function (or dysfunction). Network visualizations can certainly assist the development of effective strategies for organizational development.

Rich time-series visualizations such as the one above can help to understand the deeper nature of change, how organizations function, and how to increase performance.