chain of command

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chain of command

the line of command flowing down from the top of an ORGANIZATION to the bottom. In theory, the chief executive issues commands to his or her subordinates which are then relayed down to those they have AUTHORITY over. In practice, those in the chain of command often do not follow such commands, either because they do not have the resources to meet them or because they believe them to be incorrect or otherwise inappropriate. See UNITY OF COMMAND, LINE AND STAFF, HIERARCHY.
References in periodicals archive ?
The chain-of-command issue had long challenged the US-led coalition, he remarked.
For starters, there's the official statement by the FBI: ``The FBI placed no restriction whatsoever on the dissemination up the chain-of-command at the NSC (National Security Council) on any information provided to the NSC senior staff by the FBI during the June 3, 1996, briefing.
Quality circles" and "gain sharing"--two invogue management concepts--tend to be add-ons, not integral parts, of the traditional American chain-of-command structure.