Chain of command: A series of executive positions in order of authority. First known use 1898.
Americans favor clear lines of authority, also called chain of command. This is indicated in their organizational structures – more vertical than matrix – and in the titles given to those in the various management positions. American management, for example, does not look favorably upon team members who develop close relations with higher levels within the chain of command.
The chain of command in the U.S. Department of State is: Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office Director, Deputy Office Director, Desk Officer. Government bureaucracies like titles.
The chain of command in an American corporation can include: executive board (CEO, COO, CFO, etc.), senior vice president, vice president, managing director, deputy managing director, director, senior manager, manager, supervisor, specialist, technician, associate. American corporations like titles, too.