Chronology Highlight the Evolution of Events

The chronology organizational structure lays out the sequence of a set of events. Instruction manuals and updates are common applications of this structure.

Instruction Manuals

A training manual might use the chronology structure to describe the steps involved in installing a new software program by saying, "First, put the CD in the D drive and slide the drawer closed. Second, click on the 'Start' icon. Third, click on the word 'Program,'" and so on.

Mark, a corporate trainer for an automobile repair firm, explained it this way: "I discovered early on that you can't oversimplify instruction manuals. By using the chronology organizational structure, I make sure I don't skip any steps."

Updates

An update or status report frequently summarizes past events to put current information in context.

"I prepared an update for my boss about our efforts to resolve some manufacturing issues," Aaron, manager at a pharmaceutical company who is responsible for quality control, explained. "I began the report by saying, 'Last May I met with my counterpart at ABC Corporation, and we identified several quality control issues. We agreed to address the issues by creating and empowering a team. The team, comprising three customer engineers and three of our staff members, met for the first time in June. Thereafter, this team met once a month and issued their recommendations in November. (See Appendix A.)'

"Using the chronology organizational structure allowed me to highlight the scope of the initiative. Our recommendations weren't made on a whim—we spent a lot of time thinking first. Only by starting at the beginning would this evolution be clear."

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