Headquarters (HQ) denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are concentrated. The corporate headquarters is the entity at the top of a corporation taking full responsibility managing all business activities. In the UK, the term 'head office' is most commonly used for large corporations.

The term is also used regarding military organizations.

Corporate headquarters

Entity at the top of a corporation to take full responsibility for the overall success of the corporation, ensures Corporate Governance. Corporate headquarters are a key element of a corporate structure and cover different corporate functions such as strategic planning, corporate communications, tax, legal, marketing, finance, HR, IT. The corporate headquarters include: CEO as a key person and his support staff such as the CEO office and other CEO related functions; the "Corporate policy making" functions: Include all corporate functions necessary to steer the firm by defining and establishing corporate policies; the Corporate Services: Activities that combine or consolidate certain enterprise-wide needed support services, provided based on specialized knowledge, best practices, and technology to serve internal (and sometimes external) customers and business partners; the Interface: Reporting line and bi-directional link between corporate headquarters and business units.

Business Unit headquarters

Includes leader of business unit and his staff as well as all functions to manage the business unit and operational activities. The head of the Business Unit is responsible for overall result of the business unit.

Regional headquarters

Entity at the top of regional unit, including all activities of the various business units, to take full responsibility for overall profitability and success of this regional unit.

Functional headquarters

Entity at the top of a corporate function - in practice not very common, usually top of this corporate function is integrated in the corporate headquarters.

Military headquarters

Military headquarters take many forms depending on the size and nature of the formation they command. Typically however they fall into the Tac, Main and Rear types (particularly within NATO).

The tac (short for tactical) headquarters is a small collection of staff and communicators. Usually very mobile, they exist to allow the Commander to get forward in an operations and command the key parts of it from a position where they can see the ground and influence their immediate subordinates.

The main headquarters is far less mobile and is often involved in both the planning and execution of operations. There are a number of staff assembled here from various staff branches to advise the Commander and control the various aspects of planning or the conduct of discreet operations. A main headquarters will usually have a Chief of Staff who coordinates the staff effort.

The rear headquarters is some distance from the battle or front line in conventional operations, its function is to ensure the logistical support to front line troops, it does this by providing medical, material, equipment & combat supplies by vehicle to where they are most needed.


* Wanner, Herbert (2006): Global and regional corporate headquarters; in: Kählin, Christian, H. (Editor): Switzerland Business & Investment Handbook; Orell Füssli and Wiley.
* Wanner, Herbert, LeClef Xavier, Shimizu, Hiroshi (2004): Global Headquarters on the Move: From Administrators to Facilitators. Prims Second Semester 2004; Arthur D. Little.

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