chain of command

noun
a series of administrative or military ranks, positions, etc., in which each has direct authority over the one immediately below.

Origin:
1910–15

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Example sentences
In instances where this is not the case, you have to be more persistent or go
  up the chain of command.
Try to defuse the situation as best you can, without bothering those further up
  on the chain of command.
When they do, you should talk with your immediate supervisor, being careful to
  follow the chain of command.
Making anonymous accusatory phone calls or spreading hearsay up a chain of
  command is not an honorable thing to do.
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