What's the longest known chain of command length for any government, military, or large organization, (legal or illegal)? For example, WP's abstract military organization chain length is 11:
- lieutenant colonel
- colonel/brigadier general
- major general
- lieutenant general
- field marshal/five-star general
- Six-star rank/Commander-in-chief
This question was inspired in a contrary way by Is it really easy for people to get immunity?, which referred "an infinite loop" of bigger fish given immunity, which seemed absurd, since all hierarchies are finite. I started to comment with a guess as to feasible upper limits, having reckoned that 4 times that abstract military's 11 levels, (i.e. a length of 44), should be well above any reasonable upper limit, but then wondered if clandestine cell networks might have connecting levels consisting of a single person -- then cancelled my comment and posted this.
(If every level has more than one person, then calculation confirms that 44 is too high. Suppose a hierarchy allowed each member to command two people. If the world population is 7.6 billion, then a 33 level chain of command would contain all of them -- calculated by drawing a dot, then two branches each ending in a dot, and so on, then counting the total dots on and up to each level, (A000225).)
User James K. comments that "outside of the military people don't get commands.", and "Is a teacher in a chain of command that includes the Secretary for Education and the President?" Not in the same sense, no. But non-military organizations do have hierarchical powers which tend to increase as the level goes up. Rules of thumb might include powers to hire and dismiss lower levels, to increase or decrease rewards and budgets, and provide general or structural directives. Any one of which powers can exert a degree of influence that functions much like a command.