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Headquarters (HQ) denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. The corporate headquarters is the entity at the top of a corporation taking full responsibility managing all business activities. In the UKmarker, the term 'head office' is most commonly used for the HQs of 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 this corporate function is integrated in the corporate headquarters.

Military headquarters

Military headquarters take many forms depending on the size and nature of the unit or formation they command. Typically, they are split into the forward, main and rear components, both within NATOmarker nations, and those following the organization and doctrine of the former Soviet Unionmarker (see Isby, 1988).

The forward or tactical HQs (known as 'Tac' for short) is a small group of staff and communicators. Usually very mobile, they exist to allow the commander to go forward in an operation, and command the key parts of it from a position where they can see the ground and influence their immediate subordinates.

The main HQs (known as 'Main') is less mobile and is 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 to control the various aspects of planning and the conduct of discrete operations. A main HQ for a large formation will have a chief of staff (CoS) who coordinates the staff effort; in a smaller HQ this may be done by the second-in-command (2iC).

The rear or logistic HQs ('Rear') is some distance from the battle or front line in conventional operations. Its function is to ensure the logistical support to front line troops, which it does by organizing the delivery of combat supplies, materiel and equipment to where they are needed, and by organizing services such as combat medicine, equipment recovery and repair.

Police headquarters

Police headquarters are usually located in a city or town and are run by the local police force. The chief of police is in charge of all units.

Religious headquarters

Religious organizations have their headquarters in a city or a place. The headquarters of Catholic Church is Vatican Citymarker. The World Council of Churches, including Orthodox Churches, has its Headquarters in Genevamarker, Switzerland. The Headquarters of Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is located in Istanbulmarker, Turkey. And Anglican Communion Office is in Londonmarker.

Budō headquarters (honbu)

In budō sports (Japanese martial arts) like karate, judo, aikido, kendo, etc., there is usually a headquarter for each organization or region. The Japanese word honbu (本部) is generally used for that, also outside Japan. Sometimes they refer to this headquarters as honbu dojo (本部道場) in which dojo (道場) is a facility provided for practicing discipline, the training ground. Sometimes honbu is written as ho'mbu, the way it is pronounced, but according the Hepburn transcription, the correct spelling should be honbu in which the 'n' is a syllabic n.


  • Isby, David C. (1988) Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army Jane's, London: 516 pp.
  • 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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