Given some specifications I need to design a database for an organization. One of the parts has to do with areas. In the organization there are different areas, each area has a boss, and there is also an employee as the boss of all areas. My question is about how I should indicate which employee is the boss of all areas.

    | employee_id |    name    |

    |      1      |    Mark    |

    |      2      |    Carol   |

    |      3      |    Adam    |

    |      4      |    Andy    |

    | area_id |    area_name    | manager |

    |    1    |    Chemistry    |    2    |

    |    2    |    Electronics  |    4    |

    |    3    |    Medicine     |    3    |

    |    4    |      ALL        |    1    |

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At the moment what has occurred to me is to create an occurrence called "ALL" within the relation "AREA" to indicate the head of all areas, however I am not sure if it is the best way or the correct way to do it . Any other idea?

  • This kind of structure is usually hierarchical. Companies have multiple layers of departments & management. (Ex: Supervisor, Manager, director, VP...CEO. Or at a University: department chair, Dean, Chancellor,... President). Should your areas have a hierarchy? Or is it always flat, with one layer + the single "all areas" manager?
    – AMtwo
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 8:59
  • In this case it is flat, only distinguishing between the employees of the area, the area manager and the general manager. Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


It's ok to have an "ALL" value as an Area but it might be preferable and more flexible to add a third table, as a linking table, called EmployeeArea instead.

The EmployeeArea table is where you can store the area_id and employee_id (as manager_id), to represent the technically many-to-many relationship between the tables. Then the boss of all areas would have a record in there for each Area.

This is more normalized of a design, and is more flexible if for some reason there needs to be multiple bosses of all areas, or special cases where multiple employees are responsible for the same area.

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