Which Data Structure Is Used in Hierarchical Model?


Scott Campbell

The hierarchical model is a popular data structure used in many applications. It organizes data in a hierarchical tree-like structure, where each record has a parent-child relationship with other records. In this article, we will explore the data structure that is commonly used in the hierarchical model.

What is the Data Structure Used in the Hierarchical Model?

In the hierarchical model, the most commonly used data structure is called a tree. A tree is a collection of nodes connected by edges. It consists of a root node, which serves as the starting point of the tree, and child nodes, which are connected to their parent nodes.

  • Root Node: The root node is the topmost node in the tree. It has no parent and serves as the starting point for traversing the tree.
  • Child Nodes: Child nodes are connected to their parent nodes via edges. Each child node can have zero or more child nodes of its own.

The Structure of a Tree

A tree has a hierarchical structure, with each level representing a different level of abstraction or detail. The root node is at level 0, and each subsequent level increases by 1.


Let’s consider an example to better understand how the hierarchical model works. Suppose we have an organization with multiple departments. We can represent this organization using a hierarchical model.

The organization’s hierarchy may look like this:

  • CEO: The CEO is at the top of the hierarchy and serves as the root node.
  • Departments: Underneath the CEO, we have different departments such as Marketing, Sales, Finance, and Operations.
  • Teams: Each department can have multiple teams. For example, the Marketing department may have teams like Advertising, Public Relations, and Digital Marketing.
  • Employees: Finally, each team consists of individual employees.

This hierarchical structure allows us to easily organize and manage the organization’s data. We can navigate through the tree by starting at the root node (CEO) and traversing down to the desired department, team, or employee.

Advantages of Using a Hierarchical Model

Using a hierarchical model offers several advantages:

  • Simplicity: The hierarchical model is easy to understand and implement. It reflects real-world relationships in a simple and intuitive manner.
  • Data Integrity: The hierarchical structure ensures data integrity by enforcing parent-child relationships between records.

    This makes it difficult to insert or delete records without maintaining the integrity of the tree.

  • Efficient Retrieval: Retrieving data from a hierarchical model is efficient when you know the path from the root node to the desired record. Traversing down the tree requires minimal effort.

Limitations of Using a Hierarchical Model

While the hierarchical model has its advantages, it also has some limitations:

  • Limited Flexibility: The hierarchical model is not ideal for representing many-to-many relationships or complex data structures that cannot be easily organized in a strict hierarchy.
  • Data Redundancy: In some cases, data redundancy can occur if multiple records need to reference the same parent record. This redundancy can lead to inefficiencies when updating or modifying data.
  • Difficulty in Modification: Modifying the hierarchical structure, such as adding or deleting nodes, can be challenging and may require extensive changes to the entire tree.


The hierarchical model uses a tree data structure to organize and represent data in a hierarchical manner. It is simple to understand and implement, making it suitable for many applications.

However, it also has limitations when dealing with complex relationships and data structures. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the hierarchical model can help you determine whether it is the right choice for your specific use case.

I hope this article has provided you with a clear understanding of the data structure used in the hierarchical model. Happy coding!

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