A headquarters is the entity at the top of a corporation that takes full responsibility for the overall success of the corporation, and ensures corporate governance. The corporate headquarters is a key element of a corporate structure and covers different corporate functions such as strategic planning, corporate communications, tax, legal, marketing, finance, human resources, information technology, and procurement. This entity includes the chief executive officer (CEO) as a key person and his or her support staff such as the CEO office and other CEO-related functions; the "corporate policy making" functions, including all corporate functions necessary to steer the firm by defining and establishing corporate policies; the corporate services encompassing activities that combine or consolidate certain enterprise-wide needed support services, provided based upon specialized knowledge, best practices, and technology to serve internal (and sometimes external) customers and business partners; and the bidirectional interface between corporate headquarters and business units.
A headquarters normally includes the leader of business unit and his or her 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.
A headquarters sometimes functions at the top of regional unit, including all activities of the various business units, taking full responsibility for overall profitability and success of this regional unit.
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 NATO nations, and those following the organization and doctrine of the former Soviet Union (see Isby, 1988).