Line and Staff organisation
function is one that directly advances an organisation in its core work. This
always includes production, sales and marketing. In an organisational set-up,
those who possess line authority are the people directly involved in the basic
activities of the enterprise. The line managers are responsible for achieving
the results, so they are having authority to decide an implement decisions.
officials are experts and having specialised knowledge in their respective
field, so they will guide and advice line managers and they do not have any
authority for decision making. The Line managers can accept or reject the
suggestions given by the Staff managers.
Line and staff
functions frequently overlap. Most staff executives may also simultaneously be
line executives. For example, when the chief accounts officer gives expert
advice to the chief line officer in respect of tax and accounting matters, he
acts as a staff officer. When he supervises and controls the work of
subordinates in his own department, he performs the functions of a line
executive. When he directs the executives at different levels to follow certain
specific accounting procedures in their respective departments, he assumes the
role of a functional executive.
For eg: In the
armed forces, the roles of line and staff agencies are clearly demarcated. The
line part of the organisation does the front line fighting while the staff
plays the supporting role (in the supply of information, logistics and so on).
However, the staff managers are also trained to handle the front line roles in
case of an emergency in the front-line battle front.
Expert advice: Line executives and through them the enterprise as a whole,
benefit a great deal from the expert advice and guidance provided by the staff
Relief to line executives: Staff executives
carry on detailed analysis of each important managerial activity. Hence line
executives do not have to
specialized investigation of each problem - situation, for which they may not
always be competent.
Training of young staff
executives: A line and
staff organisation offers an opportunity to young staff executives to acquire
expertise in their respective fields of activity.
Confusion: It may not always be possible to determine the pattern of
authority relationships between line and staff executives, which might create
Expertise not aided by authority: Staff executives may be experts in their
fields of activity but they only have an advisory role. They lack authority to
implement their advice.
Centralisation: In a line and staff organisation, line executives alone have the
power to make and execute decisions. Thus it tends towards centralization of
authority in a few hands.