Formal Organization – Line and Staff Organization

Every company has an organizational structure. It helps the employees understand the hierarchy and the communication channels of the firm. No company can function efficiently without some form of organization. The choice of the organizational structure depends on the size of the firm among other factors. Let us learn in detail about the Line and Staff Organization of a firm.

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Line and Staff Organization

We have previously seen two other forms of organization – line organization and functional organizational structure. And both of these have their own set of drawbacks.

The line system focuses excessively on authority, and the functional organization divides the firm into departments. This is where we come up with a perfect combination to avoid these limitations, i.e. the line and staff organization structure.

In a line and staff organization structure, both the line managers and the staff have their own important roles to play. In this structure, the authority flows from the top down.

The line manager is the one in charge. He is the one with the authority to make all the important decisions of the company. And he is also responsible for these decisions and the performance of his employees.

The staff is the experts in this scenario. They have the knowledge and expertise of their field and are there to assist their line managers. They have an advisory role in the firm.

But since they do not have authority over the line managers, the line managers can choose to take their advice or ignore it. So the main objective of the staff is to come up with solutions to problems. They help the line manager in attaining the company’s objectives and goals.

Line and Staff Organization

(Source: YourArticleLibrary)

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Merits of Line and Staff Organization

  • One of the main advantages is that the line executives receive expert advice from the staff. The staff has expertise on the matter, and the line executives can greatly benefit from this advice. So they can leave the planning and research to the staff and concentrate on the execution of the plan.
  • There is the benefit of specialization in this system. The whole organization is planned in such a way that the work is divided according to specialization.
  • This concentration of authority also helps with better and more efficient decision making. They have the tools to take a more balanced decision. This results in better coordination in the organization.
  • There is also a lot of scope for growth of employees in a line and staff organization. It gives each individual the freedom to grow in flourish in their own specialty.

Demerits of Line and Staff Organization

  • There is a dual authority in a line and staff organization. So this may confuse the employees when it comes to following instructions and reporting. It can create certain communication issues in the firm.
  • There are sometimes conflicts between the line executives and the staff managers. They could have a difference of opinions. This can prevent the harmonious relations between the two and cause an imbalance in the company.
  • Sometimes the expert advice given by the staff is misunderstood or misinterpreted by the line executives.
  • The staff and line system are costlier than a simple line or functional organization. The staffing specialist has a high remuneration cost generally.

Solved Question for You

Q: In a staff and line organization, the power of the command remains with ____

  1. Staff Authority
  2. Central Authority
  3. Line Authority
  4. None of the above

Ans: The correct answer is option C. The Line authority is the one with the command, the staff only has an advisory function.

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