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A line organization is an organization where authority flows from top to bottom. 

In other words, a line organization is one where authority flows in a line from top management to low management level.

It can also be defined as an organizational structure in which bosses supervise subordinates directly.

Line organization is the oldest and simplest form of organization. 

The flow of authority and responsibility is usually straight or direct.

It is sometimes called a military or scalar-type organization, a traditional organization.

Every line manager is responsible for the people that work for him, and he is only accountable to his superior.

Line organization is usually characterized by a vertical structure. in which one person delegates authority to his subordinate, who in turn delegates authority to his subordinate and so on.

One feature of line organisation is that authority flows vertically from top managers to low managers and responsibility flows upward, from low-level managers to top-level managers. 

Line organization


1. It is the simplest form of organization: Line organization is easily understandable by all and accountability is easily established.

2. Authority flows downward

3. Unified control is maintained by line managers


1. Unity of command: This style of organization maintains an adequate superior-subordinate hierarchy and a scalar chain of command from top to bottom.

2. Prompt decisions: only one person is in charge of making decisions in a line organization.

He has to take major decisions by himself. This ensures that quicker decisions are taken as the line managers do not need to consult staff managers before making decisions.

3. Better discipline: The control in line organization is unified, Hence, it is very likely that discipline is maintained.

Moreover, excellent discipline is maintained in the organization because every individual knows to whom he is responsible.

4. Easy to understand: Line organization is easy to establish and explain to employers.

This is because the organizational structure is simple, and each subordinate reports to only one boss.

5. Economical: Line organization is relatively inexpensive to operate.

The overall cost of running the organization is reduced due to the absence of staff managers and executive specialists.

6. Effective communication: The chain of command in line organizations goes from top to bottom.

There is a direct link between superior and subordinate as both can communicate properly among themselves.

7. Effective control: The control system in line organization is usually unified.

This is because there is a direct link between subordinates and superiors

8. Effective coordination: There is better coordination in line organization as all the activities of a department is managed by one executive.

9. Suitable for small organizations: Line organization is suitable for small organizations with limited resources because it is very inexpensive to operate.

This is due to the absence of a  staff officer


1. Over-dependence: As the organization grows, the line officers will get overloaded with work.

This is because line officers make the majority of decisions in line organizations.

Hence, as the organization grows, more decisions will have to be made by the line officers, which could mean an overload for them

2. Can be abused: Being an autocratic system, Line officers tend to misuse their powers due to the absence of staff organization.

3. Lack of expert action: If the line manager is having difficulty making decisions, he has no one to turn to for expert advice as there are no staff managers.

4. Dependent on the efficiency of management: The efficiency of the organization depends on the decisions of the line authority. 

If the line officers lack the required expertise, the company will be inefficient.

5. Lack of initiative: in a line organization, most decisions are made by top managers. Hence, the low-level managers show a lack of initiative.

6. May result in favouritism and nepotism: Because there are no staff managers, power is concentrated in the hands of line managers.

This could lead to favouritism and nepotism, as subordinates must obey the superior's directives, whether they are correct or not.

Moreover, favouritism and nepotism could result in the right people being left out and the wrong people getting better positions in the organization

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