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A line and staff organization is an organizational structure in which authority is distributed vertically from top to bottom management, and specialists are attached to line managers to provide advice on key issues in the organization.

In this type of organization, two authorities exist the line authority and the staff authority.

The staff authority advises support and assists, line managers.

The line authority, on the other hand, has the power to make major decisions in the organization. Line authorities usually contribute directly to the attainment of organizational objectives.

Features Of Line And Staff Organization

1. Complexity: Line and staff authority is a more complex organization structure than line organization.

2. Based on specialization: Line and staff organization is based on the principles of specialization.

3. Two authorities: There are two authorities in line and staff organization which are: staff authority and the line authority.

4. Division of power: In a line and staff organization, the power to command and make major decisions remain with the line managers while staff officers only provide counselling and expert advice to the line managers.

5. Suitable for large organizations: Line and staff organization is most suitable for organizations with large resources and employees.

Advantages Of Line And Staff Organization

1. Provide expert action: Unlike line organization, where line managers must make all decisions by themselves, line managers enjoy the expert advice of staff managers whenever he needs it in line and staff organization

This ensures that better decisions are taken and that managers are able to devote more time to the execution of tasks.

2. Specialization: In a line and staff organization structure, staff officers are in charge of planning, while line managers are in charge of doing.

To put it another way, line managers are active in the task execution while staff officers provide expert advice on how to complete the assignment successfully.

As a result, there is some specialization, which can help boost efficiency

3. Flexibility: By nature, line and staff organization is flexible. This is because new departments and staff can easily be added to the organization when the need arises.

4. Relief to line managers: Staff managers conduct a careful analysis of each important work to be completed, which relieves line managers of the burden of planning.

This allows line managers to focus more time on other aspects of the organization that require close supervision.

5. Improved management of activities: Manu problems that are ignored or not properly managed in line organization can be properly handled in line organisation by the use of staff specialist

Disadvantages Of Line And Staff Organization

1. Conflict between line and staff organization: There is the possibility of conflict between line and staff organization, which may not augur well with organizational activities.

2. Expensive to operate: Line and staff organization is very expensive to operate as compared to line organization.

This is due to the presence of staff officers in every department of the organization

Because of its expensive nature, line and staff organization may not be suitable for small organizations

3. Ineffective staff officers: Staff officers do not have decision-making authority in the organization; instead, they advise line managers.

If a staff officer offers advice, it is up to the line managers to decide whether or not to take it.

As a result, if line managers ignore the staff manager's recommendations, the staff manager may become ineffective since he lacks genuine power to carry out his recommendations.

Moreover, the line officers may misinterpret the expert advice provided by the staff officer.

Also, because they are not responsible for the outcome, staff officers may not do their responsibilities well.

4. Confusion: When the duties of line and staff officers are not clearly defined, there may be overlapping functions between the line and staff managers, resulting in confusion and ineffective coordination.


5. Communication problem: The presence of dual authority may create communication problems in the organization.

Employees may not know whose orders to follow, most especially when staff officers and line officers conflict.

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