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Line and Staff Relationship

A Purview on Line and Staff Relationship

 HOW TO MAKE LINE AND STAFF WORK EFFECTIVELY:

  1. Line people “TELL” but staff people “SELL”: The functions of line and staff often overlap and it is the responsibility of line authorities to make decisions and act upon them while staff must assist and counsel them. If the role playing is perfect all the other elements fall into place.
  2. Making Line listen to Staff: The line men must be made to understand that the company employs staff experts to assist and advice and it is not fair to undermine them.
  3. Keep the Staff informed: It is a must to keep the staff members abreast of the vital matters in order to make correct decisions.
  4. Requiring Completed Staff work: Presentation of a clear recommendation based upon full consideration of a problem, clearance with persons affected, suggestion about avoiding difficulties involved, preparation of paper work-letters, directions, job descriptions and specifications are the functions that should be carried out by the staff members on time in order to facilitate the line managers to accept or reject a proposal.
  5. Making Staff work as a Way of Life: The duty of staff is not to take credit but downgrade their own contributions. This results in EGO SATISFACTION and also a drive to improve the performance levels.
  6. Careless Application of the Staff Device: The staff should not take authority in their own hands though they may be anxious to know about the implementation of their suggestions.
line and staff conflicts

Relationship of line and staff function

ADVANTAGES OF STAFF:

 a) The staff specialists save much time by gathering, analyzing and interpreting the data while line managers are busy at work.

 b) Complex problems of line men require advice of staff men.

 c) Staff advice is necessary for technical, political, legal and social decisions.

 LIMITATIONS OF STAFF:

a) Thinking in Vacuum: Sometimes highly impractical solutions are suggested by the staff men due to lack of experience in implementation

b) Lack of Staff Responsibility: They can easily blame the line manager for the failure of a project since they are not accountable for the end results

c) Danger of Undermining the Line Authority: When the top management attaches too much importance to the staff fraternity, there is a danger of staff managers looking down on the line managers

d) Problem of Unity of Command: Sometimes the lower level employees will be getting instructions from both the line and staff authorities.

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