Line and staff authority

Line and staff authority

According to the authority approach which is more relevant in analyzing the problem of line and staff relationships, line and staff are two kinds of authority through the emergence of such an authority is based on the functions. According to this approach, line authority is defined as a direct authority which a superior exercises over his direct subordinates to carry out orders and instructions. The exercise of this authority is always downward, that is, a superior to a subordinate. Staff authority involves giving advice to line managers to carry on the operations. The flow of this authority may be in any direction depending on the need of such an advice. Koontz and others have line and staff authority as follows:

"Line authority becomes apparent from the scalar principal as being that relationships in which a superior exercise directs supervisions over a subordinate an authority relationship in the direct line or steps. The nature of staff relationship is advisory. The function of people in a pure staff capacity is so investigate, research, and given advice to line managers to whom they report". However, in actual practise, some variations may exist and many times, the relationship between line and staff authority managers may be designed in such a way that staff may exercise limited authority. Thus the line and staff authority can be presented.

Concurring authority: under certain circumstances, particularly when control over some operations is very important, a staff man may be granted authority so that no action can be taken until the concerned staff man agrees to it. For example, quality control inspector must pass on raw materials or Sami -finished products before they move to the next stage of production, or agreement with the employees over the matter of wages should be entered only after the personnel manager has agreed to for it. The idea of concurring authority is that the staff view point is incorporated into the operating decisions. It is better arrangement because under it, line manager cannot take needless action, through at times, it may delay the action. These considerations suggest that concurring authority is granted only when the view point represented by a staff man is particularly important when possible delay in the action will not be serious. In order to avoid uncertainly of action under his arrangement, it is desirable that grounds or which a staff may with hold his approval of a proposal is carefully defined. For example, it may be prescribed that a finance manager cannot with hold capital expenditure simply because of his personnel disapproval of capital expenditure plan but he can with hold it because funds are not available or funds cannot be arranged. In government organizations, normally wide ranging concurring authority is granted to staff men. The line authority flows downward and staff authority flows upward. The general manager exercise line authority over his subordinates all the functional managers both heading line and staff departments. Staff managers tender him advice about the problems in their respective areas to the general manager who gives order to his subordinates concerned to put advice into action. However staff manager (for example personnel manager) has line authority over his subordinate personnel officer.

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