Line and Stuff Authority

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Organizational structure involves, in addition to task organizational boundary considerations, the designation of jobs within an organization and the relationships among those jobs. There are numerous ways to structure jobs within an organization, but two of the most basic forms include simple line structures and line-and-staff structures.
In a line organization, top management has complete control, and the chain of command is clear and simple. Examples of line organizations are small businesses in which the top manager, often the owner, is positioned at the top of the organizational structure and has clear "lines" of distinction between him and his subordinates.
The line-and-staff organization combines the
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Authority within a line-and-staff organization can be differentiated. Three types of authority are present: line, staff, and functional. Line authority is the right to carry out assignments and exact performance from other individuals.
Line authority flows down the chain of command. For example, line authority gives a production supervisor the right to direct an employee to operate a particular machine, and it gives the vice president of finance the right to request a certain report from a department head. Therefore, line authority gives an individual a certain degree of power relating to the performance of an organizational task.
Two important clarifications should be considered, however, when discussing line authority: (1) line authority does not ensure effective performance, and (2) line authority is not restricted to line personnel. The head of a staff department has line authority over his or her employees by virtue of authority relationships between the department head and his or her directly-reporting employees.
Staff authority is the right to advise or counsel those with line authority. For example, human resource department employees help other departments by selecting and developing a qualified workforce. A quality control manager aids a production manager by determining the acceptable quality level of products or services at a manufacturing
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