What are the advantages of line and staff in an organization?

Expert Answers
thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In line organization structure, there is a clear hierarchy with the managers supervising their subordinates. In staff structure the managers are not within the direct hierarchy and are mostly there to oversee specific areas of the business. Most medium to large businesses have a combined line and staff organization structure, with the staff managers responsible for providing support to the line managers.

Among some of the advantages of the line and staff type of organization structure is:

  • The organization has within its reach, technical experts who would help the line managers in decision making and problem solving processes.
  • There is also improved oversight because of the added information being provided by the staff managers to the line managers.
  • There is the opportunity for line managers to tap into the knowledge base of the staff managers. This improves the quality of information provided and in turn increases the chances of decision success across the organization.
  • By handling the technical functions, staff managers provide the line managers an opportunity to focus on their functions, such as organizing and motivating the subordinates, which improves overall efficiency in the organization.
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Having line and staff within one's structure usually represents savings on personnel costs in an organization, in addition to the advantages described in the previous responses.  This is because the staffing functions often comprise more highly paid employees, employees who can then serve all functional departments, rather than having to staff each functional department with its own "experts" in the areas that typically make up staff functions.  For example, a legal department or an information technology department usually consists of highly educated and/or trained employees who command higher salaries than many of those in the line functions.  If production, marketing, research and development, and distribution divisions had to maintain their own legal and information technology experts, this would add substantially to personnel costs, with no additional benefit to the company, since many of the staff functions would not be full-time work for a particular line department, but just right as they are allocated over all line functions. 

krishna-agrawala | Student

Line and staff are two different types of organization structure. In line organization the superior exercises direct authority over a subordinate. In staff organization the nature odf relationship is advisory. Staff people assist line people at lower levels over whom they have no direct authority. Similarly they may also assist people at senior level who have no direct authority over them. An organization gas a combination of both line and staff type of relationships.

Advantage of line organization include:

  • Better control of managers over the activities of subordinates reporting to them.
  • There is unity of command. There is no conflict among juniors due to conflicting demands placed by seniors.
  • Duties and responsibilioties are crearly defined and related to each other.

Advantage of staff organization include:

  • Services odf specialists are available to more than one departments. This becomes valuable when the workload within individual department is not suficient for one person.
  • Staff specialists can work more effectively for long term performance improvement unhampered by the pressures of day to day problems.
bujawa | Student

1.     The availability of technical specialists.

2.     Staff experts in specific areas are incorpereted into the formal chain of command.