Line and staff refers to two alternate types of reporting relationships that may exist within an organization. When people have line relationship with people they work it means that that they are working with others with whom they have direct boss and subordinate relationship. In contrast, people working in staff position may assist their senior who are not their bosses, or with juniors who are not their subordinates. People in staff position may work in similar fashion with people at same organization levels.
People in line position work under supervisory authority of their supervisor and may also have subordinated,over whom they exercise some supervisory authority. People in staff position are able to influence the action of others in the organization, but they do not exercise supervisory responsibility over them. People in staff position may act as advisers and therefore derive their power from their expertise. The staff people may also act on behalf of their bosses. For example executive assistant to the CEO may ask people at much higher level of management tin the company to provide him wit information that is to be presented to the CEO.