Answered Essay: Explain what you understand by: (a) Line Authority (b) Functional Authority (c) Staff Authority. 

Question 78

Explain what you understand by: (a) Line Authority (b) Functional Authority (c) Staff Authority.

Expert Answer

A) Line Authority: This is most prominent authority within an organization or company, it is by its nature exists as superior-subordinate relationships. It works like top of the hierarchy takes the decision and it comes down the line as authority is delegated. Decisions are of various nature like the production function, sales or finance related. Every subordinate or team of subordinate has a line manager above him/them.

It may be also summed as who is authorized to give order to the subordinate within an organization in order to achieve organizational goals.

Line authority is very simple and easy to understand as every employee know its position and clear about his or her key responsibility area.

Example: A sales director give direction to regional sales manager who in turn forward the command down the line to area sales manager and finally it reaches to the sales person in territory.

Drawback: Unless there is a proper feedback mechanism like 360 degree feedback, there are high chances of grievances of lower level employee can’t be resolved.

B) Staff Authority: It may be defined as the right to advise the line staff on improving and perform his or her duties with effectiveness. Main work of the staff authority is to provide important and expertise to line staff so that effective and accurate work is done.

Staff personal are highly specialized in the work and comes with great expertise

Staff personal brings long term benefit to a firm.

Example: Staff personal in an HR department helps and give expertise to HR line manager, a staff personal don’t make operational decision.

Drawback: Appointing a staff personal is costly and expensive and it may cause lot of challenges and conflict between line managers and staff personals.

C) Functional Authority: It is the right in which gives an individual or a team or business unit such as production, inventory to control and run business, practices, policies, or other things taken care by other employee in any of the departments within an organizations.

For example: Staffs personal are generally available to help and support line managers but in a typical Functional authority situation, they can even direct to line managers on the order of company director who is heading all these function. The staff personal excersie this duty as the director gives the instruction under functional authority.

Drawback: Excessive use of functional authority by every head can create the chaos in organization and difficult situation arises due to lack of central command.

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