Line managers are responsible for core business functions, such as direct design, manufacture and sales of a product. Staff employees are primarily involved in the production of the final product. General managers, product line managers and operations supervisors make up line personnel, while staff employees include accountants, human resource workers and public relations officers. Line and staff management is further divided into separate hierarchies.
The line hierarchy focuses on the manufacturing and selling processes, and line managers are accountable for attaining the company’s objectives, such as achievement of production and sales targets. They execute important functions, such as decision making, policy making and target setting. They direct the work of employees under their chain of command, and they have the power to decide on the company’s operations.
The staff hierarchy performs activities that support line functions. Staff managers also advise line managers to help them achieve their goals. Those with line authority have the right to direct the work of employees, while those under staff management have the right to offer advice on how to improve line operations. Generally, line managers have control over staff employees. However, staff managers do not have the same authority over line managers. Nonetheless, line managers need to inform staff managers before making important decisions that affect the organization as a whole. It is crucial for line and staff workers to work as a team to ensure maximum sales and revenue.