Line and staff authority aspects of HRM

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Authority is the right to make decisions, direct the work of others and to give orders to others. It means it is the right of anyone to give a decision about work.  The power or right to give orders, make decisions and enforce obedience is the authority.

Types of authority

Managers usually distinguish line authority and staff authority.

line authority

Line authority gives the right of the manager to issue orders. The line authority has the power to issue orders to subordinates or employees within an organization. For example, production and sales managers have empowered with line authority. Line authority is based primarily on legitimate power.  A manager with line authority gives instructions to the subordinate or other managers to perform the task.

staff authority

It is not ordered power. A manager with staff authority only can give his or feedback or any suggestion to the other employee, manager or subordinates. Therefore, Staff authority gives you the right to advise others in the organization. For example, the HR manager has the staff authority who can give suggestions to hire the employees or give feedback about subordinates.

Helpful article: Basic concept of the performance management system


A manager is a person who is responsible for controlling or administering an organization or group of staff. He directed the people, monitor their tasks and control the employees to achieve organizational goals. 

Line manager

The manager with line authority is called the line manager. He or she can be ordered subordinates, employees or other managers. He has the controlling power that helps him or her to give order to others.

staff manager

The manager with staff authority is called a staff manager. He has no power to order, instead, he or she gives the right to advise subordinates, employees or other managers.

HR responsibility of the line manager

A line manager with line authority must perform some important activities. They have the following responsibilities:

Placing the right person in the right job

As the line manager, the manager needs to ensure the right person for the job. It is also important to allocate the employee in the right place. Sometimes a manager may hire such an employee who is not fit for the position that’s why they can not reach their goals. For example, if a line manager placing a BBA background personnel for the engineering department the employee can perform at that position. So, it the responsibility of a line manager placing the right people in the right place.

Starting new employee in the organization

It is the responsibility of a line manager orienting new employees to their workplaces. An employee needs to understand the environment of the workplace, types of work, difficulty level, and also need some basic knowledge about the policy of the organization. A line manager introduces the new employee in the organization that is effective and makes the new employee easy at the new place.

Related book: Organization Design: Simplifying complex systems

Training employees for jobs that are new to them

The new employees’ training is essential to understand the job. It is the responsibility of the line manager how he or she designs the training session. It could be on the job training or a formal training session. Whatever, it is important to give enough knowledge about the job to new employees through the training program. The line manager must need to make a plan what will be the purpose of training, what will be the procedure, what method they use, what evaluation method used for reward, is there any reward system for successful completion and so on.

Improving the job performance of each person

The line manager must monitor the performance of employees. He must take necessary action for improving individuals’ job performance of the organization. It is important because an individual’s achievement aligns with company objectives. therefore, the manager should monitor the individuals’ performance and take corrective action if there have any mistakes.

Gaining creative cooperation and developing smooth working relationships

Without cooperation, the manager can not ensure employees’ better performance. Therefore, it is a challenge for the manager creating a cooperative working environment in the workplace. But, a manger with line authority makes it easy if he or she wants to develop a smooth working relationship in the workplace. 

staff authority

Interpreting company policies and procedures

Another key obligation of line managers is participating in policy-making activities. The successful organization always believe in participatory decisions. If the line manager interpreting the policymaking and procedure it will be easy for him or her to achieve the organizational goals. If the manager participates in the policymaking he also owns the responsibility to achieve the goals.

Controlling labor cost

Line manager also responsible for controlling the cost of the labor through manage the employee efficiently. The line manager makes a schedule and task plan that gives more output with less effort. Also, the manager needs to ensure the task with error-free which leads the minimum labor cost because at the same time they can produce more units. The line manager ensures the cross-training program that helps the employee to eliminate the mistake again and again.

Creating and maintaining departmental morale

Good morale prevents a high turnover rate of employees’ in the organization. Low morale is one of the major elements in an employee’s leaving decision from the organization. It is not only a matter of economical, losing valuable employees put businesses in tough situations. So, the line manager must need to create strong departmental morale and also need to maintain morale with good practice. A manager can create organizational morale by creating an enjoyable workplace, establish trustworthy relationships with employees, support the employees at their bad time, profit-sharing opportunities, give cross-training the employees, etc.

Simple solution: The Essential HR Handbook

Protecting employees health and physical conditions

The manager is responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of all the employees, whether they have a disability or not. It is the duty of the manager to consult with employees, or their representatives, on issues relating to health and safety. The manager should take immediate action about employees’ health and safety issues. Also, the manager should develop a safety policy for the employees in the organization.

HR responsibility of staff manager

Staff managers assist and advise line managers, employees or other managers. However, they need to
work cooperatively with each other to gain organizational vision, mission, and goals. Some examples of the HR responsibilities of the staff managers are assistance in hiring, training, evaluating, rewarding, counseling, promoting, and firing of employees, and the administering of various benefits programs.

Line and staff authority aspects of HRM Line and staff authority aspects of HRM Line and staff authority aspects of HRM

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