LINE AND STAFF ASPECTS OF HRM
After studying this chapter, students should be able to understand the following
A. Line and Staff Aspects
After reading this chapter student should know the basic concept of authority,
different types of the
authority and difference between the line and staff hangers. Although most firms
have a human resource
department with its own manager, all other managers tend to get involved in activities
interviewing, selecting, and training.
A. Line and staff aspects of HRM
Authority is the right to make decisions, to direct the work of others, and to
Authority refers to the rights inherent in a managerial position to give orders
and expect the orders to be
obeyed. Authority was a major tenet of the early management writers, the glue
that held the organization
together. It was to be delegated downward to lower-level managers. Each management
position has specific
inherent rights that incumbents acquire from the position's rank or title.
Authority is related to one's position and ignores personal characteristics.
When a position of authority is
vacated, the authority remains with the position.
The early management writers distinguished between two forms of authority.
a. Line Authority
b. Staff Authority
c. Functional Authority
Let’s have brief view about the different types of authorities.
a. Line Authority
Line authority entitles a manager to direct the work of an employee. It is the
relationship that extends from top to bottom. A line manager directs the work
of employees and makes
certain decisions without consulting anyone. Sometimes the term
line is used to differentiate
from staff managers. Line emphasizes managers whose organizational function contributes
directly to the
achievement of organizational objectives.
b. Staff Mangers and Staff Authority
Staff managers have staff authority. A manager's function is classified as line
or staff based on the
organization's objectives. As organizations get larger and more complex, line
managers find that they do not
have the time, expertise, or resources to get their jobs done effectively. They
create staff authority functions
to support, assist, advice, and generally reduce some of the informational burdens
c. Functional control
The authority exerted by a personnel manager as a coordinator of personnel activities.
Here the manager
acts as “the right arm of the top executive.”
II. Line versus Staff Authority
1. Line Versus Staff Authority – Authority is the right
to make decisions, to direct
the work of others, and to give orders. Line managers are authorized to direct
the work of subordinates.
Staff managers are authorized to assist and advise line managers in accomplishing
their basic goals. HR
managers are generally staff managers.
2. Line Managers’ HRM Responsibilities – Most line managers
for line functions, coordinative functions, and some staff functions.
III. Cooperative line and staff hr management:
In recruiting and hiring, it’s generally the line manager’s responsibility to
specify the qualifications
employees need to fill specific positions. Then the HR staff takes over. They
develop sources of qualified
applicants and conduct initial screening interviews. They administer the appropriate
test. Then they refer
the best applicants to the supervisor (line manager), who interviews and selects
the ones he/she wants.
IV. Line Manager
Authorized to direct the work of subordinates—they’re always someone’s boss.
In addition, line managers
are in charge of accomplishing the organization’s basic goals.
Line Managers’ Human Resource Management Responsibilities
4. Improving job performance
5. Gaining creative cooperation
6. Interpreting policies and procedures
7. Controlling labor costs
8. Developing employee abilities
9. Creating and maintaining departmental morale
10. Protecting employees’ health and physical condition
V. Staff Manager
Authorized to assist and advise line managers in accomplishing these basic goals.
HR managers are
generally staff managers.
Responsibilities Of Staff Managers
Staff managers assist and advise line managers in accomplishing these basic goals.
They do, however, need
to work in partnership with each other to be successful. Some examples of the
HR responsibilities of staff
managers include assistance in hiring, training, evaluating, rewarding, counseling,
promoting, and firing of
employees, and the administering of various benefits programs.
VI. Human Resource Manager:
An individual who normally acts in an advisory or staff capacity, working with
other managers to help them
deal with human resource matters. One general trend is that HR personnel are
servicing an increasing
number of employees. The human
resource manager is primarily
responsible for coordinating the
management of human resources to
help the organization achieve its
goals. There is a shared responsibility
between line managers and human
The recognition of HR as a legitimate
business unit has made it highly
strategic in nature and more critical
to achieving corporate objectives. To
succeed, HR executives must
understand the complex
organizational design and be able to
determine the capabilities of the
company’s workforce, both today
and in the future. HR involvement in
strategy is necessary to ensure that human resources support the firm’s mission.
The future appears bright
for HR managers willing to forge a strategic partnership with other business
VII. Distinguish among human resource executives, generalists, and specialists.
a. HR Executives
Executives are top-level managers, who report directly to the corporation’s chief
executive officer or the
head of a major division.
b. HR Generalists:
Generalists are people who perform tasks in a wide variety of human resource-related
areas. The generalist
is involved in several, or all, of the human resource management functions.
c. HR Specialist:
Specialist may be a human resource executive, manager, or non-manager who typically
is concerned with
only one of the functional areas of human resource management.
Authority: Authority is the right to make decisions, to direct the
work of others, and to give orders.
Executives: Executives are top-level managers, who report directly
to the corporation’s chief executive
officer or the head of a major division.
Generalists: Generalists are people who perform tasks in a wide variety
of human resource-related areas.
The generalist is involved in several, or all, of the human resource management
Line Authority: Line authority entitles a manager to direct the work
of an employee.
Specialist: Specialist may be a human resource executive, manager,
or non-manager who typically is
concerned with only one of the functional areas of human resource management.