Improving line and staff relationship in nursing

Nurse Managers Must Model Relationship Skills

improving line and staff relationship in nursing

ships and guide employees in their work you are better able to produce more quality This is the lifeblood of the relationship line. You .. Mrs. Browne is a highly capable night supervisor of nurses in an Atlanta hospital. She. Line and staff relationship are most two common terms used in business. Here the brief about them. Every organization has line and staff functions that have different resources, maintenance, legal, accounting and public relations. than staff employees, who are typically younger and better educated with college degrees.

Line employees are those directly involved in the daily operations of a business by selling or producing a product or service. These positions can include production, marketing and sales.


They are the primary activities of a company and are essential to the basic operations of a business. Because of the importance of producing and selling, managers of line positions have the responsibility for making most of the decisions of a company.

Staff Functions The primary purpose of staff positions in most companies is to provide assistance and specialized advice and expertise to colleagues in line positions. Staff functions include human resources, maintenance, legal, accounting and public relations. Staff positions can be further defined as technical or support people.

Examples of technical positions are accountants and engineers. Support staff positions are clerks, secretaries and data processors. Staff employees are not directly involved in producing and selling activities. Video of the Day Brought to you by Techwalla Brought to you by Techwalla Lines of Authority The power and authority of decision-making are different for line and staff managers.

Line managers usually have final authority to make executive decisions in the company and to direct the activities of personnel involved in producing and selling. On the other hand, the authority of staff managers is limited to supervising the activities of other staff personnel and advising line managers. Staff managers are subordinate to the actions of line managers. Line and Staff Conflict Conflict between line and staff workers is common. Line employees are usually older and have more experience than staff employees, who are typically younger and better educated with college degrees.

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The line-and-staff organization combines the line organization with staff departments that support and advise line departments. Most medium and large-sized firms exhibit line-and-staff organizational structures. The distinguishing characteristic between simple line organizations and line-and-staff organizations is the multiple layers of management within line-and-staff organizations.

The following sections refer primarily to line-and-staff structures, although the advantages and disadvantages discussed apply to both types of organizational structures.

improving line and staff relationship in nursing

Several advantages and disadvantages are present within a line-and-staff organization. An advantage of a line-and-staff organization is the availability of technical specialists. Staff experts in specific areas are incorporated into the formal chain of command. A disadvantage of a line-and-staff organization is conflict between line and staff personnel. Some positions are primary to the company's mission, whereas others are secondary—in the form of support and indirect contribution.

Although positions within a line-and-staff organization can be differentiated in several ways, the simplest approach classifies them as being either line or staff. A line position is directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the organization, such as producing or selling a product or service. Line positions are occupied by line personnel and line managers. Line personnel carry out the primary activities of a business and are considered essential to the basic functioning of the organization.

Differences Between Line & Staff Functions

Line managers make the majority of the decisions and direct line personnel to achieve company goals. An example of a line manager is a marketing executive.

improving line and staff relationship in nursing

Figure 1 Line-and-Staff Organization Although a marketing executive does not actually produce the product or service, he or she directly contributes to the firm's overall objectives through market forecasting and generating product or service demand.

Therefore, line positions, whether they are personnel or managers, engage in activities that are functionally and directly related to the principal workflow of an organization. Staff positions serve the organization by indirectly supporting line functions. Staff positions consist of staff personnel and staff managers.


Staff personnel use their technical expertise to assist line personnel and aid top management in various business activities. Staff managers provide support, advice, and knowledge to other individuals in the chain of command. Although staff managers are not part of the chain of command related to direct production of products or services, they do have authority over personnel.

An example of a staff manager is a legal adviser. He or she does not actively engage in profit-making activities, but does provide legal support to those who do. Therefore, staff positions, whether personnel or managers, engage in activities that are supportive to line personnel.

Three types of authority are present: Line authority is the right to carry out assignments and exact performance from other individuals. Line authority flows down the chain of command. For example, line authority gives a production supervisor the right to direct an employee to operate a particular machine, and it gives the vice president of finance the right to request a certain report from a department head.

improving line and staff relationship in nursing