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Line and staff positions

Line and staff positions
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In business, organization structure means the relationship between positions and people who hold the positions. Organization structure is very important because it provides an efficient work system as well as a system of communication.
Historically, line structure is the oldest type of organization structure. The main idea of it is direct vertical relationships between the positions and tasks of each level, and the positions and tasks above and bellow each level. For example, a sales manager may be in a line position between a vice-president of marketing and a salesman. Thus a vice president of marketing has direct authority over a sales manager. A sales manager in his turn has direct authority over a salesman. This chain of command simplifies the problems of giving and taking orders.
When a business grows in size and becomes more complex, there is a need for specialists. In such case administrators may organize staff departments and add staff specialists to do specific work. These people are usually busy with services, they are not tied in with the company product. The activities of the staff departments include an accounting, personnel, credit and advertising. Generally they do not give orders to other departments.
Active Vocabulary
relationship взаємовідносини, стосунки
to hold a position займати посаду
organization structure організаційна структура
level рівень
sales manager керівник по торгівлі /маркетингу
salesman продавець
to have direct authority over smb. мати безпосередню владу над кимось
staff штат
to give orders наказувати, давати накази
to take orders приймати накази
a line department лінійний відділ (який має безпосереднє
відношення до кінцевого продукту)
staff department штабний відділ (який не має прямого відношення
до виробництва, але обслуговує його)
to be tied in with the company product мати відношення до кінцевого продукту
complex складний
Comprehension Questions
1. What does the organization structure mean?
2. What does the organization structure provide?
3. What is historically the oldest type of organization structure?
4. In what position is a salesmanager in attitude to a vice-president of marketing and a
5. What is the difference between line and staff departments?
6. Why is an advertising department or a credit department considered staff structure
rather than line structure?
Vocabulary Practice
Choose the necessary word and put it in the sentence.
1. Organization structure shows ... between each
position and positions above and below. 1 relationships
2. A sales manager has direct...over a salesman. 2 to hold a position
3. As a rule a... usually does not give orders to other departments. 3 authority
4. When the business gets more...there is a need for staff
departments. 4 complex
5. My friend...... of sales manager. 5 task
6. The... of staff departments is to do different services. 6 a line department
7. My friend works in a....... he is responsible for the
company product. 7 a staff department
Peggy Forman is talking with Jaff Downing, another administrative assistant in her company.
Jaff How are you today, Peggy?
Peggy Oh, fine, thanks.
Jaff Glad to hear that. By the way, are you familiar with the organizational chart for
the company?
Peggy No, I am not. What is it like actually?
Jaff Well, the chart shows how the employees are divided into groups. It gives one
an overview of the chain of command in the company.
Peggy I see. The positions can be line and staff ones.
Jaff Yes. The subject is not new to you. What else do you know about it?
Peggy As far as I know a worker in a line position receives orders from his immediate subordinate.
Jaff Exactly, that's the line chain of command.
Peggy A worker in a staff position reports directly to a line worker but he neither gives
nor receives orders for line workers. Am I right?
Jaff Yes, you are. But someone may have line authority over people in his
department and not be considered a line administrator.

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