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Line, Staff and Human Resources Management Authority What does it take to get the right organizational design for Human Resources? In today’s constantly evolving environment, developing an organization that makes the right decisions, while directing others’ work and giving orders requires having line and staff authority in place. In this essay, we will explain what authority is and explain the difference from line authority and staff authority. Also we will explain what type of authority human resource managers have. So what is authority?

Authority is “the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine” (Dictionary. com, n. d. ). Power is the ability to get things done either to enforce one’s own will or to enforce the collective will of an organization. This tells us that all managers have some form of authority. Now, let us distinguish between line authority and staff authority. Line authority gives management individuals the formal power to direct and control immediate subordinates. Staff authority gives managers the right to advise, recommend, and counsel other managers and employees.

It is a communication relationship with management. It has an influence that derives indirectly from line authority at a higher level. According to Dessler (2008), line authority creates a superior-subordinate relationship and staff authority creates an advisory relationship. The authority of human resources is delegated by the top management of organizations. How much authority it derives from top management is a policy matter. With today’s workforce becoming increasingly diverse and organizations doing more to maximize the benefits of the differences in employees, human resource managers are key players.

Organizations are relying on managers to get the people who get the job done, and of course, make the company money. Human resource managers have three fundamental functions: 1) line function – directing activities within the department and related areas while having implied authority, 2) coordinative function – coordinating personnel activities and 3) staff functions – assisting and advising line managers. In conclusion, line, staff and human resources personnel must work together closely to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.

To ensure that line, staff and human resources personnel do work together productively, management must make sure all groups understand the organizational mission, have specific objectives, and realize that they are partners in helping the organization reach its objectives.

References Authority. (n. d. ). Dictionary. com Unabridged. Retrieved July 18, 2010, from Dictionary. com website: http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/authority Dressler, G. (2008). Florida International University. In G. Dressler, Human Resources Management – 11th ed. (p. 4). Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall.



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