Traditionally, books on organization had a chapter on line and staff. However the problems of defining these terms and of distinguishing when a department is line and when it is staff have created confusion. Such confusion can be avoided by discussing instead the different kinds of specialists used in organizations and the roles that they play. Managers have to deal with an ever-increasing number of specialities which either develop out of new technologies, such as the computer, or which, as the result of increasing complexity, are hived off from the manager’s job, such as long-range planning staff. Managers stand in many different kinds of relationship to these varied specialists. Large organizations will have a wide array of specialists, but small organizations are also equally likely to need some specialist help. The aim of this chapter is to look at these relationships, to analyse the kind of problems that arise, and to discuss what can be done to try and reduce them.
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