Merlin Needs a Magician
The two welders in this case study followed the chain of command when they both needed time off, but they did not get a response from the first link in the chain, their immediate supervisor. Unity of direction and line authority gives the supervisor the legitimate right to direct and coordinate the welders' tasks prior to or during their absence to minimize the resulting impact on production within that department. Unfortunately, it does not appear that the supervisor exercised that option. As a result, the supervisor's responsibility to his/her welders, department, organization, and self is not being met. On the other hand, we are not told whether centralization system is in place, which does not give the supervisor the authority to make the decision. Therefore, the accountability does not reside with the immediate supervisor.
When customer service stopped production because a customer reported a problem bottom bracket is an example of decentralization which gives that department the authority to shut down the line so the problem can be corrected before more shipments leave the plant.
This is also a good example of functional authority because a decision was made with regard to specific activities performed within other departments.
Even though the third situation is an example of line authority, it would have required meetings with all the line authority department heads to effectively problem solve the situation quickly, prior to ramping up production again. So, it seems as if unity of command is lacking in this situation because the person in charge of purchasing should have been on board with the decision and brought this concern to the table prior to the first production run.
Example number four begins with unity of direction when the employees are put into teams...