Conflicts Between Staff And Line Managerial Officers

Essay by boberUniversity, Bachelor'sC+, March 2006

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Aims of the article

The main aim is to study the behaviour of two managerial organizations in a great conflict system. "Staff people" are there to support those in the "line", but both find it tense to cooperate with each other. The particular subject of study is the two assumptions, stating briefly, that staff members are satisfied with informal authority over production and their contributions would be accepted by line officers.

Summary of the key arguments

Dalton (1950) has carried out an in-depth research on the staff-line conflicts and has come up with various arguments.

The excessive desire of ambitious staff specialists for individual acknowledgement has led to intra-staff tensions. The differences in age, social status and opportunities for promotion have shaped their impatience. Staff people had no experience in industry and were unprepared in the appropriate way. There was not much opportunity for staff managers to exercise authority, except increasing the number of their subordinates, which resulted in disproportionate turnover and all staff personnel rushed to the line departments for income, authority and status.

Secondly, Dalton identified that staff, being aware of the line treating them as an agent on trial with different beliefs, attempted various techniques to get accepted, yet still failed and switched their aims directly towards the authority. Nevertheless, the line officers resented any guidance, which was interpreted by staff as "ignorance" and "bull-headedness". The first-line foremen had a feeling that top management appointed the staff professionals to control the lower line.

Finally, promotion matters were dealt with by the line executives. Ideally, both groups could cooperate, unless line resisted recommendations of staff officers who would have no choice but to struggle for the minimum acceptance and make the top management believe in "good relations" with line officers. Line officers feared staff innovations. Changes...