The peaceful and purposeful functioning of the line and staff organisation is disturbed due to some sort of conflict between line and staff authorities. Sometimes the conflict surfaces and sometimes it is concealed. Both are not desirable. The conflict arises due to lack of understanding between the two authorities. They raise their finger against the other.
The Grievances can be classified into two groups and listed as specified below:
Grievances of Line against Staff:
(a) The staff authorities try to encroach upon the line authority and interfere with the work of line managers.
(b) Staff does not know its place in the structure and wants to assume line authority. This feeling is generated more when the staff authority forgets his position and begins to dictate.
Staff wants to take full credit for success of programmes and hold line men fully responsible for unsuccessful programmes.
The advice of the staff authority may lack practicality as their advice purely academic and they do not understand the reality of the situation.
The staff authorities may fail to study the problem fully and objectively as they are specialists in their respective areas. So the staff authorities are considered to be short-sighted.
As the staff authority is not vested with accountability for performance they tend to be over-jealous and recommend a course of action which is not practicable.
Grievances against Line by Staff:
The staff authorities also complain against line executives.
The causes of conflict as reported by the staff are:
The advice of staff is resorted to as the last step as the line executives feel that asking for advice is defeat.
The advice suggested by the staff may not be implemented. This causes resentment and frustration among staff.
The line authority often resists the new ideas given by the staff specialists and at times they are not prepared to listen to the staff proposals.
Line authorities are not making use of staff authorities full and try to sabotage the programmes.
Besides these there are other reasons are also exist which are responsible for the conflict:
(a) Inefficient Staff:
The inefficient and incompetent authorities may create conflict.
(b) Unity of Command:
Violation of this concept also may create conflict.
(c) Poor Delegation:
This is another source of conflict due to ambiguity in authority delegation and lack of clarity in defining line and staff relationship.
Resolving of the Conflict:
The conflict disturbs the peace and harmony in the organisation and this should be resolved peacefully.
(a) Well defined Authority:
It should be made clear that the line authority is ultimately responsible for implementation of the decisions and the staff is responsible only for providing advice and service to the line executives.
(b) Due Consideration:
Due consideration is to be to staff proposals to act upon and the line executives are to give reasons where they disagree with staff and convince them.
Both the authorities should try to understand the orientation of each other. They should try to achieve and secure co-operation among themselves.