Line Relationship

A line manager has clearly defined role to play in the organization which requires understanding of the nature of line authority. Line authority exists between superior and his subordinate. In the organizing process, activities are assigned to the individuals making them responsible for the proper performance of these activities. Authority is delegated to these individuals to perform the activities. These individuals, in tum, assign some of the activities to persons working below them in the hierarchy and delegate them authority. This process goes on creating superior – subordinate relationships in the organization. The direct relationship between a superior and his subordinate is created through the enforcement of line relationship. Such a relationship works as follows: 

l. as a Chain of Command. A command relationship exists between each superior and subordinate. Line authority is the heart of this relationship because it entitles a superior to direct the work of his subordinate. In this relationship, a superior has uncontrolled authority, except those controls prescribed by the organization or regulated by the environmental factors, of giving orders to his subordinate and subordinate has no alternative except to obey those orders.

2. as a Channel of Communication. Line authority can be treated as channel of communication between members of the organization. Communication, up and down in the organization. flows through the line relationship. Bamard has emphasized the role of line relationship as a channel of communication by suggesting that line of communication should be established and every member of the organization should be tied into the system of communication by having someone to report to and others to report him. Such a line can be maintained easily through line of command. 

3. as a carrier of Responsibility. The line relationship carries ultimate responsibility for the work assigned. Though the process of assigning activities goes on till the level where actual work is performed by operatives, each individual is accountable for the proper performance of the activities assigned to him.