Line versus Staff Authority One of the primary components of an organization’s structure is the authority dele- gated to a manager or unit to make decisions and utilize resources. Line authority is given tomanagers and organizational units that are directly responsible for the produc- tion of goods and services. Staff authority is given to organizational units that advise and consult line units. Traditionally, HRM functional units, including HRD, have staff authority. In general, line authority supersedes staff authority in matters pertaining to the production of goods and services. For example, suppose several trainees miss train- ing sessions because their supervisor assigned them to duties away from the job site. Can the HRDmanager or trainer intervene and force the supervisor to reassign these employees so that they can meet their training responsibilities? The short answer is no. The long answer is that HRD managers and staff must exert as much influence as possible to ensure that organizational members have the competencies to meet current and future job demands. At times this may require some type of intervention (such as organization development) to achieve a greater amount of understanding across an organization of the values and goals of HRD programs and processes.
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