Organisations and management accounting
Organisations and management accounting

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Organisations and management accounting

5.5 Line and staff relationships

The existence of an organisational structure implies that authority and control are exercised from above and pass down through the hierarchy. The relationships that result are known as line relationships. In any organisation, there should be a clear line of authority and responsibility from the top to the bottom of the hierarchy: the ‘scalar chain’ which indicates the line relationships. By contrast, staff relationships exist when a manager gives/receives advice from another organisational member. For example, the Accounting and Finance manager will provide information and analysis to help the Marketing and Production managers make decisions and control their respective operations.

Activity 5

This activity draws together some important ideas you have considered concerning organisation structure.

Consider the organisation in which you work, or one with which you are familiar. (Focus on the part of the organisation with which you are most familiar.)

  • What is the span of control?
  • How many layers or levels of management are there? Is your organisation tall or flat?
  • Is authority centralised or decentralised?
  • How clear is the definition of jobs? Do some of them overlap?
  • To how many people do employees report? Are there single or dual lines of control?

You may find it difficult to answer these questions, especially if there are dual responsibilities or reporting lines in some areas.

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
B292_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371