There are many roles to be filled in each company or organization. Whether it is a large or small company, a private or public organization, or even a military unit, there are different roles and positions that must be fulfilled in order for the company or organization to function properly. Some are designed to be more powerful than others. In general, there are two types of agencies, or departments, within a business or organization. The first is staff agencies and the second is line agencies. In every case, the line agencies are considered to be more powerful and given more independence compared to the staff agencies that exist.
Within public administration, businesses, or the military, line agencies are departments within the organization who's focused is on the work of the organization and its function. The staff agencies within these departments provide support to the line agencies. In business, sales, marketing, and production are considered key line agencies. A staff agency, on the other hand might include legal departments, administrative support, or human resources.
The duties of a staff agency typically include keeping all executives within the company or organization in line with information that is up-to-date about the company. Their job also includes providing these executives with the materials they need in order to make key decisions about the company or the organization. Staff agencies often keep executives in line by handling regulatory compliance problems, keeping track of revenue and business expenses, offering logistics support, obtaining new equipment, and recruiting new employees.
Staff agencies might include those people within an organization or a business who have very specific technical expertise. Employees within a line department typically have more authority than employees who are considered staff workers. Staff workers are typically only able to advice and they are unable to make independent decisions.
When an organization or business starts off, it generally consists of line positions. At the beginning of a company or an organization, everyone is involved with production and sales. As an organization grows, those holding the line positions continue and they add staff positions. In a typical business or an organization, the line functions are designated by vertical lines beginning with the head of the organization and working downward. Staff functions are typically marked with a horizontal line which spins off from each of the individual line positions.