What is the Difference Between Line Agency and Staff Agency?

Employment Agencies Vs Businesses: Differences In LawWhile line organization is based on the hierarchical authority and direct chain of command, it lacks specialized expertise in certain areas of operation. In contrast, line and staff agencies utilize a division of labor to allow specialized staff departments to perform core business functions while also providing advisory support and supplemental expertise. In addition to enabling improved decision-making, this structure also allows for greater flexibility and effectiveness.


The primary function of a staff agency such as AIE Agency is to provide support services to the chief executive. These support services may include information gathering, policy-making, and advisory work. They can also include administrative tasks such as disallowing expense vouchers and preparing reports to the chief executive. Staff agencies are vital to the overall performance of the chief executive’s duties and can help ensure that critical information is provided in a timely manner.


According to public administration scholar Mooney, the functions of staff agencies can be divided into three broad categories: informative, advisory and supervisory. Informing involves gathering relevant information and advising the chief executive on what should be decided. Advisory activities can include providing advice on policy-making and strategic planning to the chief executive, who may or may not decide to follow the advice. Staffers can also play a supervisory role by ensuring that the chief executive’s decisions are communicated to and implemented by the line agencies.


Staff departments are also responsible for supporting the line agency’s mission by providing specialized knowledge and expertise in the specific area of operations. For example, a financial department may offer assistance with budgeting, accounting, and auditing, while an HR department can assist with employee recruitment and compensation. Additionally, staff departments can provide training and expertise in areas such as human resources, financial management, and legal compliance. Large corporations and other organizations often use this type of organizational structure to improve efficiency and profitability.


Specialized staff departments allow for a more in-depth analysis and problem solving of core business activities, while reducing the time required to complete administrative tasks. This type of structure is useful for a number of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation. For example, a hospital can rely on its staff to handle recruitment and compensation, while allowing medical specialists to focus on patient care. In addition, the specialized expertise of these departments can help prevent conflicts between responsibilities and improve collaboration between various teams within a corporation. Staff departments can also help to reduce the time it takes for a supervisory or line manager to respond to an issue, which can help improve productivity. In addition, this type of organization can be helpful in minimizing the risk of nepotism and corruption in an organization. These issues are common in bureaucracies and must be addressed to ensure the proper functioning of a government or corporation. Specialized staff departments can help prevent these problems by establishing formalized rules and procedures for their members to follow.

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