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Operations management is an area of management concerned with overseeing, designing, and controlling the process of production and redesigning

business operations in the production of goods and/or services. It involves the responsibility of ensuring that business operations are efficient in terms of using as few resources as needed, and effective in terms of meeting customer requirements. It is concerned with managing the process that converts inputs (in the forms of materials, labor, and energy) into outputs (in the form of goods and/or services). The relationship of operations management to senior management in commercial contexts can be compared to the relationship of line officers to highest-level senior officers in military science. The highest-level officers shape the strategy and revise it over time, while the line officers make tactical decisions in support of carrying out the strategy. In business as in military affairs, the boundaries between levels are not always distinct; tactical information dynamically informs strategy, and individual people often move between roles over time. According to the U.S. Department of Education, operations management is the field concerned with managing and directing the physical and/or technical functions of a firm or organization, particularly those relating to development, production, and manufacturing. Operations management programs typically include instruction in principles of general management, manufacturing and production systems, plant management, equipment maintenance management, production control, industrial labor relations and skilled trades supervision, strategic manufacturing policy, systems analysis, productivity analysis and cost control, and materials planning. Management, including operations management, is like engineering in that it blends art with applied science. People skills, creativity, rational analysis, and knowledge of technology are all required for success. "Staff and line" are names given to different types of functions in organizations. A "line function" is one that directly advances an organization in its core work. This always includes production and sales, and [1] sometimes also marketing. A "staff function" supports the organization with specialized advisory and support functions. For example, human resources, accounting, public relationsand the legal department [2] are generally considered to be staff functions. Both terms originated in the military.
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1 Organizational lifecycle 2 Relative authority 3 Conflict between line and staff 4 Downsizing of staff function 5 References

[edit]Organizational

lifecycle

Organizations begin as line-only, with line managers having direct control over all activities, including [3] administrative ones. Only later, as organizations grow in size, do they add staff positions. [edit]Relative

authority

Increasingly organizations. but can choose not to heed it. and CBS cut hundreds of staff positions from its New York [11] headquarters.Line managers have total authority over their direct reports. making it clear what the staff role is. and [10] emphasizing the staff role as part of the team. American organizational sociologist Melville Dalton attributed this to "the conspicuous ambition and individualistic behaviour among staff managers. Other management theorists have observed that line managers sometimes resent staff advisors for being younger and bettereducated than they are. Management textbooks advise resolving line-staff conflict by explicitly recognizing the mutual dependency of the two. because they increase costs while not directly contributing to the organization's goals. (For example. are beginning to move away from line-staff structures to structures that are more hybrid or matrixed ." with line managers choosing whether or not to seek advice from the staff person. "concurrent authority. "compulsory advice" or "compulsory consultation" in which line managers must consider the staff person's advice.) Thereafter. In the 1980s though. [4] which flows to line workers in the form of advice. their primary role is to serve and support line managers. reimbursement policies and quality standards. Common types of functional authority for staff positions [6] include authority over recruiting standards. having staff deliberately set out to win the confidence and trust of line workers. and from their closer access to upper management. and what to do with it once they get it. Staff specialists say line workers avoid and ignore them. and "functional authority" in which the staff person has complete formal [5] authority over his or her area of specialty. and staff jobs began to reduce in number. it should relate only to areas in which line managers have no expertise. Management theorists advise that functional authority for staff positions should be extremely limited in scope: it should cover only a tiny aspect of the line managers' job.000. and more [12] new MBA graduates began aspiring to line functions.000 to 2. most MBA graduates have aspired to work in staff positions using their analytical skills to advise line managers. collect and analyze information. and line workers say staff workers lack expertise in the organization's core work. and the dependence of highly-ranked staff managers on line managers." staff's anxiety to justify their existence." from their control of [7][8] information which may be vital to line managers. develop. Staff workers derive influence from expert authority or "authority of knowledge. IBM cut its staff positions from 7. distract them. many large companies began downsizing to reduce their number of employees. but staff workers have primarily advisory authority rather than direct authority." in which the line manager cannot finalize a decision without the agreement of the staff person. and get in their way. Their function is to create. Staff positions can have four kinds of authority: "advise authority. de-emphasizing any controlling elements of the staff role. and it should be granted only where company-wide uniformity is required. Others attribute the problem to staff managers not realizing that even though they have been delegated authority in particular areas. [edit]Conflict between line and staff [9] It is very common for line and staff workers to come into conflict. [edit]Downsizing of staff function Historically. line jobs began increasingly to contain some analytic functions. especially smaller ones. Management experts believe organizations should minimize their investment in staff positions.