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In business, organization structure means the relationship between positions and people who hold the positions. Organization structure is very important because it provides an efficient work system as well as system of communication. Historically, the line structure is the oldest type of organization structure.



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Lesson 5



In business, organization structure means the relationship between positions and people who hold the positions. Organization structure is very important because it provides an efficient work system as well as system of communication.

Historically, the line structure is the oldest type of organization structure. The main idea of it is direct vertical relationships between the positions and tasks of each level, and the positions and tasks above and below each level. For example, a sales manager may be in a line position between a vice-president of marketing and a salesman. Thus a vice-president of marketing has direct authority over a sales manager. A sales manager in his turn has direct authority over a salesman. This chain of command simplifies the problem of giving and taking orders.

When a business grows in size and becomes more complex, there is a need for specialists. In such a case administrators may organize staff departments and add staff specialists to do specific work. These people are usually busy with services, they are not tied in with the company product. The activities of the staff departments include accounting, personnel, credit and advertising. Generally, they do not give orders to other departments.

Active Vocabulary



to hold a position

занимать должность

organization structure

организационная структура



sales manager

управляющий по торговле и маркетингу


продавец, торговец

to have direct authority over smb.

иметь прямую власть над кем-либо



to give orders

отдавать приказы

to take orders

принимать приказы

a line department

линейный отдел (имеющий непосредственное отношение к конечному продукту)

staff department

штабной отдел (не имеющий отношения к производству, но его обслуживающий)

to be tied in with the company product

иметь отношение к конечному продукту



Comprehension Questions

  1.  What does the organization structure mean?
  2.  What does the organization structure provide?
  3.  What is historically the oldest type of organization structure?
  4.  In what position is a sales manager in attitude a vice president of marketing and a salesman?
  5.  What is the difference between line and staff departments?
  6.  Why is an advertising department or a credit department considered staff structure rather than line structure?

Vocabulary Practice

Choose the necessary word and put it in the sentence.

  1.  Organization structure shows … between each position and positions above and below.
  1.  relationship
  1.  A sales manager has direct … over a salesman.
  1.  hold a position
  1.  As a rule a ... usually does not give orders to other departments.
  1.  authority
  1.  When the business gets more … there is a need for staff departments.
  1.  complex
  1.  My friend … of sales manager.
  1.  task
  1.  The … of staff departments is to do different services.
  1.  line department
  1.  My friend works in a … he is responsible for the company product.
  1.  staff department


Peggy Forman is talking with Jeff Downing, another administrative assistant in her company.


How are you today, Peggy?


Oh, fine, thanks.


Glad to hear that. By the way, are you familiar with the organizational chart for the company?


No, I am not. What is it like actually?


Well, the chart shows how the employees are divided into groups. It gives one an overview of the chain of command in the company.


I see. The positions can be line and staff ones.


Yes, the subject is not new for you. What else do you know about it?


As far as I know, a worker in a line position receives orders from his immediate superior.


Exactly, that's the line chain of command.


A worker in a staff position reports directly to a line worker but he neither gives nor receives orders from line workers. Am I right?


Yes, you are. But someone may have line authority over people in his department and not be considered a line administrator.


How can it be?


That's possible when a whole department is a staff department. For example, in our company the head of the credit department or the personnel department can hardly ever be president of the company.


And what do the people in staff departments do, how is their work different?


Well, they are usually busy with services and they could do the same service for any company. So they are not in the line.


It seems to be rather complicated.


It only seems so. I think the chart should help.


Oh, sure. But, Jeff, would you explain to me what span of control is?


Oh, span of control refers to the number of people whom one manages directly.


Can you give me an example?


Well, the President of our company directly manages the Vice President of Production, the Vice President of Marketing and the Comptroller. Thus, his span of control includes three people.


Yes, now I see. Thank you for your help.


Not at all. Why don't we go to the coffee stall and have snack together?

Active Vocabulary

organizational chart

организационная схема

line position

линейная должность

staff position

штабная должность

immediate superior

непосредственный начальник

immediate subordinate

непосредственный подчинённый

line chain of command

линейная структура подчинения

to report

зд. сообщить

credit department

кредитный отдел

span of control

сфера непосредственного подчинения

Vice President of Production

вице-президент по производству

Vice President of Marketing

вице-президент по сбыту


главный финансист

Vocabulary Exercises

Exercise 1. Give affirmative and negative answers to the questions.

Model: Have you examined the organizational structure of the company yet?

– Yes, I have already examined it.

– No, I haven't examined it yet.

  1.  Have you reported to the comptroller yet?
  2.  Have you settled this problem with the manager yet?
  3.  Have you learnt line and staff positions of the company yet?
  4.  Have you got acquainted with your immediate superior yet?
  5.  Have you heard about his span of control yet?
  6.  Have you met your immediate subordinates yet?
  7.  Have you passed your report to the credit department yet?

Exercise 2. Change the sentences according to the model.

Model: A staff employee doesn't give orders.

A staff employee doesn't receive orders.

A staff employee neither gives, nor receives orders.

  1.  He isn't a comptroller. He isn't a sales manager.
  2.  The head of the credit department doesn't advise the President. The head of the credit department doesn't report to comptroller.
  3.  He doesn't want to hold a position of vice-president of marketing. He doesn't want to hold a position of general manager.
  4.  A credit department doesn't have direct authority over a line department. A personnel department doesn't have direct authority over a line department.
  5.  I don't want to talk with the boss. I don't want to talk with the comptroller.
  6.  She doesn't like to give orders. She doesn't like to receive orders.
  7.  Jacky doesn't want to attend annual meeting of shareholders. Susan doesn't want to attend annual meeting of shareholders too.

Exercise 3. Answer the questions.

  1.  What is your relationship with your immediate superior?
  2.  What position in your company do you want to hold?
  3.  Do you want to be a sales manager or a vice president of marketing? Give your reasons.
  4.  Over what positions do you have direct authority in your company?
  5.  What do you like more: to give orders or to receive orders?
  6.   Do you want to work in a staff department or in a line department? Give your reasons.

Grammar Exercises

Exercise 1. Transfer the sentences from Active into Passive.

Model: The manager examines organizational structure of the firm. – Organizational structure of the firm is examined by the manager.

  1.  Vice president gives orders to his employees.
  2.  I receive orders from the sales manager
  3.  My friend holds a position of general manager.
  4.  Personnel officer receives resumes from prospective candidates.
  5.  Staff departments do different services to line departments.
  6.  He takes orders and fulfils the tasks very quickly usually.

Model: My friend examines the organizational chart. –

The organizational chart is being examined by my friend.

  1.  I am sending my annual report to my immediate superior.
  2.  The foreman is firing his immediate subordinates.
  3.  Comptroller is giving orders to his employees.
  4.  We are changing the organizational structure of our company.
  5.  The board of directors is enlarging the staff of the company.

Model: I have invested my money in real estate. –

My money has been invested in real estate.

  1.  We have considered advantages and disadvantages of partnership.
  2.  I have bought the shares of IBM company.
  3.  This business has involved big financial resources.
  4.  We have elected the board of directors.
  5.  The board of directors has chosen the company officers.

Translate into English.

  1.  Мои взаимоотношения с начальником очень хорошие.
  2.  Мой друг занимает должность главного финансиста.
  3.  Я не знаком с организационной структурой нашего предприятия.
  4.  Он больше любит отдавать приказы, чем получать их.
  5.  Я предпочитаю работать в линейном отделе.
  6.  Штабные отделы не связаны с конечным продуктом.
  7.  Структура нашего предприятия сложна.
  8.  Я больше подхожу к штабной должности, чем к линейной.
  9.  Мой непосредственный начальник очень пунктуален.
  10.  В сферу моего подчинения входят три руководителя групп.
  11.  Главный финансист имеет очень большую ответственность.
  12.  Я уволю моего непосредственного подчинённого. Он ленив.


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