Line management refers to the management of employees who are directly involved in the production or delivery of products, goods and/or services. As the interface between an organisation and its front-line workforce, line management represents the lowest level of management within an organisational hierarchy (as distinct from top/executive/senior management and middle management).
A line manager is an employee who directly manages other employees and operations while reporting to a higher-ranking manager. Related job titles are supervisor, section leader, foreperson and team leader. They are charged with meeting corporate objectives in a specific functional area or line of business. As an example, one type of line management at an automobile conglomerate might be the "light-truck division", or even more specifically, the "light-truck marketing line". Similarly, one type of line management at a financial services firm might be "retention marketing" or "state municipal bond funds".
Line managers are responsible for implementing and enabling, through their staff, an organisation's people policies and practices in alignment with business objectives and core values. Their main functions with respect to employees include:
Line managers' activities typically include:
Line management is also responsible for adopting (with the support of senior management) any type of organizational culture change.
The line management function will often cross into other functions vital to the success of a business such as human resources, finance, and risk management. Indeed, at corporations, responsibility for risk management is vested with line management. Human resources obligations are also increasingly being assigned or "devolved" to line managers.