Both line and staff personnel have a long list of complaints against each other. The major source of line and staff conflict is the difference in their view-points and perception. Conflict arises when a conflict between line and staff arises; both the parties try to explain the causes of conflict in terms of behaviour of the other.
The important causes of line and staff conflict as reported by line men are discussed below:
(a) Staff officers encroach upon the line authority. They interfere in the work of line managers and try to tell them how to do their work.
(b) Staff does not know its place and wants to assume line authority. This feeling is generated more where the staff advisor forgets his position of having to be helpful rather than being in position to dictate.
(c) Staff takes full credit for successful programmes and hold line people wholly responsible for unsuccessful schemes.
(d) The advice of the staff is academic, and is devoid of reality. Since they are not involved in the real work situations, their ideas are impractical. They emphasise about their area of specialisation rather than the interest of the organisation. In essence, they are armed-chair theoreticians, living in their own ivory towers, and totally cut-off from the realities obtaining in the organisation.
(e) Staff men generally fail to see the whole picture objectively as they are specialists in their particular areas.