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Staff Development and Staff Line Relations by r9bf18j


									                               Staff Development and Staff-Line Relations

                          An Abstract of an Ohio Leadership Academy Project

                                              Steven Howe
                                        Department of Psychology
                                         University of Cincinnati

                                                 April 2011

Line relationships are typically displayed as vertical lines on organizational charts. Academic unit
heads report to deans who in turn report to the provost. The occupants of each of these roles have
staff members whose function is to assist them in the fulfillment of their line functions. Staff-line
conflict can occur when staff and line employees are required to coordinate with one another, or
when there are poorly specified reporting relationships between the staffs of people in line positions.

Relevance of Ohio Leadership Academy (OLA) Experiences
My observations of staff functions at The Ohio State University made it clear that (a) OSU staff
were outstanding, (b) reports of staff-line conflict were infrequent, (c) there are staff processes at
OSU that reduce line-staff friction that do not exist at UC, and (d) college staff (decanal and
departmental) were organized differently than at UC.

Specific Aim
The aim of my project was to identify strengths-based approaches to improving line-staff
relationships at UC based on best practices I saw in operation at OSU.

Examples of Key Findings
   At OSU, functions were more likely to be centrally planned than at UC. They were also more
    likely to be explicit, and hence formalized.
   In my OSU college, mentoring for staff members was highly valued.
   In my OSU college, decanal staff and line direct reports interacted monthly in the A-team
    (administrative team) meetings.
   At OSU, there was a high degree of staff specialization within units. Unit level staff might
    specialize in fiscal matters or in HR matters.
   In my OSU college, processes that would be rare at the unit level were handled centrally in the
    dean’s office.
   In my OSU college, fiscal staff met monthly and HR staff met monthly.
   There was a formal OSU decision to create dotted line reporting relationships between key
    college staff and key university staff.
   At OSU, decisions to implement new technology were associated with processes by which deans
    and unit heads and faculty had substantial input. For example, the move to electronic RPT
    dossiers has unfolded deliberately over a six-year period, starting with the small cohort of tenure-
    track hires in one year who did their annual reports on-line and gradually adding new cohorts
    each year. Next year, RPT decisions will be based on electronic portfolios for the first time.

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