Single line system

In the single-line system, the arrangement of the line is passed on directly to the points below. There is clear authority and a clear reporting channel. Several employees are subordinate to one supervisor and each employee has only one supervisor.

Single line system

Definition / explanation

The one-line system is a form of organization whose basis is the principle of the unity of order placement. The supervisor forwards his order directly to a subordinate employee. Meanwhile, each employee has only one manager.

In the one-line system, the communication channels run vertically and there is a clear direction of the authority to issue instructions and the reporting channel. This ensures a tight structure of responsibility and the right to issue orders.

In practice, this organizational structure is used for ...

  • start-up, small and medium-sized companies
  • Companies that value clear command structures and discipline
  • bureaucratic organizations such as public administration

Advantages of the single-line system

  • Possibility of a simple and clear structuring
  • Communication, service and information channels are clear
  • an overlapping of competencies is avoided
  • Arrangements are clear and so is the distribution of competencies

Disadvantages of the single-line system

  • Long official channels mean a loss of time
  • Intermediate instances are unnecessarily burdened
  • Superiors are overwhelmed by the communication and control tasks
  • cooperation between employees is made more difficult
  • few specializations possible


  • One-line system is an organizational form
  • Orders from the management are passed on directly to the departments below
  • there is a clear authority to issue instructions and a clear reporting channel
  • each employee has only one manager
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