Span of Control

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Summary

What is Span of Control? Meaning.

Span of Control is the number of people/subordinates that can be effectively managed by one manager. It is an organizational theory term that refers to how relationships are structured between leaders and subordinates in organizations. A wide span of control exists when a person oversees many subordinates. A narrow span of control exists when a leader oversees few subordinates.


The optimal Span of Control is dependent upon a great number of factors, some of which include:

  • The nature of the work of the subordinates.

  • The skills, capabilities, experience, seniority, qualifications of the subordinates.

  • The skills, capabilities, experience, seniority, qualifications of the manager.

  • The use of information technology.

  • The detail at which work rules and procedures have been formalized and are known by the subordinates.

  • The applied management style (command and control or democratic / affiliative).

  • The desired depth of the hierarchy in an organization (steep or flat).

  • Organizational approaches (Self-directed Teams, Empowerment, cross-functional teams, etc.)


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What is the Optimal Span of Control?
Many management writers seem to agree that the optimum span of management is 4 to 8 surbordinates. Can we agree on this? (...)
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7 comments
Effective People Management
I think that the span of control can be an effective means of people management in an organizattion. The span of control (...)
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Best Organizational Structures
Out of the tall, flat and narrow span of control, which is the best balance? (...)
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Two Different Views towards Span of Control?
How did the behavouralist theory view span of control and how did the classical approach of theory view span of control? (...)
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1 comments
Control in Management
Control in management and leadership is mandatory. If you have significant control on the employees then you'll be able (...)
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2 comments
Determining Span of Control
When should we add more subordinates? In other words, how can one determine the right span of control? (...)
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1 comments
🔥 NEW Too Many Management Levels in Municipal Government
A recent review of municipal governments for large cities has shown many major cities (over 1 million in population) hav (...)
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Benefits and Drawbacks Wide Span of Control
What are the main benefits and drawbacks of a wide span of control? (...)
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Key Considerations in Deciding Upon your Organizational Design

Organization Set Up, Organizational Structure, Organization Structure, Centralization, Span of Control, Departmentaliz
When setting up a business or organization, it is important to think about the roles, processes and relationships within (...)

Ways to Increase the Span of Control

Organization Design, Job Design
There are multiple ways to increase the span of control. These are the main ones: Appoint an adjunct (assistant) man (...)

2 Meanings of Span of Control

Organization Design, Job Design
Be alert for 2 meanings of the term “Span of Control”. 1. The actual number of employees (subordinates) that is (...)
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Compare also: Flat Organizational Structure  |  Covert Leadership  |  Stretch Goals

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