What is the Optimal Span of Control?

Span of Control
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Student (University), Kenya

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?

  Gopalakrishna Bhat
Project Manager, India

Optimal Span of Control

I tend to agree with this. Remember if you spend 10% of work time per subordinate, then you are left with just 20% time to do other things that have to be handled by yourself.

  Marissa Crean

Optimal Span of Control

I believe your potential span of control increases as you move up the organization. There are fewer things that you must do yourself and much more that are tasks to be completed by your teams.
- Consider the CEO of a publicly-held company. Some things that only the CEO can do is meet in person with the stakeholders - board members, investors, direct reports and their teams, employee meetings, etc. In other words, you are leading a meeting to come to a conclusion or you are making a presentation.
- I know of a CFO that has had more than 10 people reporting to him, and he could manage that because, as he said himself "I don't do anything except make sure I have a team that is capable and empowered to do the right thing." With that approach, you can handle many subordinates.

  Casimir Vital
Manager, United States

No Universal Optimal Span of Control

This is solely dependent on the individual exercis (...)

  Earle Taylor
Turnaround Manager, United States

Optimal Span of Control Depends on Many Factors

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  David Wilson
Manager, Canada

Factors in Optimizing the Span of Control

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Business Consultant, Netherlands

Span of Control versus Span of Support

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  Tom Wilson
HR Consultant, United States

8 People is the Optimal Span of Control

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