Span of management
The Span of Management refers to the number of
subordinates who can be managed efficiently by a superior. Simply, the manager
having the group of subordinates who report him directly is called as the span
of management. The Span of Management has two implications:
1. Influences the complexities of the individual
2. Determine the shape or configuration of the
The span of management is related to the horizontal
levels of the organization structure. There is a wide and a narrow span of
management. With the wider span, there will be less hierarchical levels, and
thus, the organizational structure would be flatter. Whereas, with the narrow
span, the hierarchical levels increases, hence the organizational structure
would be tall.
1. Both these organizational structures have their
advantages and the disadvantages. But however the tall organizational structure
imposes more challenges
2. Since the span is narrow, which means less
number of subordinates under one superior, requires more managers to be employed
in the organization. Thus, it would be very expensive in terms of the salaries
to be paid to each senior.
3. With more levels in the hierarchy, the
communication suffers drastically. It takes a lot of time to reach the
appropriate points, and hence the actions get delayed.
4. Lack of coordination and control because the
operating staff is far away from the top management.
The major advantage of using this structure is that
the cross communication gets facilitated, i.e., operative staff communicating
with the top management. Also, the chance of promotion increases with the
availability of several job positions.
In the case of a flatter organizational structure,
where the span is wide leads to a more complex supervisory relationship between
the manager and the subordinate. It will be very difficult for a superior to
manage a large number of subordinates at a time and also may not listen to all
However, the benefit of using the wider span of
management is that the number of managers gets reduced in the hierarchy, and
thus, the expense in terms of remuneration is saved. Also, the subordinates
feel relaxed and develop their independent spirits in a free work environment,
where the strict supervision is absent.
For Own Thinking
1. Imagine yourself to be a manager and
chart down the functions to be performed.
2. Formulate a new policy relating to
timing of employees.
For Future learning
1. The changes in management and
administration of a school growing into a college.
2. Application of management process in
accomplishing work life balance.
INDIAN MANAGEMENT THINKERS:
Professor, London Business school
Vijay Govindarajan, Professor, Tuck School
of Business @ Dart mouth college,
Pankaj ghemawat, Professor, IESE Business school, Spain.