MEANING Itrefers to the number of subordinates that report directly to a single manager or superior. The term Span of Management is also known as ‘Span of Control’& ‘Span of Supervision’. But span of management is a better term because control & supervision are elements of management.
SIGNIFICANCE It is necessary to decide the appropriate span for every executive. If the no. of subordinates reporting directly to a manager is very large, he may not be able to exercise effective supervision & control. On the other hand, if the no. is too small, full use of the manager’s abilities may not be made & the subordinates may not get adequate autonomy of work. It’s however, difficult to decide to appropriate span of management. In actual practice spans vary widely & there is no best or ideal no. that can be applied in all situations.
FACTORS DETERMINING SPAN OFMANAGEMENT Nature of work. Type of technology. Ability of the manager. Capacity of subordinates. Degree of decentralization. Planning.
FACTORS Staff assistance. Communication techniques. Time available for supervision. Geographical dispersion of subordinates.
NARROW AND WIDE SPAN Narrow span of management means very few subordinates report directly to a manager. Wide span of management implies a large no. of subordinates reporting to a manager. Ralph C. Davis has differentiated b/w executive & operative span of control.
NARROW & WIDE At higher levels of management planning & policy making is the major task. Therefore, a narrow span [executive span] of 3 to 7 is usually adopted. At middle and supervisory levels, work is primarily of routine nature requiring less direct contact & interaction. As a result, span of control can increase to as many as 10 to 13persons.
IMPACT OF SPAN ON ORG. STR. Choice of the span of control has a significant effect on the size and shape of the organization structure. If the span is narrow, there would be several levels of authority in the org. The org. str. Will be a TALL pyramid. On the other hand, a wide span of means fewer levels & FLAT/WIDE structure.
TALL AND FLAT STRUCTURESTALL STRUCTURE FLAT STRUCTURE