Iv) Span Of Control

. The span of control determines the number of levels and managers an organisation has. Generally, the wider or larger the span, the more efficient organization (including lowering labour costs), eg

Organisational Level

Members at Each Level

 

Assuming a span of 4

Assuming a span of 8

Highest 1

1

1

2

4

8

3

16

64

4

64

512

5

256

4,096

6

1,024

 

Lowest 7

4,096

 

Comments

Of the 4,069 staff, the number of managers and supervisors (levels 1 - 6), are 1,365

Of the 4,069 staff, the number of managers and supervisors (levels 1 ‐ 4) are 585

The smaller the span, the easier to maintain control. On the other hand, the reduced span has 3 major drawbacks

i. It is expensive to add levels of management

ii. It increases the complexity of vertical communications in an organisation as it adds levels of hierarchy, slows down decision-making and tends to isolate upper management

iii. Tends to encourage overtly tight supervision and discourage employee autonomy

The trend in recent years has been towards larger spans of control. This is consistent with the efforts to reduce costs, cut overheads, achieve speedier decision-making, increase flexibility, get closer to the customer and empower employees.

Question: how many individuals can a manager efficiently and effectively direct?

 

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