Span of management refers to the number of
subordinates that a manger can efficiently
manage. Number of subordinate directly reporting
to a manager is known as span. Span of
management is important for
Determining the complexity of an individual
manager’s job and
Determining shape and structure of the
Fewer the number of subordinates reporting to a
manger larger the number of managers required.
Therefore span for control should be fixed.
Factors determining the span of management:
Capacity of manager:
Each manager has different capacity and ability
in terms of decision making, leadership,
communication, judgment, guidance and control
etc. mangers having more abilities in respect to
these factors may have more number of
Capacity of subordinates:
capacity of subordinates also affects the span
of a manager. Efficient and trained subordinates
may work without much help of their manager.
They may just need broad guidelines and they
will perform accordingly. They would require
lesser time from their superior due to which
manager can have large number of subordinates
Nature of work:
If subordinates are performing similar and
repetitive routine work they can do their work
without having much time of the manager.
Frequent changes in work would require more
detailed instructions from manager whenever
there is change in work. Type of technology used
also affects the span of control.
Degree of Decentralization:
degree of centralization or decentralization
affects the span by affecting the involvement in
decision making process. If manager clearly
delegates his authority and defines it fully
this would require less time to devote to manage
his subordinates as subordinates will take most
of the actions by their own. Hence manager can
have wider span.
Degree of Planning:
If the planning is effectively done particularly
if standing plans procedures rules methods are
clear then subordinates can make their decisions
on their own. If they have to make their own
plans they would require more guidelines by
superiors and manager can handle narrow span in
the case of improper planning.
If communication system is modern i.e. tools
like electronic devices will save time of face
to face interaction, which require more time,
span of manager can be increased
Level of Management:
level of management also affects the span.
Higher the level of management lesser the number
of subordinates as higher level management does
not have much time to supervise. They spend
their most of time in planning and other
functions. Lower level managers can have wider
span than the higher level managers.
If all the persons to be supervised are located
at same place within the direct supervision of
manager, he can supervise more number of people.
If subordinates are at different locations then
manager can supervise less number of spans.