span of control


Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

span of control

the number of people a manager has formal AUTHORITY over and is responsible for. Most ORGANIZATIONS are structured on the premise that there are practical limitations to the number of people one manager can effectively supervise without becoming overloaded or losing sight of what the subordinates are doing. CLASSICAL MANAGEMENT THEORY held that the optimum span of control was around six people. It is now generally believed that the effective width of the span is to some extent determined by the distribution of decision-making. Where this is decentralized a wider span is feasible. The span of control is often inversely related to the number of levels in the HIERARCHY of an ORGANIZATION. The more levels, the smaller the span of control, and vice versa.
References in periodicals archive ?
Span of control guidelines and limits should be defined.
All else being equal, as the forces of the counterinsurgency expand their span of control over more of the territory and population of Afghanistan, the relative number of green-on-blue attacks should fall.
11) Thus, in addition to the narrower and more focused span of control, a significant advantage of this joint system of hospital governance is an increased number of senior positions, and thus opportunities for leadership development.
It is important for us to have a better understanding of how the different dimensions of organizational structure, such as size and complexity, span of control, and vertical and horizontal differentiation generate the objective characteristics that frame administrative subjectivity in government agencies.
It) occurs when one group attempts to regain or enhance its self-sufficiency by encroachment or by expanding its span of control even when that is not in the best interest of the organization.
First, it examines four additional dimensions of structure: routinization, standardization, span of control, and formalization.
However, the vast distances separating the three amphibious assaults of November 1942, coupled with rudimentary communication capabilities, created issues with span of control.
The efficient and effective supply chain of the future will implement processes that provide transparency that the span of control and security status are known in order for goods to be "fast-tracked" through ports of entry.
The second variable span of control refers to the number of hierarchical levels in the organization.
While this was reported as within the supply chain span of control by 52 percent, there were substantial differences in what this meant.
In administration, the span of control for an executive should be from five to nine persons, with seven being optimal.