span of control

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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.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson
References in periodicals archive ?
Synopsis: Learn how to manage nurses' spans of control to improve employee engagement in your healthcare organization.
Reportedly, cost savings of approximately USD200m are expected to be derived from a combination of lower headcount and non-headcount costs which will be achieved by aggressively embracing zero-based budgeting, simplifying organisational structure by increasing spans of control and reducing layers, and outsourcing technology and back office functions to improve scalability.
The retailer reorganized its leadership structure in the last few months to integrate pharmacy and front-of-store execution and narrow spans of control.
The nurse managers who participated in this study were experienced, well-educated, and managed large spans of control. On average, they had 9 years of experience as nurse managers with about 5 years in their current positions.
Large spans of control or influence in downsized organizations may limit the opportunities supervisors have to observe their employees directly as well as to provide feedback and coach in face-to-face settings.
Decentralization removes the barriers to creativity and freedom of action, while wide spans of control reduce the layers of bureaucracy and keep senior officials more in touch with operations.
In organizations with wide spans of control, supervisors have many subordinates under their command.
The information era organization typically has a structure with low work specialization, high, distributed accountability, variable spans of control, high empowerment, and high acculturation.
Companies' approach to the organizational structure and spans of control required to compete in this new world vary widely, and unfortunately sources of fresh talent are still struggling to keep up with the demand.
* Fewer levels of management with wider spans of control.
A quick look at the system's report, sorted by rater, will show which ones have excessive spans of control, enabling leaders to adjust the supervisory chain accordingly.