Unity of Command Principle: Benefits and Example

The principle of one-man supervision presupposes a dexterous mix of rigor and collegiality. It offers toppers with a definite part of puissance and, accordingly, personal liability for the task entrusted. Its necessity is often conditioned by the needs of production itself, allowing eliminating the irresponsibility and negligence of the staff.

But administration in enterprises has a collective nature, so, stewardship must masterfully combine with democracy. The latter provides for the design of group intentions founded on the rulers’ opinions at manifold stages of an institution. Such state of things enhances objectivity and validity of the solutions made, contributing to their successful implementation.

Benefits of Unity of Command

According to the above rule, the prosperity of a firm directly depends on the correctly chosen command mode. The right way of regulation has the following advantages:

  • Improve links between the authorities and subordinates
  • Clearly thought out duties, an existence of a certain level of accountability for the outcomes of their activities
  • Prevention of duplication of job functions
  • Rapid and adequate decision-making
  • Disciplined behavior
  • Excellent teamwork and subordination
  • Educating a positive atmosphere within the team
  • High production speed
  • An absence of double standards
  • Identification of the “lawbreaker”

Negative impacts the mentioned principle varies from confusion and unwillingness to take liability to twist the meaning of instructions. In a similar situation, headers frequently collide with each other, wanting to prove own primacy. Naturally, it is extremely hard to sustain stimulus and discipline in such a milieu, which hinders the firm’s growth.

Unity of Command vs. Unity of Direction

In addition to the mentioned precept, Fayol laid out an additional norm. The difference of unity of command and unity of direction is colossal, which is not immediately evident.

The first one implies that a wage-earner gets instructions from only one boss in the vector from top to bottom. In this way, reverse contact is also built, implying the delivery of reports. Support for such a structure ensures transparency and clarity of actions. One chief signifies one decree.

The second law implies that to monitor the implementation of the declared strategic purpose, one leader is appointed. The selected group develops a unified plan to reach an outcome. Everything is subject to a single assignment, including advertising, price policy, etc. Here the dominant is the statement “one goal means one program and one keeper”. Personnel can take various posts in relation to the criterion of salary and responsibility, but they are driven by one motive.

Do not put an equal sign between the above principles, because their content varies significantly. Unity of command is directly related to the functioning of the staff, while the unity of direction with the company’s progress. The first is impossible without the second, although they are not consequences of each other.

Example of Unity of Command

Fayol has repeatedly argued that as soon as several bosses begin to demonstrate their power over one subject or department, a sense of fear and doubt arises immediately. Dual control serves as a permanent source of controversy.

Consider the next example. In one large company, a header decided that toppers of regional representations are personally accountable to him. This is fifteen persons. At the same time, a certain office was created for requiring the consequences of their work, but without delegating corresponding authority. As a result, the department does not cope with the assigned tasks.

Receiving orders from one person, the employee does not get mixed up in own actions and thoughts. He or she clearly imagines a further vector of motion. Such a setup brings the development of systematic proficiencies, increasing the efficiency of personnel.

David Rock in his book “The Brain: Instructions for Using” clearly explains how our brain reacts to multitasking. It works much worse, allowing more errors and slowing performance. Getting a lot of conflicting instructions may bring a desire to quit.

Meanwhile, practice admits for exceptional cases of violation of one-man precept. The reason for this may be extreme situations, the absence of an immediate superior in the workplace or high centralization of administration. On occasion, from an immediate ruler, liability for earlier given writs is removed.

Obviously, a good leader must have a strong will, capable of ascertaining discipline, and intuition to listen to the others’ opinions. Managerial “deafness” leads to unjustifiably rigid methods of supervision, as a lack of firm will to throwing and chaos.

Thus, an observance of the above-mentioned important management principle assumes a company to rebuild in time and to master the situation. It is adequate leadership that aids numerous firms for decades to keep own positions in the market, despite an emergence of new competitors and a change in consumer tastes.