8 Factors of Determining Span of Management

The most important factor influencing the choice of the type of organizational structure of management and its formation is the degree of the span of management (the range of control, the sphere of management). The excessive increase in the number of subordinates leads to an increase in the managerial responsibilities of the manager, which weakens control over the work of subordinates, makes it difficult to detect miscalculations in work. The excessive narrowing of the span of management is the reason for the increase in the number of management levels, over the centralization of power, the increase in administrative costs and the growth of problems as a result of the weakening of the relationships between the upper and lower levels of the organizational management structure.

The Span of Management Definition

The span of management is the total number of subordinates in a firm that are accountable to each manager. Determining the span of management, two approaches are always used.

1. The experimental and statistical approach, which is based on the analogy method. It is realized by comparing the number of staff of the analyzed structure and the staffing number of a similar structure that carries out a similar amount of work and has a smaller staff. This method is quite simple, does not require serious labor and is widely used. With the help of it, by analogy with advanced structures, typical states are defined. However, this method can not be attributed to the scientifically based. Therefore, calculation-analytical methods can be used to develop scientifically based, advanced structures.

2. Calculating and analytical methods are based on such factors as the nature of the work, the amount of information, the cost of working time, the number of relationships in the organization. Within the framework of these methods, the following types of work are distinguished:

  • creative (heuristic), consisting of developing and making decisions;
  • administrative and organizational, consisting of administrative, control and evaluation and coordination operations;
  • performing (operator), consisting in the performance of work, clearly defined instructions.

It should be noted that the amount of work performed by the staff due to the specifics of its work can not always be expressed in hours. The complexity of the work of some specialists depends on the specific weight in the total volume of their activity in this or that type of work. Multifacetedness and complexity of personnel work determine the complexity of the quantitative evaluation of it. Creative work in this respect is the least quantifiable, for example, it can not be expressed in hours. Administrative work is also a category of complex work, it can contain some operations that are measurable, but the proportion of such operations is very small. Performing labor can be definitely quantified, and its costs can be measured in standard hours.

The span of management determined by the number of employees who are directly subordinate to this leader is established through the delegation of linear authorities. The inability to maintain a manageable rate at a fairly low level makes coordination almost impossible.

Management theorists paid considerable attention to determining what an ideal rule of manageability should be. The administrative school of management was especially interested in this issue. A wide range of numbers is proposed, a number of authors considered the best rate of 7 to 10 subordinates. However, modern studies show that the magnitude of the rate varies widely. One of the things to consider when determining the appropriate span of management is the level of management, the nature of the tasks performed, the characteristics of subordinates and the relative abilities of the manager. All this plays a role in determining the number of people directly and effectively controlled by the leader.

The essence of the commands and the length of their chain must correspond to a specific situation. The best way to ensure management effectiveness is one-man management, where each subordinate has one boss, receives instructions from him and answers only before him. The principle presupposes the submission of commands along the chain of subordination and the head of the lower level can not solve production issues with the highest boss, bypassing the intermediate ones. Similarly, the head of the top management can not give orders to the lower levels, bypassing any intermediate ones.

By the delegation of linear authorities, the rule of controllability is also established. Striving for the greatest amount of control, managers try to retain the largest number of subordinates. But many years of experience have shown that the lower the span management, the higher the level of coordination is.

Many enterprises sought to establish a constant rate of manageability. But research has shown that the magnitude of the norm in each particular case depends on a variety of factors. It is influenced by the level of management, the nature of the tasks performed, the level of general development and professionalism of subordinates, managerial qualities of the manager.

The only thing that is common is that it is necessary to strive for a minimum norm of controllability, which facilitates effective coordination of actions and constant monitoring of subordinates.

8 Factors to Take Into Account

Here is a list of factors that must be taken into account when calculating the optimal number of subordinates.

  • Уровень компетентности подчиненного и лидера.
  • Интенсивность взаимодействия между отдельными подчиненными или группами.
  • Пределы, в которых менеджер выполняет работу не административного характера, и временную потребность в контактах с другими организационными подразделениями.
  • Сходства или различия в деятельности подчиненных.
  • Широта проблем в возглавляемом подразделении.
  • Распространенность в организации процедур стандартизации.
  • Степень физических различий в активности.

According to a number of researchers, so that the top manager is not overloaded and has the opportunity to delve into the affairs of subordinates, as well as to solve long-term issues, the average value of the rule of control should be 3-6 people.

Thus, the introduction of a manageability standard for line managers creates a scientifically sound basis for the correct planning of their numbers, creates equal conditions for the intensity of their work, allows them to identify their reserves of numbers, and also provides rational controllability of personnel.