Factors Affecting Span of Management

The following factors to be considered when determining span of management:

1. Capacity of superior: Each manager or superior may have different ability and capacity in respect of such factors as leadership, communication, decision-making, control affecting management of subordinates. Managers having more capacity in respect of these factors can manage more number of subordinates in similar situation. Further, the attitudes and personality factors of the manager also determine his span of management.

2. Capacity of Subordinates: Capacity of subordinates also affects the degree of span of management trained and experienced subordinates need lesser supervision than the new hands. A well-trained employee can solve simpler problem himself.

3. Nature of work: In case of routine and respective operations, span can be wider as subordinates would not require frequent guidance from the supervisor. For this type of work, managers can lay down permanent policies to control large number of subordinates. Routing problems take lesser time than the expectation unusual type of problems.

4. Degree of Decentralization: Centralization of authority narrows down the span of supervision. Delegation of authority will widen the span of supervision. If a manager clearly delegates his authority and defines it fully, he requires less time to devote to manage his subordinates because most of the actions will be taken by the subordinates on their own. But in case of centralization of authority subordinates would require considerable consultation, clarification and instruction from their superior.

5. Degree of planning : Higher the degree of plans, particularly standing plans, clearly providing rules, procedures, methods etc., in doing the work, higher would be the degree of span of control.

6. Communication Techniques: The pattern of communication may also affect the span of control. If communication is mostly face-to-face, it requires more time on the part of both superior and subordinates. On the other hand, communication with staff assistant and through the use of modem communication tools like electronic devices will save lot of time and span can be increased.

7. Use of Staff assistance: Span of supervision will increase if the subordinates are receiving necessary guidance on methods, quality standards and other aspects of work from different specialists available in the business. “If he can call upon internal consultant for his help, the supervisor can free himself from those parts of the job which he can perform effectively and this will include a maximum supervisory span.”

8. Rate of Change: Certain enterprises change much more rapidly than others. The rate of change is an important determinant of the degree to which policies can be formulated and the stability of policies maintained.