Span of management
Span of management refers to the number of subordinates who directly report to one superior. If a manager has too many subordinates then his span is wide and in such cases a manager maintains loose supervision. A manager with few subordinates is said to have narrow span and closer supervision. A wide span results in fewer levels of management resulting in what is known as a flat organization structure. A flat organization is generally characterised by better communication because of shorter lines of communication. A narrow span means more levels of management resulting into a tall organization. A tall organization has longer lines of communication which means that the chances of information getting distorted as it passes from level to level are much higher. Besides the overall costs of management are much higher than in flat structures. The close supervision resulting from narrow spans may make subordinates feel overcontrolled, while the loose supervision due to wide spans may mean that the manager could lose touch with his subordinates and this may lead to reduced productivity especially if the subordinates are not adequately self motivated. The span of management is influenced by certain factors some of which are listed below: They include the competence of the manager and his subordinates. If both are competent, then a wide span is possible, where either or both are not competent, then a narrow span is preferable. The physical dispersion of workers also affects span of management, if employees are scattered in different places, then only a narrow span is possible. The amount of other non supervisory work that the manager has, the more, the less the number of people he can supervise effectively.
The degree of task similarity, if tasks are similar and if jobs are simple and routine, then a wide span is possible. The frequency with which new problems and circumstances keep arising also affects the span. If too many then a narrower span is preferable.