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Definition

Span of control

How many employees can a manager efficiently and effectively manage? That’s what span of control is all about. The traditional view was that manager could not-and should not-directly supervise more than five or six subordinates. Determining the span of control is important because to a large degree, it determines the number of levels and managers in an organization-an important consideration in how efficient an organization will be.


Span of control is the number of subordinates under the direction of each manager.


The span of control refers to the number of subordinates a manager supervises. There is no correct number to be assigned to each manager at the top, middle, or bottom level of the organization . The exact number for each manager is determined by:

— The complexity and variety of the subordinates' work

— The ability of the manager

— The ability and training of the subordinates themselves

— The supervisor's willingness to delegate authority

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