Friday, August 5, 2011

Span of Management

Span of management implies total number of subordinates handled by one manager and they have to supervise every subordinate. It is also termed as span of control, span of supervision, span of responsibility, but it is preferred to use span of management because it takes the organization as a whole and control and supervision is a part of management.

Span of management faces various problems regarding limits on the number of subordinates that each manager can handle. It is difficult for every manager to handle the infinite number of employees because no manager is that much expert who can handle them. Furthermore, it is assumed that if the number of subordinates increased then required time for each decreases and if the manager has to control large number subordinates within a limited time span then quality of supervision reduces. Sometimes subordinates are not able to attain the objectives due to their limited mental energy this also creates problem for span of management.

There are two types of span one is wide and other is narrow, in wide span large number of subordinates can be handled while in narrow span number is limited, narrow span is expensive as it has too many levels that requires large number of managers and staff also. It further creates difficulties in communication. And wide span decreases the quality of supervision because the number of subordinates are large that reduces the required time of every subordinate which further affects supervision. Large number of subordinates also deviate from the objectives of policies.

After discussing difference between wide and narrow span we will discuss some factors that determine the feasibility of span of management for a particular type of situation, first is time required to be spent on supervision which explains that every manager has to do their own work, apart from the supervision they have to do administrative work, policy making, and contact to customers. After doing all his work then he supervise the work of his subordinates. Size of the span depends upon the time taken by the managers in doing the administrative task, more the time will be, less will be the span of management.

Second is subordinate training, if the subordinates is trained then span will be wider as they can manage more subordinates at a time. But it is difficult to trained at higher level because manager is not able to know what to teach and how to teach, at the lower level it is comparatively simple.

Third is delegation of authority it states that if the subordinates have authority to carry out the sufficient task and are well trained will increase the span and the subordinates who don’t have any authority then they will take much time of his superior and will reduces the span.

Fourth is degree of decentralization includes that if the superior have to take all decisions by himself then the span will be narrow. On the other hand, if the organization is decentralized then managers are relieved from the burden of decision that leads to widening the span.

Fifth is similarity of functions supervised, it means that if the functions that are supervised by the manager are of repetitive in nature then he will become familiar with jobs and increases the span and if the work changes regularly or complex in nature then it needs more time of the superior which reduces the span of management.