Span of control
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Span of control is the term now used more commonly in business management, particularly human resource management. Span of control refers to the number of subordinates a supervisor has.
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- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- The purposes of functional charts is
- 1. to get an overall picture of the existing organizational structure
- 2. discover organizational weaknesses such as:
- a. confused lines of authority and responsibility
- b. duplication of functions
- c. inefficient allocation of personnel
- d. too extended a span of control...
- Civil Service Commission, Division of Training (1943) Guide To Municipal Functional Organization Charts. New York City, p. 10 ; Cited in: John J. Unterkofler (1954; p. 19).
G - L
- If a man divides the whole of his work into two branches and delegates his responsibility, freely and properly, to two experienced heads of branches he will not have enough to do. The occasions when they would have to refer to him would be too few to keep him fully occupied. If he delegates to three heads he will be kept fairly busy whilst six heads of branches will give most bosses a ten hours' day. Those data are the results of centuries of the experiences of soldiers.
M - R
- Formal theories of organization have been taught in management courses for many years, and there is an extensive literature on the subject. The textbook principles of organization — hierarchical structure, authority, unity of command, task specialization, division of staff and line, span of control, equality of responsibility and authority, etc. — comprise a logically persuasive set of assumptions which have had a profound influence upon managerial behavior.
- Douglas McGregor (1960), The Human Side of Enterprise; p. 15. Annotated Edition, 2006, p. 21.
S - Z
- There is nothing which rots morale more quickly and more completely than poor communication and indecisiveness - the feeling that those in authority do not know their own minds. And there is no condition which more quickly produces a sense of indecision among subordinates or more effectively hampers communication than being responsible to a superior who has too wide a span of control.
- Lyndall Fownes Urwick, The pattern of management. University of Minnesota Press, 1956. p. 43
- The number of levels of authority in the management hierarchy increased with technical complexity, while the span of control of the first-line supervisor decreased.
- Joan Woodward, Management and technology, Problems of Progress Industry, Series no. 3. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1958. p. 16