Span of Management: Meaning, Factors and Theory
His theory identifies the relationship prevailing between the superior and Division Graicunas theory of span of management The relationships are Relationship • In cross relationship, a subordinate has relationship with. Graicunas thought the theoretical evidence in favor of limiting the span of control was a = number of direct single relationships (superior to subordinate). concept in classical, neo-classical or modern administrative theories. KEY WORDS: Delayering, Graicunas‟s Formula, Narrow Span of Control, Span of . availability of staff services; economic restrictions; superior-subordinates relationship;.
For one thing, he cited the limited span of attention, which was then exemplified by research suggesting people could deal with no more than six digits. Graicunas also pointed to what he saw as an error in thinking, namely, that the relationships to be managed consisted only of those between the superior and individual subordinates.
But, as he pointed out, there were relationships between subordinates and between the superior and groups of subordinates that had to be factored in to the equation.
Graicunas summed up the prevailing view of the reason for limiting the span of control in these words: 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 p. First, of course, is the tendency of people to want to report directly to the boss, whomever that might be.
Second, is the tendency to build empires. Third is the pressure to reduce the costs of management overhead. Fourth is a commendable desire to shorten the chain of command. Fifth, extending the span of control necessarily flattens the organization and drives authority and responsibility downward, both of which are favorites of those who would democratize an organization.
Sixth, the existence in seemingly well-run organizations of spans of control larger than the five or six recommended by Graicunas and Urwick invalidates the concept of limiting the span of control.
The main thrust of Urwick's article was to counter the arguments being made against limits on the span of control. In all cases, Urwick pointed out, the benefits of flattening the organization, forcing authority and initiative downward, and reducing the overhead costs of management had to be weighed against the costs of confusion and indecision that accompany a span of control that is too broad.
Often, he claimed, the latter outweighed the former. The fundamental question, of course, was and still is how many is too many? These figures were tempered with considerations of the scope and scale of the work involved and for which the subordinate was responsible. For example, a group of six factory workers reporting to a supervisor presents a less complex problem than six division presidents reporting to the CEO of a large company.
And six presidents of completely independent divisions presents a simpler problem than six vice presidents of closely integrated divisions.
The Span of Control - the formulas of V A Graicunas
Regardless of these considerations, the number of relationships a superior must attend to rises exponentially after the fourth subordinate. Thus Graicunas cautioned any executive seeking to add a fifth directly reporting subordinate to consider the fact that this would add 20 new relationships for himself and nine for each of his current colleagues. The total number of relationships would increase by 56, going from 44 to As Graicunas noted, this was "an increase in complexity of per cent in return for a 20 per cent increase in working capacity.
Three basic kinds of relationships were described. Direct single relationships between superior and individual subordinates. Cross relationships between individual subordinates. Direct group relationships between superior and combinations of subordinates.
Meaning of Span of Management 2. Factors Affecting Span of Management 3. Meaning of Span of Management: Depending upon the complexity of organisational activities and relationships amongst superiors and subordinates, it becomes important the superiors manage an optimum number of subordinates that result in optimum organisational output. All the subordinates cannot be managed by one superior.
Span of Control: The Formulas of V. A. Graicunas
There has to be a limit on the number of subordinates who can be effectively managed by one superior. The number of subordinates that a superior can effectively supervise is known as span of management or span of control. In the 19th and middle of 20th century, management writers determined 5 or 6 as the optimum number that a manager could effectively manage at the upper level.
Beyond this number, managers faced problems like: Difficulty in coordinating the activities of large number of people. Thus, optimum number of subordinates that a manager could supervise was determinable but today, it is not so.
Exact number of employees that managers can effectively supervise cannot be defined. Span of management is situational in nature. Depending on the number of employees that can be supervised or controlled by managers, there can be two kinds of structures in the organisation: Tall structures, and I.
These structures are found in classical bureaucratic organisations. In this structure, a manager can supervise less number of subordinates. He can, therefore, exercise tight control over their activities. This creates large number of levels in the organisation.
This is also known as narrow span of control. A tall structure or a narrow span of control appears like this. Merits of a Tall Structure: Managers can closely supervise activities of the subordinates. There can be better communication amongst superiors and subordinates. It promotes personal relationships amongst superiors and subordinates. Control on subordinates can be tightened in a narrow span.
Limitations of a Tall Structure: It creates many levels in the organisation structure which complicates co-ordination amongst levels.
Graicunas Theory of Span of Control - Example and Formula ~ Money Market Account
More managers are needed to supervise the subordinates. This increases the overhead expenditure salary etc. It is, thus, a costly form of structure.
Increasing gap between top managers and workers slows the communication process. Decision-making becomes difficult because of too many levels. Superiors perform routine jobs of supervising the subordinates and have less time for strategic matters.
Employees work under strict control of superiors. Decision-making is primarily centralised. Strict control leads to low morale and job satisfaction. This can affect productivity in the long-run.
To overcome the limitations of a tall structure, many organisations reduce the number of levels in the hierarchy by downsizing the organisation. A basic rule of organisation is to build the least possible number of management levels and forge the shortest possible chains of command. These structures have a wide span of control. When superior supervises a larger number of subordinates, flat structure is created with lesser number of hierarchical levels.
A departure was made from tall structures to flat structures by James C. Worthy who was a consultant in the L. Sears, Roebuck and company.
A structure where span of control for each managerial position is 4 appears as follows: To illustrate, if organisations A and B, both have workers and the span of control for each managerial position is 2 for company A and 4 for company B, there will be 9 levels in company A requiring supervisors at the lowest level, 64 at the next higher level and so on and 5 levels in company B.
A narrow span of control creates more levels in the organisational hierarchy than the wide span of control. The levels in case of organisation B 5 where span of control is 4 appears as follows: The span of 4 prevails for each functional area at each level.
For the sake of simplicity, the figure represents the span for only one functional area and one level. Merits of a Flat Structure: There is low cost as less number of managers can supervise organisational activities.
The decision-making process is effective as superiors delegate authority to subordinates. They are relieved of routine matters and concentrate on strategic matters.
The decision-making is decentralised. Subordinates perform the work efficiently since they are considered worthy of doing so by the superiors. There is effective communication as the number of levels is less. It promotes innovative abilities of the top management. Limitations of a Flat Structure: Superiors cannot closely supervise the activities of employees. Managers may find it difficult to co-ordinate the activities of subordinates.
Subordinates have to be trained so that dilution of control does not affect organisational productivity. Both tall and flat structures have positive and negative features and it is difficult to find the exact number of subordinates that a manager can effectively manage.
Some management theorists like David D. Van Fleet and Arthur G. Bedeian assert that span of control and organisational efficiency are not related and many empirical studies have proved that span of control is situational and depends on a variety of factors. Some studies proved that flat structures produce better results as decentralised decision making has less control from the top, promotes initiative and satisfaction at work. Large number of members in a group can better solve the complex problems as group decision making is based on greater skill variety.
Other studies proved that people working in tall structures produce better results as less number of members in a group can come to consensus of opinion and evaluate their decisions more thoroughly. Group cohesiveness is high and, thus, commitment to decisions is also high. Members feel satisfied with their decisions and conflicts are reduced.