Factors affecting span of management

Factors affecting span of management

The basic idea behind limiting the span is to enable a manager to manage his subordinates effectively. As such, the important determinant for specifying the span of management is the manager's ability to reduce the frequency and time impact of superior subordinate relationships. This ability, in turn is affected by several factors. Therefore, such factors are quite important in determining the suitable span of management. Following of such factors:

1.       Capacity of subordinates: each manager has different ability and capacity in respect of such factors as leadership, communication, decision making, control, etc, affecting management of subordinates. Managers having more capacity in respect of these factors can manage more number of subordinates in the similar situation. Moreover, the attitudes and personality factors of the manager also determine his span of management.

2.       Capacity of subordinates: Capacity of subordinates also affects the degree of span of the management. Efficient and trained subordinates may discharge their functions more efficiency without much help of their superior. They may just need broad guidelines and rest of the things can be performed by them. In such cases, they require lesser time from their superior who will be in a position to manage larger number of subordinates. Similarly, if there is not frequent changes in subordinates, span can be wider.

3.       Nature of work: Nature of work affects degree of span of the management because different types of work require different pattern of management and hence time from superior. If the subordinates are performing similar functions, they require less attention of their superior and span can be wider.

4.       Degree of decentralization: Degree of centralization or centralization affects span of management by affecting the degree of involvement of the superior in the decision making process. Thus higher is the Degree of decentralization; higher is the degree of span. If a manager clearly delegates his authority and defines it fully, he requires less time to devote to manager his subordinates because most of the action will be taken by the subordinates on their view.

5.       Degree of planning: higher is the degree of plans, particularly standing plans clearly providing rules, procedures, methods, etc, in doing the work; higher would be the degree of span of management. In such cases, the subordinates can take actions on the own. On the other hand if, they have to draw their own plans, they may not know what exactly they have to do and they may require more time for guidelines and consultation.

6.       Communication techniques: the pattern of communication, its means, and media effects the time requirement in managing subordinates and consequently span of management. If communication is mostly face to face, it requires more time on the part of the both superior and subordinates. On the other hand, communication with staff assistant and through the use of modern communication tools like electronic devices will save lot of time and span can be increased.

Use of staff assistance: Use of staff assistance in reducing the work load of managers enables them to manage more number of subordinates. Many of the managerial functions can be discharged by these staff personnel on behalf of the managers. They can collect information, process communication, and issue orders and instructions on behalf of their superior -this process saves time of managers and the degree of span can be increased. 

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