Wide or narrow span

Wide or narrow span

Often there is a controversy whether an organization should adopt the policy of narrow span or wide span of management. While most of the classical writers have suggested a narrow span of management, modern approach suggested a wider span of the management. This is so because the modern trends work in favour of wider span of management. A narrow span throughout an organization causes tall or vertical structure, and a wide span causes a flat or horizontal structure. The following factors have also made it possible to adopt wider span of management in modern day's organizations;

1.       Trends towards decentralization;

2.       Improved communication technology

3.       Increasing size of organization and

4.       The new pattern of leadership with the more emphasis on democratic styles.

However, despite the desirability of wider span of management, it is limited by real and important restrictions. An organization can not extend its span of management beyond certain levels. Therefore, what is more important in this context is to maintain a precise balance between wide and narrow span of management. It is apparent from the above that the narrow the spans of management, the more levels are required for smooth organization. In as much as each level is represented by the executives, it follows that the more levels there are the more executives will be introduced into the organization. The organization with either end up as a very shallow, flat, broad pyramid, as the first one, having a span of 11 subordinates, or as a tall pyramid, represented by the above only four subordinates in each of the upper span of management. This is what is meant by the terms shallow organization pyramid and tall organization pyramid. At the root of all this is the principal of span of management. 

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