Span of control

The span of control refers to the average number of people managed by each supervisor in a business. The span of control tends to be quite broad when jobs are routine and highly regimented, such as a production line. Conversely, the span of control is narrower when the nature of the work is highly complex and varies substantially from day to day. A highly efficient organization strives to achieve a broader span of control, since doing so requires the employment of fewer managers. A strongly hierarchical organizational structure tends to require a narrower span of control, since the organization is controlled more rigidly. The concept is less important when non-hierarchical organizational structures are used within a business, such as cross-functional teams.

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