Span of Control

Posted on December 16, 2009 by


The Span of Control is the number of people for whom a supervisor is responsible. This metric is most relevant in hierarchical organizations, and in fact was originally a military concept. Simply put, if a manager has five people reporting to her, her Span of Control is five. What is the optimum Span of Control? It will vary by situation, including the tasks being performed and characteristics of both the supervisor and workers. Is the supervisor watching everything that everyone does, or does the supervisor mainly answer questions or solve problems as they arise? Is one worker taking an inordinate amount of the supervisor’s time? What have you found to be a good Span of Control in your position?