Not a Member? Get access to HR news and resources that you can trust.
Standing desks and other innovative workstations can help counterbalance the negative health effects of sitting.
Is your employee handbook ready for the New Year? With SHRM’s Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Get the HR education you need without travel expenses or time out of the office.
Elevate Your Talent Strategy. Join us in Chicago, IL – April 24-26, 2017.
The number of direct reports a manager has is referred to as his or her "span of control." The ideal number of direct reports who can be managed effectively can be elusive, though research and theories do exist, most notably those of V. A. Graicunas and Luther Gulick. Although no perfect ratio likely exists, span of control is critical in understanding organizational design and the behaviors within an organization, such as the approach used to interact with employees and the effectiveness of communication between each level within an organization. Therefore, many factors will need to be evaluated before determining the best ratio within an organization.
In terms of organizational design, a small number of direct reports will create a narrow span of control and a hierarchical structure, also known as a "tall" organization. Narrow spans of control are more expensive for organizations, but they allow managers to have more time with direct reports, and they tend to spark professional growth and advancement. In contrast, a wide span of control refers to a larger number of direct reports supervised by one manager, creating a "flat" organization. This approach increases the number of interactions between the manager and his or her direct reports, which could cause managers to become overwhelmed but can also provide more autonomy.
Some key factors to review when determining the appropriate span of control within an organization include the following:
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Exam Late Application Deadline: April 14
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies