What are the benefits of having a large span of control within an Organisation?

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Importance Of Span of Control & Organizational Structure

Published On: December 2nd, 2015

What is Span of Control And Organizational Structure?

It is very important to understand span of control and organizational structure when describing an organization. Simply, span of control refers to the number of subordinates under a manager’s direct control. As an example, a manager with five direct reports has a span of control of five. Span of control is a good metric to assess the efficiency of an organization, as long as it looked at in the context of the company’s organizational structure.

What are the benefits of having a large span of control within an Organisation?

An executive team structure with a ‘narrow’ span of control

How many direct reports should a manager have?

Is there an optimal number? What needs to be considered is the nature of the work subordinates are performing and how much attention each requires. For example, the span of control can be over 100, while executive functions with high degrees of collaboration and interaction might productively tolerate no more than three or four. So the nature of the work being performed, and how much attention it requires should govern the assignment of personnel to a manager, not some industry ideal goal.

What are the benefits of having a large span of control within an Organisation?

Call center organization showing a ‘wide’ span of control

Expanding On the Concept of Span of Control

While we are addressing span of control, let’s also broaden our understanding to see it in the context of the organizational levels of hierarchy.

Width: Organization structures can be described as wide (with a larger span of control) or narrow (with a smaller span of control.)

Height: As there are levels of management, or hierarchy, an organization may be tall (with many levels) or flat (with fewer levels.)

Flat organizations have a ‘wide’ span of control and Tall organizations have a ‘narrow’ span of control.  While there are pros and cons with both tall and flat structures, a company’s structure must be designed to suit the business (the customer and markets) and in a way that fits with the workforce’s capability.

What are the benefits of having a large span of control within an Organisation?

A tall vs. flat organizational structure

Characteristics of a Flat Organizational Structure (Wide Span of Control)


  • Encourages delegation.  Managers must better delegate to handle larger numbers of subordinates, and grant opportunities for subordinates to take on responsibilities
  • Agile.  Improves communication speed and quality
  • Reduces costs. More cost effective because of fewer levels, thus requiring fewer managers
  • Helps prevent the workforce from disengaging by focusing on empowerment, autonomy and self-direction


  • High managerial workload comes with high span of control
  • Role confusion more likely
  • May cultivate distrust of management

Characteristics of a Tall Organizational Structure (Narrow Span of Control)


  • More rapid communication between small teams
  • Groups are smaller and easier to control/manage
  • There’s a greater degree of specialization and division of labor
  • More and better opportunities for employee promotion


  • Communication can take too long, hampering decision-making
  • Silos may develop and prevent cross-functional problem solving
  • Employees may feel lost and powerless

What are the benefits of having a large span of control within an Organisation?

As you can see, an organization’s structure dictates the span of control assigned to managers. Whether you choose a ‘tall’ or ‘flat’  structure should depend on the business and how to best serve customers. While each structure has its pros and cons the best way for you to model and visualize the organization is with OrgChart. OrgChart gives you the ability to model and visualize the organization and automate the process.

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What are the benefits of having a large span of control within an Organisation?

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What are the benefits of having a large span of control within an Organisation?

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Why is span of control important within an organization?

By increasing the span of control for managers who could or should take on more, you can actually decrease the amount of micromanagement in the organization, creating more autonomy, faster decision making, and more professional development for team members.

What are the benefits of control in an organization?

A control management system is working if it:.
Assists in achieving organizational goals..
Minimizes errors..
Utilizes and distributes resources effectively..
Evaluates the accuracy of standards..
Instils discipline and order..
Motivates employees and boosts morale..
Ensures future planning by revising standards..

What would a high span of control mean for an organization?

In management, a wide span of control means that the manager has many direct reports. Supervisors in a wide span of management are able to effectively oversee several employees at once. Having a wide span or a higher span of control means fewer managers are needed overall in the organization.

What is a large span of control?

A wide span of control means a single manager or supervisor oversees a large number of subordinates. A manager with a wide span of control may successfully monitor and control a big number of people at the same time.