How to Define Span of Control

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Span of Control: How many people answer to whom?

Span of control definition

Span of control refers to the number of subordinates a supervisor has.

With current companies using Project Management methods and cross-functional teams, the definition of span of control constantly evolving; computers and other technology can assist supervisor with larger groups.

It is not as easy to determine the best span of control. To have supervisor with 10 or less subordinates answering to him or her is a comfortable number for most people. If the number gets to be too many, it can cause burnout or poor functioning within teams. Open communication with your managers will determine the best span of control for him or her.

The US Military has done many studies on span of control.

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