The term refers to the number of subordinates a supervising manager has or is designated to be reported to. It is important to determine the ideal span of control so as to obtain the right balance of effectiveness. A higher span of control implies fewer layers or levels of management.
This leads to quicker decision making, better communication and reduced costs. A lower span of control necessitates more layers and provides fewer opportunities for promotions. It relies on employees being self-motivated due to lesser manager input.
Factors affecting span of control include: geographical dispersion, worker capability, supervisor capability, similarity of task and volume of other tasks.