Unity of Command:

Employee should receive orders from one superior only. Thus it stands for "One boss for each person". It is a corollary of Chain of Command.


  1. Avoid confusion, manipulation and conflicts.
  2. Subordinate can evade orders by playing one superior against the other and undermine organizational purpose.


  1. In complex government situations many interrelationships exist outside the straight line of command which need working with and reporting to many people for orderly and effective performance.
  2. Instead dual supervision [Technical, administrative] is needed.
  3. One concerned professional competence in a job. Other with efficient utilization of manpower and resources for the job. However no conflicting command can be given.
  4. It conflicts with principle of specialization. Authority is put in an organization to make decisions in fields where its an expert. E.g: An accountant wont take orders from his superior in finance department regarding technical aspects of his accounting.
  5. Plural headed boards and commissions instead of single authority in complex governments.
  6. Increasing number and growing influence of staff and auxiliary agencies manned by specialists.

Span of Control

The number of subordinates or units of work that an officer can personally direct or control or supervise. Its the number of direct, habitual communication contacts between the CEO and his principal officers. Narrow span of control causes increase in levels and reverse causes decrease.


  1. Span of control is limited due to limits in human capacity and attention.
  2. The number of subordinates reporting increases mathematically but potential relationships geometrically.
  3. Shorter span is more effective and direct control.
  4. Limited span of control can lead to detailed supervision and failure to stimulate people to use their capacities.

Factors determining span of control:

  1. Function: Nature of work to be supervised. Span of control is more if work is easy, routine, mechanical, homogeneous than if it is non routine, intellectual and heterogeneous.
  2. Time: Old organizations where things have stabilized will have more span of control.
  3. Work: If all subjects are involved in same kind of work, SoC increases.
  4. Space: Superior and subordinates are in same room then more SoC.
  5. Personality: If superior is intelligent, energetic, tactful and subordinate is trained and experienced the SoC more.

SoC also depends on delegation of work, tradition, environment of organization and technique of supervision.

The whole idea of SoC has changed due to use of automation, mechanization, MIS and growing role of specialists, technicians and professionals in the service.