Chapter 11: THEORY OF
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.
- Avoid confusion, manipulation and conflicts.
- Subordinate can evade orders by playing one superior
against the other and undermine organizational purpose.
- 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
- Instead dual supervision [Technical, administrative] is
- 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.
- 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.
- Plural headed boards and commissions instead of single
authority in complex governments.
- 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.
- Span of control is limited due to limits in human
capacity and attention.
- The number of subordinates reporting increases
mathematically but potential relationships geometrically.
- Shorter span is more effective and direct control.
- Limited span of control can lead to detailed supervision
and failure to stimulate people to use their capacities.
Factors determining span of control:
- 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.
- Time: Old organizations where things
have stabilized will have more span of control.
- Work: If all subjects are involved in same kind of work,
- Space: Superior and subordinates are in same room then
- Personality: If superior is intelligent, energetic,
tactful and subordinate is trained and experienced the SoC
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.