As explained above, the traditional theory of management was much concerned with the specific number of subordinates that could be supervised by a manager.
Classical Thinking on Span
As explained above, the
traditional theory of management was much concerned with the specific number of
subordinates that could be supervised by a manager. For instance, Lyndall
Urwick suggests that no executive should attempt to supervise directly more
than five. Different thinkers suggested different spans both at the top and
lower levels of organization.
The contribution of V.A.
Graicunas was however, significant to the span of management theory. According
to him, in selecting a span managers should consider not only the direct
one-to-one relationship with their subordinates, but also two other kinds of
relationships, namely, direct group relationships and cross-relationships. As
such, if A has two subordinate B and C, the following relationships would
Direct one-to-one relationships: These relationships relate the superior directly with his
subordinates, A in this case will have two direct relationships with B and C,
viz., A to B and A to C.
Direct Group relationships: This refers to the relationships of superior with the various possible
combinations of subordinates. In the above example, A may interact with B in
the presence of C or with C in the presence of B. Graicunas argues that though
the individuals are same, the two situations have different implications.
Cross – relationships: This type of relationships is created when subordinates consult one
another. In our example, the two cross relationships are B with C and C with B.
Graicunas gave a formula to ascertain the number of all the three kinds of
relationships: n stands for the number of
subordinates. One can easily ascertain how the number of relationships
increases as the number of subordinates rises by applying this formula. With four subordinates, the total
relationships go up to 44, with five subordinates to 100, with six subordinates
to 222, and with 10 subordinates to 5,210. Though Graicunas formula explains
the complexities involved as the number of subordinates increase, it suffers
from the following inadequacies. -- The formula ignores the frequency and importance of relationships,
and-- Several other factors which have a bearing on the superior
subordinate relationships have not been taken into consideration.
Tags : Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Organisation Structure And Design
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