Study notes

Span of Control (GCSE)

  • Levels: GCSE
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

The span of control is the number of subordinates for whom a manager is directly responsible. The two diagrams below illustrate two different spans of control:

Wide span of control

A span of control of 7 would be considered to be quite wide.

Contrast this with a span of 3 below, which would be considered "narrow"

Narrow span of control

Is there an ideal span of control?

The answer is generally no – a suitable span of control will depend upon a number of factors:

  • The experience and personality of the manager
  • The nature of the business. If being a line manager requires a great deal of close supervision, then a narrower span might be appropriate
  • The skills and attitudes of the employees. Highly skilled, professional employees might flourish in a business adopting wide spans of control
  • The tradition and culture of the organisation. A business with a tradition of democratic management and empowered workers may operate wider spans of control

Should spans of control be wide or narrow?

Here is a summary of the relative advantages and disadvantages of each:

From the Reference Library

Teaching Vacancies


Advertise your vacancies with tutor2u

Much cheaper & more effective than TES or the Guardian. Reach the audience you really want to apply for your teaching vacancy by posting directly to our website and related social media audiences.

Find our more ›

Advertise your teaching jobs with tutor2u