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In the News

Apple - Is Tim Cook's Span of Control Getting Too Wide?

How wide should a CEO's span of control be? How many senior managers should report directly to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple. This recent article suggests that Tim's span of control is growing and might now be too wide?

The author of the article has taken a look at the executive profiles on the Apple website and identified senior executives who appear to report directly to the CEO. The total is 17 - which sounds pretty high and perhaps suggests a fairly flat hierarchy at the top of Apple.

It is often thought that there is an effective span of control of between 6-12 for a manager or executive.

A narrow span of control can require more layers in the hierarchy but perhaps enables greater supervision, collaboration and better communication.

A wide span of control potentially makes it harder to communicate (the article highlights the issues that might arise for Tim Cook in meetings) but gives those executives more scope for independent decision-making.

Of course we don't really know what Tim Cook's real span of control is.

And when you consider whether 17 is too wide, you might consider Apple's record of new product innovation and profitability under Tim Cook. I doubt shareholders are too concerned.

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