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Assessing Your Organizational Span of Control. State Classification Office, September 2003. Changes in the Workforce. Workers are more independent and collaborative There is a greater focus on individual worker performance and less on supervision

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assessing your organizational span of control

Assessing Your Organizational Span of Control

State Classification Office, September 2003

changes in the workforce
Changes in the Workforce
  • Workers are more independent and collaborative
  • There is a greater focus on individual worker performance and less on supervision
  • Streamlining in organizations has reduced the number of supervisors and managers
  • Role of supervisors has changed from “control” to “support”
changes in organizations
Changes in Organizations

Cross-functional teams

Cross-hierarchy teams

Free flow of information

Wide spans of control


High specialization

Rigid departments

Clean chains of command

Narrow spans of control


changes in the state
Changes in the State
  • In 1995, the Legislature enacted provisions to limit growth in employment levels
  • Although agencies trimmed budgets, many did not streamline their structures, improve processes or reduce excessive management
  • Texas Government Code 651.004 was enacted and required agencies to establish goals for achieving a higher management-to-staff ratio
  • 78th Legislative Session amended the code to include a mandated time line for agencies to achieve a 1:11 management-to-staff ratio
legislative timeline
Legislative Timeline
  • HB 3442 amends Gov. Code 651.004 and mandates that state agencies in the executive branch of government with 100FTEs comply with the 1:11 ratio by FY 2008.
span of control
Span of Control
  • Legislative changes in Texas are intended to increase span of control in agencies
  • Span of control refers to the number of subordinates who report directly to a single manager or supervisor
  • High span of control has a direct link to:
    • Greater employee empowerment
    • Faster decision making processes
    • Improved communications
    • Greater organizational flexibility
    • Reduced personnel and overhead costs
    • Increased delegation resulting in improved job satisfaction
factors that influence span of control
Factors that Influence Span of Control
  • Job complexity
    • More complex jobs = more managerial input
  • Job similarity
    • Similar jobs = more employees per manager
  • Geographic proximity of employees
    • Dispersed locations = more supervision
  • Amount of coordination to complete tasks
    • High coordination = more supervision
factors that influence span of control8
Factors that Influence Span of Control
  • Employee abilities
    • Knowledgeable, trained staff = less supervision
  • Employee empowerment
    • Employees who are trusted and empowered to make decisions need less supervision
  • Ability of management
    • More capable management = more employees per manager
organizational factors supporting narrow span of control
Organizational Factors Supporting Narrow Span of Control
  • High levels of diversity and complexity of work performed by an organization
  • The extent to which coordination and interdependence is important between employees and groups
  • Large amounts of change in the work environment
  • Greater geographic dispersion
  • Large administrative burdens
  • High employee expectations and needs regarding development and career counseling.
organizational factors supporting large span of control
Organizational Factors Supporting Large Span of Control
  • Experienced people who are well selected and developed
  • Employees who can function with little supervision and monitor their own performance
  • Job design and tools that give employees direct performance feedback
  • Success of self managed teams
how to ensure your organization is in compliance with new legislation
How to Ensure your Organization is in Compliance with New Legislation
  • Assess your organizational structure
  • Ensure that management is actively involved
  • Review agency ratios
  • Accurately analyze managerial jobs and positions
  • Develop plans to change ratios if needed
  • Report ratios timely to the State Auditor’s Office
before you begin
Before You Begin
  • Review agency workforce and strategic plans.
  • Clarify the purpose, objectives and priorities for your headquarters or main offices.
  • Establish “ground rules” for layers within your agency.
  • Link these rules to your agency’s objectives.
  • Gather organizational charts for all programs and divisions.
  • Focusing on cutting to a plan, not a specific number…but try to stay lean
where to start
Where to Start
  • Review organizational charts.
  • Consider using analytical tools.
  • Identify employees who supervise a limited number of employees (1-3).
  • Identify groups of professional employees who could work in self-managed teams.
  • Identify “technical” supervisors who could be reassigned to team leader positions.
1 review organizational charts
1. Review Organizational Charts
  • Count the total number of layers from the lowest individual contributor to the Executive Director.
    • Individual contributors (do not supervise but may act as team leader)
    • Supervisors (Include first line, second line, etc.)
    • Managers (Include first level, second level, etc.)
    • Executive or Agency Head
  • Target range should be 4-6 layers, smaller agencies (less than 500 employees) should have fewer layers.
2 use analytical tools
2. Use Analytical Tools
  • Activity analysis
    • Can be performed to understand how much time middle managers actually spend on management and supervisory activities.
  • Decision/responsibility matrices
    • Can be developed to understand who is responsible for making decisions and what positions have overlapping or redundant responsibilities.
  • Conceptual maps
    • Indicate what functions and services are helpful in order to identify duplicate services.
3 identify employees who supervise a limited number of employees
Consider these questions?

Can those employees being supervised be moved under another supervisor?

Can the current supervisor be a team leader?

If that position were to not supervise would it be needed?

Have you performed a job analysis (activity analysis) on the supervisory positions?

What value does this position create? Management and supervisory positions that do not add value commensurate with their costs should be eliminated or restructured.

3. Identify Employees Who Supervise a Limited Number of Employees
4 identify employees who can work in self managed teams
4. Identify Employees who can Work in Self-Managed Teams
  • Work teams have replaced traditional management
    • Results may include dramatically increasing productivity
    • The quality of work life is often enhanced for employees.
  • Highly developed teams can control functions once reserved for management
    • Designing work processes
    • Establishing production schedules
    • Setting goals and performance measures
    • Maintaining quality control.
5 identify technical supervisors
5. Identify “Technical” Supervisors
  • Consider these questions:
    • Do these employees work in high level technical or very specialized jobs?
    • Does the employee need to write performance evaluations or have the authority to hire and fire?
    • Can the employee oversee work assignments and work more as a team leader?
    • Can supervisory duties be taken from the job without substantially reducing the employee’s workload?
before you restructure
Before You Restructure
  • Remember:
    • Management support is critical
    • Successful restructuring complements organizational strategies
    • Organizational culture plays a big role
    • There are no “quick” fixes
  • Restructuring processes should include:
    • Project planning
    • Data collection
    • Structural analysis
    • Staffing needs analysis
    • Span of control analysis
    • Development of recommendations
additional tips
Additional Tips
  • With regard to spans of control the complexity of the functions being performed is the primary determinant of the number of positions that can be effectively supervised
  • Work process reengineering can create radical change and result in improved performance and reduced cost
  • When evaluating organizational structure it is extremely important to consider all the factors that affect your organization and to consider what “non-organizational” changes might be implemented both to improve operations and to reduce management and supervisory needs.