Why Do Businesses Use And Organisation Chart And What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Having A Narrow Span Of Control?


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An organizational chart (often called organization chart, organigram(me), or organogram(me)) is a diagram that shows the structure of an organization and the relationships and relative ranks of its parts and positions/jobs. The term is also used for similar diagrams, for example ones showing the different elements of a field of knowledge or a group of languages
An organizational chart of a company usually shows the managers and sub-workers who make up an organization. It also shows the relationships between the organization's staff members which can be one of the following:

  • Line - direct relationship between superior and subordinate.
  • Lateral - relationship between different departments on the same hierarchical level.
  • Staff - relationship between a managerial assistant and other areas. The assistant will be able to offer advice to a line manager. However, they have no authority over the line manager actions.
  • Functional[1] - relationships between specialist positions and other areas. The specialist will normally have authority to insist that a line manager implements any of their instructions.

In many large companies the organization chart can be large and incredibly complicated and is therefore sometimes dissected into smaller charts for each individual department within the organization.
There are three different types of organization charts:

  • Hierarchical
  • Matrix
  • Flat


  • Limitations of an organizational chart
    There are several limitations with organizational charts:

    • If performed manually, for example when using manual software such as Microsoft Visio or Powerpoint, org charts will very quickly become out-of-date, especially in large organizations which change their staff regularly.


    • It only shows 'formal relationships' and tells nothing of the pattern of human (social) relationships which develop.


    • When starting a business, or when changing from one organizational structure to another, it's appropriate that owners consider advantages and disadvantages of each structure in meeting business, personal and family goals.
    • The best structure for one type of business may not be the best for another. The best structure for a new business may not be suitable as the business expands.

    In some cases, an organigraph may be more appropriate, particularly if one wants to show non-linear, non-hierarchical relationships in an organization.
  • ------
  •   The advantages of a narrow span of control are:
  • A narrow span of control allows a manager to communicate quickly with the employees under them and control them more easily.
  • Feedback of ideas from the workers will be more effective.
  • It requires a higher level of management skill to control a greater number of employees, so there is less management skill required.
  ------  What do you think is more efficient – a wide or narrow span of control? Support your decision.  Span of control is an important subject of early management writers. Early writers preferred narrow spans, while later wider spans seem to be a more popular view. Let’s investigate the reasons behind these two different stand points.    Span of control is the number of subordinates a manager can direct efficiently and effectively (Robbins and Decenzo 143). Narrow span of control traditionally means 20 people per supervisor, and 6 supervisors per manager. Some firms however have a 75:1 ratio. This hierarchy assumes coordination within a firm through supervision. Wider span of control is possible where subordinates do some tasks, and it is possible to standardize work process, or the tasks are routine. Average span of control determines the number of hierarchical levels. A tall structure has many hierarchical levels, and a narrow span of control. A flat structure has a wide span of control, and fewer hierarchical levels. Today many companies are moving toward a flatter or delayered structure which results in higher productivity by cutting overhead costs, and consistent with trend toward involvement. 1 The span for managers of some major companies has expanded greatly in the last decades. The more training and experience employees have the less direct supervision they need. Therefore managers who have knowledgeable and experienced workers can function with a wider span.    Back in the days, when business was more predictable and stable, companies organized themselves in vertical structures to take advantage of specialized experts, and where everyone has a place and everyone understands his/her task. It is difficult however in these types of organizations for the individuals to understand the task of the company as a whole and how to relate their work to it. Global competition and the ever increasing speed of technological change have since altered the rules of old business principles.    These changes have forced corporate decision makers to find a new solution. To change the fundamental way of how an organizations work it is necessary to adopt a whole new model, the horizontal organization. Already some of the biggest American corporations are mowing toward the adoption of this new idea; Dupont, Motorola, and General Electric are among the first ones. Some of these changes have been under way for several years, but the trend toward flatter organizations, and managing across rather than up and down are becoming more and more critical. A horizontal organization eliminates both hierarchy and departmental boundaries. Virtually everyone in the organization would work together in multidisciplinary teams that perform core processes, such as product development and sales. Self-managing teams would become the building blocks of an organization. Performance objectives would be linked to customer satisfaction rather than profitability. A horizontal structure eliminates most unnecessary task and focuses almost all of the company’s resources on customers. The early proponents of horizontal organization are claiming significant gains. At General Electric Co., the concept has reduced costs, shortened cycle times and increased the company’s responsiveness to its customers. The senior leadership stays away from day-to-day activities, which are managed by the teams themselves. Employees are paid on the basis of the skill they developed rather than merely on the individual work they perform.2    The span of control however depends on many other contingency variables and we shouldn’t generalize, because what might work for one company or one organizational level might not stand true for others. It is very important therefore to evaluate each one individually, and decide whether a narrower or wider span of structure is more appropriate. We can say in general however that the trend we witness in today’s business practices is the movement toward a wider, more horizontal organizational structure in order to be able to faster adapt to the ever-changing environment.
thanked the writer.
lisa m
lisa m commented
Does the organistaion chart also show how information is passed in a hierachy?

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