Span of Control Can Impact Public Works Efficiency

2013 APWA Annual Meeting and Trade Show



Span of Control Can Impact Public Works Efficiency

In today’s economy, revisiting a key management tool – span of control – is paramount. Span of control is defined as the number of people a manager can supervise effectively, and can be broadly categorized as either narrow or wide. The span of control and layers of management in an organization help determine the way public works operations assign tasks to employees. Improvement in work flow can often be impacted by these factors. A literature research will be included in presentation on use of this tool.

Determining the optimal span of control in an organization is significant providing a source of work flow optimization.  Moving toward that goal will improve the morale of both management and staff further empowering both to more effectively reach their own potential.

This presentation will identify the different categories associated with the span of control, affecting factors, impact and applicable concepts.   Further relationship between span of control and management levels will be discussed.

Learn what other agencies have experienced from changes in their organizations and identify the value of establishing the appropriate span of control for your agency and staff.

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize the span of control within an agency and be aware of relationship to management levels and efficiency

  • Discuss the factors that effect of the span of control including new technologies and how they may apply to an agency

Apply general management concepts to identify appropriate span of control within their agency.



Joyce Lorick
Vice Principal, LA Consulting, Inc., Manhattan Beach, California

Jeff Thurman
Consultant, LA Consulting, Inc., Manhattan Beach, California


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