Authority: Span of Control


Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about authority: span of control. Enjoy the class!

Authority: Span of Control

Authority: Span of Control


  1. Meaning of Authority
  2. Delegation of Authority
  3. Span of Control
  4. Definition of Marketing
  5. Functions of Marketing


Authority is defined as the right to give orders or command (directive) and enforce compliance (obedience) to the order. Authority may be used directly or delegated.

Delegation of authority

This is a practice whereby decision-making powers and authority to handle a particular assignment is transferred to a subordinate by a superior officer. The superior will however assume responsibility for the success or failure of the task undertaken by the subordinate.

Advantages of the delegation of authority
  1. It reduces the workload of the superior officer.
  2. It prepares or trains the subordinate for higher responsibilities.
  3. It quickens decision making.
  4. It helps in motivating and boosting the morale of subordinates.
  5. It enhances speedy execution of jobs.
  6. It enhances communication flow within the organization.
  7. It makes smooth succession possible – the subordinates are adequately prepared to take over in case the superior suddenly retires, dies or is transferred.
  8. It can lead to a cordial relationship between subordinates and the superior.
  9. It develops the subordinate’s managerial skills.


  1. What is delegation of authority?
  2. State five advantages of delegation of authority.
Disadvantages of delegation of authority
  1. Delegated power may be abused or misused by subordinates.
  2. It leads to duplication of efforts at a different level of the organization.
  3. There is a risk that the subordinate may make costly mistakes.
  4. It may encourage superior officers to abandon or dodge their responsibilities.
  5. The temporary nature of delegated powers may make it unappealing to subordinates.
  6. It may lead to confusion and conflict within the organization e.g. charges of favouritism of particular staff, role conflicts – i.e. where the subordinate performs better than the superior officer.
  7. Delegation may affect the quality of the job, especially where the subordinate is less experienced.

Span of control

This refers to the number of subordinates a manager can effectively control or the number of subordinates working with a superior officer.

Factors determining the span of control
  1. The nature of the work.
  2. The ability of the manager/supervisor/superior officer.
  3. The extent of training given to the subordinates.
  4. The number of subordinates available for work.
  5. The size of the organization.
  6. The structure of the organization (e.g. the extent of departmentalization)
General evaluation
  1. State four reasons why a manager may be reluctant/or refuse to delegate authority.
  2. List five disadvantages of delegation of authority.

Reading assignment

Essential Commerce for senior secondary schools by O. A. Longe. Pages 292-300; 251-256.


  1. State five factors that determine span of control.
  2. Define the following terms.
  • Authority
  • Responsibility


In our next class, we will be talking about Nationalization.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

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