Commerce Notes

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.


  1. It reduces the work load 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 incase the superior suddenly retires, dies or it transferred.
  8. It can lead to 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.


  1. Delegated power may be abused or misused by subordinates.
  2. It leads to duplication of efforts at different level of the organization.
  3. There is 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 favoritism of particular staff, role conflicts – i.e. where the subordinate performs better than the superior officer.
  7. Delegation may affect the quality of job especially where the subordinate is less experienced.


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. Extent of training given to the subordinates.
  4. Number of subordinates available for work.
  5. The size of the organization.
  6. The structure of the organization (e.g. the extent of departmentalization)


  1. State four reasons why a manager may be reluctant/or refuse to delegate authority.
  2. List five disadvantages of delegation of authority.


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


  1. The number of subordinates that a manager can effectively supervise at a particular time is known as ___ (a) authority(b) delegation(c) span of control(d) responsibility
  2. The principle of span of control stipulates that ___ (a) an employee should report to only one superior (b) managers must demand accountability from their subordinates   (c) resources have to be economized within the various divisions (d) the number of employees reporting to one superior should be kept to a workable maximum
  3. The direct authority of a superior over his subordinate is known as ______ authority. (a) staff (b) line (c) line and staff    (d) lateral
  4. Staff position in an organization borders on ___ (a) authority(b) advice (c) responsibility (d) control
  5. The process of dividing tasks into jobs and departments and of delegating authority is known as ___ (a) leading (b) directing(c) organizing (d) staffing


  1. Define the following terms.

            (i)         Authority

            (ii)        Responsibility

  1. State five factors that determines span of control.

Click here to ask a question and get an answer published in the forum. Read our disclaimer.

Get paid for every topic you create in: Forum!MAKE-MONEY

Discover more from StopLearn

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading