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J Nurs Adm. 2004 Sep;34(9):395-9.

Span of control matters.

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  • 1Nursing Administration, Fairview-University Medical Center, 2450 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA.


Prompted by manager concerns about span of control, a large, integrated health system set out to determine if span of control really mattered. Was there something to it, or was it just an excuse for poor performance? A team of middle managers studied the problem and ultimately demonstrated a strong relationship between span of control and employee engagement. Consequently, it was decided to add 4 management positions to note the effect. One year later, positive changes were observed in employee engagement scores in all 4 areas. This study suggests careful review of manager spans of control to address the untoward effects of large spans of control on employee engagement.

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