- Project Title:
- Supervisory Span of Control - Southern Area
- Start Date:
- Thursday, February 2, 2017
- Estimated Report Release Date:
- July 2017
Managers and supervisors provide oversight at post offices and stations. Title 39, U.S.C. §101 Part 1, Chapter 1, states; the Postal Service “. . . shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas . . .”
In addition, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 highlights the need for the Postal Service to increase its efficiency and reduce its costs, including infrastructure costs, to help maintain a high quality, affordable organization. Span of control is an important factor to consider in the Postal Service cost reduction efforts.
Span of control is defined as the number of subordinates in an organization who report directly to one supervisor. A small number of direct reports will create a narrow span of control, which can allow managers more time with direct reports, and tends to spark professional growth and advancement. It can also have a negative impact, because managers can become too involved with direct reports, which can reduce innovation and morale.
In contrast, a large number of direct reports will create a wide span of control. This approach forces managers to develop clear goals, delegate effectively and increase the number of interactions between managers. Employees may take on more responsibilities and have higher morale with a wider span of control. However, managers can become overwhelmed, because they become overloaded with work, have trouble making decisions and lose control over their subordinates.
The Postal Service does not have a defined span of control for delivery operations. Span of control for delivery operations is analyzed using a Supervisor Workload Credit (SWC) Worksheet. SWCs identify the number of supervisors, Customer Service Executive Administration and Schedule (EAS-17) authorized at each post office and carrier station and are measured on a facility by facility basis.
The primary measure used is the number and type of employees supervised. The calculation of SWCs includes only those employees on the rolls of the post office, including temporary employees occupying a position authorized to be filled. Vacant positions that are authorized to be filled should also be included in the SWC calculation, if they are not covered by temporary employees.
- Should the Postal Service have a defined span of control for delivery operations?
- What factors should determine the number of subordinates that can be effectively managed by one supervisor?
- What are other advantages or disadvantages of having a defined span of control within an organization?