Most Departments’ Spans of Control and Number of Organizational Layers Do Not Meet Recommended Levels (December 2016)

Spans of control refer to the number of positions a supervisor oversees. Organizational layers refer to the number of levels in an organization. To justify the added costs of management positions, each manager should oversee a sufficient number of subordinates. In the 1990s, the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) recommended an overall statewide minimum span of control ratio of 1:8 and a maximum of seven organizational layers. The Program Evaluation Division found that, at present, only 1 of 21 principal state departments meets the recommended span ratio and 10 departments have more than the recommended number of layers. The executive offices of state departments consist of 237 positions, which on average supervise approximately six positions. PED also found OSBM and the Office of State Human Resources (OSHR) provide limited guidance on structuring departments. The General Assembly should direct OSHR to monitor spans and layers on an ongoing basis and direct OSBM to conduct studies of these topics every five years; these studies could be used as the basis for requiring departments to justify deviations from statewide benchmarks.

Final Report (Updated March 26, 2018)

Executive Summary

March 26, 2018 Presentation


Relevant Legislation:

  • House Bill 1033/Senate Bill 774 (2017–18): An act to establish a process for monitoring spans of control and organizational layers within state agencies, as recommended by the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee. This legislation was not enacted.