CASE LSE RSS Email Twitter Facebook

Abstract for:

Span of Control and Span of Activity

Oriana Bandiera,  Andrea Prat,  Raffaella Sadun,  Julie Wulf,  April 2012
Paper No' CEPDP1139: Full paper (pdf)
Tags: management; firms; ceo; productivity; firm activities

Abstract:

For both practitioners and researchers, span of control plays an important role in defining and understanding the role of the CEO. In this paper, we combine organizational chart information for a sample of 65 companies with detailed data on how their CEOs allocate their work time, which we define as their span of activity. Span of activity provides a direct measure of the CEO’s management style, including the attention devoted to specific subordinates and functions, the time devoted to individual work and outside constituencies, a preference for multilateral or bilateral interaction, the degree of planning, etc. We find that CEOs with a larger number of reports spend more time with subordinates, more time on large meetings, less time on unplanned activities. The presence of a delegate, such as the COO, allows the CEO to reduce the time spent with insiders and to focus on bilateral and unplanned activities. These results suggest that time-use information is helpful in interpreting how span of control determines management style.