Several management principles can be used as guidelines when designing an organizational
structure. Although there are many principles to consider, the focus here is on unity of
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command, division of work, span of control, and the scalar principle. These principles are
applicable to small businesses although, as has been said earlier, they should not be seen as
etched in stone. They can be modified or ignored altogether depending on the business, the
situation at hand, and the experience of management.
Unity of Command
Unity of command means that no subordinate has more than one boss. Each person in a
business should know who gives him or her the authority to make decisions and do the job.
Having conflicting orders from multiple bosses will create confusion and frustration about
which order to follow and result in contradictory instructions. In addition, violating the unity
of command will undermine authority, divide loyalty, and create a situation in which
responsibilities can be evaded and work efforts will be duplicated and overlapping. Abiding by
the unity of command will provide discipline, stability, and order, with a harmonious
relationship—relatively speaking, of course—between superior and subordinate. Unity of
command makes the most sense for everyone, but it is violated on a regular basis.