As mentioned in a previous lesson, unity of command is another of the principles of administration. It is implemented when all the members of an organization follow the direction of one supervisor.
Most organizations will have more than one person managing numerous workers in various departments. This does not mean that there is no unity of command. It will still be followed so long as each member reports to a single supervisor who is in turn accountable for their performance and conduct.
This helps minimize confusion, reduce errors, and promote consistency and accountability in decision-making. It also helps ensure that all employees understand their roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations. By providing clear lines of communication and accountability, it can also help promote a positive work environment, enhance employee morale, and improve overall agency effectiveness.
Remember that no person can effectively serve two masters at the same time.
Chain of Command
This refers to the arrangement of all members of the organization from top to bottom based on rank or position and authority. It establishes obedience to all personnel by way of identifying all supervisors necessary to enforce rules and regulations.
Span of Control
It refers to the maximum number of personnel or subordinates a superior can effectively and efficiently handle. Any supervisor should not have more subordinates than they can handle, oversee, or control. Supervisors should avoid overestimating their capabilities and be willing to delegate authority to ensure effective command.
Advantages of Unity of Command
- Better relationships among superiors and subordinates
- Clear authority, responsibility, and accountability
- Reduces and/or avoid duplication of work
- Prompt or quick decisions
- Good, effective, and efficient discipline
- Better coordination and teamwork
- Boost morale and positive attitude of team members
- Leads to higher productivity of goods and services
Unity of Command in the Police Organization
In law enforcement agencies, unity of command is achieved by having one chief who is the ultimate authority responsible for the direction and control of the organization. In the PNP, this is the Chief, PNP who typically holds the rank of police general, PGEN.
This principle is essential in police organizations as it helps promote organizational efficiency, accountability, and unity of effort.