Essay on the Demerits of Scalar Principles

A file must pass through proper channels howsoever urgent the matter may be and howsoever ignorant intermediate officials may be about that matter. It is usually seen that the intermediate officials pass on the files to the higher officials by simply initiating the forwarding letters and with the remarks: ‘For orders please’. This results in undue delays in making decisions.

However it creates superior subordinate relationship in the hierarchy. The Superior officers develop superiority complex and have the tendency to boss over the subordinates. Seckler Hudson is however of the view that”.

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There are dangers inherent in excessively limited spans of control, such as risk of detailed supervision of the few reporting; the resultant failure to stimulate subordinates or to fully use the capacities of them. It is also possible that short spans of control mean long chains of command”.

According to Fayol, there are two short cuts. One is to throw a bridge across the formal lines of authority of the hierarchy so that subordinate officers in one department or section may contact directly with their officers in one department or section with their opposite numbers in another department.

Thus a superintendent in Education department may contact directly with the superintendent in the Finance department without the file passing through their superiors or juniors.

This may be called horizontal contact between corresponding levels of organisation. Through the second short cut one or more intermediate steps in the vertical line of authority may be passed over and direct contact established between officers. The officers skipped over may be informed of the action proposed or taken.

The Government of India started what is known as ‘file jumping experiment’, a few years back. The purpose of this experiment is to skip over the intermediate levels in the hierarchy and to make the files reach directly to the decision-making authority.