Importance of Unity in Command in Administration -Essay

The rigid adherence to the principle of unity of command may have its absurdities, these are however unimportant in comparison with the certainty of confusion, inefficiency and .irresponsibility which arises from the violation of this principle. “Certainly”, Simon says, “the principle of unity of command thus interpreted can not be criticized for any lack of clarity or for ambiguity”.

Simon, says that, the principle of unity of command is perhaps more defensible if narrowed down to the following:

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“In case two authoritative commands conflict, there should be a single determinate person when the subordinate is expected to obey; and the sanctions of authority should be applied against the subordinate only to enforce obedience to that one person”.

Simon calls even this reformulated principle in limited form “solves fewer problems”. It no longer requires, except for setting conflicts of authority, a single hierarchy of authority. Simon challenges “coming” and “channeling” of authority. He further says that “even this narrower concept of unity of command conflicts with the principle of specialization.”

It is true that there is rampant frustration among the functional supervisors who are field specialists but who are subordinated to ‘generalist’. There are complaints and unusual instances to lack of authority available to functional specialists.