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Difference Between Unity of Command and Unity of Direction

Henri Fayol, a French mining engineer and industrialist laid down 14 principles of management to improve the management of an enterprise from top to bottom. He devoted most of his attention to the analysis of managerial activities. Through many studies, Fayol revealed that the most important ability required by a worker is the technical ability and administrative ability at higher levels. The general principles of management are probably one of his biggest contributions and these are the essential elements that influence the foundations of successful management in an organization. Two such principle concepts are Unity of Command and Unity of Direction.

Unity of Command is concerned with the functioning of people while Unity of Direction is related to the activities. Unity of Command is an operational-level management principle that defines the purpose of ensuring the unity of effort under one responsible individual meaning one subordinate should have only one supervisor from whom he shall receive orders. Unity of Direction implies that different departments of an organization should work towards a common goal through coordinated efforts. However, the two principles of management should not be confused with each other as both are very different.

 

What is Unity of Command?

The principle of Unity of Command implies that a worker or employee should report to and receives orders from only one superior and should be accountable to him or her only, who in turn should report to his/her only supervisor, and so on. The unity of command helps to preserve the concept of an unbroken line of authority in order to avoid confusion and conflicting demands from several superiors.

 

What is Unity of Direction?

The principle of Unity of Direction states that there should be one head and one plan for a group of organized activities that share a common objective. This means that different departments of an organization should work towards a common goal through coordinated efforts. Failing to do so would result in duplication of efforts and wastage of resources.

 

Difference between Unity of Command and Unity of Direction

Concept

– The concept of Unity of Command implies that subordinates should report to and receive orders from only one superior and to whom they shall be accountable. It is one of the most important factors to consider in an organizational hierarchy to avoid confusion and conflict. No employee should report to or receive orders from two or more seniors to avoid any conflict. The principle of Unity of Direction, on the other hand, implies that all the members of an organization that share the same activities should work towards a common goal.

Objective

The principle of Unity of Command is concerned with the functioning of people and aims at placing one person in charge of the entire operation thereby eliminating any conflict that may arise due to dual or multiple command over authority. This can cause indiscipline and delay in performance and production. The single accountability principle ensures the proper functioning of the personnel in an organization’s chain of hierarchy. The principle of Unity of Direction leads all the members of an organization towards a common goal under the “One Head One Plan” rule.

Implication

The principle of Unity of Command emphasizes on individual employee or worker by recommending that they should report to only one supervisor which helps to preserve the concept of an unbroken line of authority. If the unity of command is broken, he or she might have to cope with conflicting demands or priorities from multiple superiors. The principle of Unity of Direction, on the other hand, emphasizes on exploring relationships between different organizational activities that point to a common objective. Failing to do so would result in duplication of efforts and wastage of resources.

Benefits

The Unity of Command principle ensures one subordinate should be responsible to a single supervisor, who in turn reports to only one supervisor, and like that, the chain of command follows. It ensures a proper, functioning chain of command, an unbroken line of authority that extends from top of the organization to the lowest in the organizational hierarchy. This avoids confusion in the mind of subordinates and conflicts among upper management. The Unit of Direction states that each department in an organization should have a different head with each department pursuing its objective efficiently and effectively. An organization with different plans or more than one head cannot achieve the desired results.

Unity of Command vs. Unity of Direction: Comparison Chart

 

Summary of Unity of Command vs. Unity of Direction

In a nutshell, the principle of Unity of Command defines the purpose of ensuring the unity of effort under one responsible individual while the principle of Unity of Direction implies that different departments of an organization should work towards a common goal through coordinated efforts. The former is concerned with the functioning of personnel while the latter is related to the organizational activities sharing a common goal. Unity of Command helps to preserve the chain of command and avoid conflicts in the chain of command, whereas Unity of Direction ensures coordinated efforts and unity of action among the subordinates.

 

Sagar Khillar

Sagar Khillar is a prolific content/article/blog writer working as a Senior Content Developer/Writer in a reputed client services firm based in India. He has that urge to research on versatile topics and develop high-quality content to make it the best read. Thanks to his passion for writing, he has over 7 years of professional experience in writing and editing services across a wide variety of print and electronic platforms.

Outside his professional life, Sagar loves to connect with people from different cultures and origin. You can say he is curious by nature. He believes everyone is a learning experience and it brings a certain excitement, kind of a curiosity to keep going. It may feel silly at first, but it loosens you up after a while and makes it easier for you to start conversations with total strangers – that’s what he said."

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References :


[0]Robbins, Stephen P. Organisational Behaviour: Global and Southern African Perspectives. Pinelands, Cape Town: Pearson Education South Africa, 2001. Print

[1]Fayol, Henri. General and Industrial Management. Ravenio Books, 2016. Print

[2]Saxena, P.K. Principles of Management: A Modern Approach. New Delhi, India: Global India Publications, 2009. Print

[3]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/ma%CC%88nner-angestellte-anzug-arbeit-1979261/

[4]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/arbeitsplatz-team-gesch%C3%A4ftstreffen-1245776/

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