Span of control and well-being outcomes among hospital frontline managers: too much to handle?

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Purpose: To examine the consequences of broader spans of control for well-being outcomes among frontline managers. Method: Healthcare managers were surveyed in collaboration with the Central Denmark Region. The response rate was 74.5%. Using regression analysis, we investigate how span of control is associated with outcomes related to well-being understood as perceived stress, burnout, job satisfaction, satisfaction with the work environment, intention to quit their current job and work-life balance. Findings: Span of control may be an important factor in establishing well-being among frontline managers in the Danish hospital sector on several parameters. Span of control is associated the strongest with work-life balance and intention to quit, least but significantly with perceived stress and not significantly with burnout. Practical implications: We recommend that healthcare organisations consider whether it could be more optimal to reduce the span of control for some managers. Furthermore, we recommend that future studies pay attention to span of control and provide stronger causal evidence about its impact on healthcare workers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberleader-2024-000978
JournalBMJ Leader
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • health system
  • management
  • mental health


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