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Span of Control and Span of Attention

41 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2014 Last revised: 30 Apr 2014

Oriana Bandiera

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Andrea Prat

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics

Raffaella Sadun

Harvard University - Strategy Unit; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Julie Wulf

Harvard Business School

Date Written: April 30, 2014

Abstract

Using novel data on CEO time use, we document the relationship between the size and composition of the executive team and the attention of the CEO. We combine information about CEO span of control for a sample of 65 companies with detailed data on how CEOs allocate their time, which we define as their span of attention. CEOs with larger executive teams do not save time for personal use, or to cultivate external constituencies. Instead, CEOs with broader spans of control invest more in a “team” model of interaction. They spend more time internally, specifically in pre-planned meetings that have more participants from different functions. The complementarity between span of control and the team model of interaction is more prevalent in larger firms.

Suggested Citation

Bandiera, Oriana and Prat, Andrea and Sadun, Raffaella and Wulf, Julie, Span of Control and Span of Attention (April 30, 2014). Harvard Business School Strategy Unit Working Paper No. 12-053; Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 14-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2392623 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2392623

Oriana Bandiera

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7519 (Phone)
+44 20 7055 6951 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Andrea Prat

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Raffaella Sadun

Harvard University - Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.hbs.edu/rsadun

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/staff/person.asp?id=1758

Julie M. Wulf (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Harvard Business School
Boston, MA
United States

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