Ledelsesspænd på daginstitutionsområdet.

Holm-Petersen, C.
Andersen, L.B.
Bjørnholt, B.
Høybye-Mortensen, M.
Ladegaard, L.
Andersen, V.N.


The purpose of this study is to examine the correlation between the span of control (the number of employees per leader) and whether employees experience well-being and professional quality in their pedagogical work. The study examines the relationship between span of control, management style and whether employees experience professional quality and well-being. This also includes the effects on children and their well-being as experienced by the staff.


The study concludes that there are advantages as well of disadvantages of large as well as little spans of control (large spans of control have more than 17 employees per leader and little spans of control have less than 18 employees per leader). A little span of control allows the leader to become more visible and to obtain a close relationship with children and parents. This may also offer better conditions for vulnerable children and streamline decision-making. The advantages of centres with a large span of control are that the organisation becomes more resilient and flexible with regard to competences and employee resources. Child-adult ratios, sick days and meetings are perceived as being challenging for quality across all spans of control. Moreover, the study concludes that the correlation between span of control and management style impacts the quality of ECEC and well-being of employees. The study also shows a correlation between management style and how employees experience professional quality. For example, the well-being of employees is highest in the medium group; i.e. a span of control of 14-20 employees. The study shows that the size of the centre and thereby the span of control is important, although other factors also affect the quality of management. ECEC centre leaders express that 14-20 employees constitute a balanced span of control. The study also shows that the management is expected to involve employees and give employees responsibility, and that the culture is characterised by a reluctance to confront problems. Moreover, the study shows that leaders are challenged by an increasing amount of administrative tasks (e.g. from the municipal administration) relating to overall managerial issues and in more day-to-day management situations such as allocating tasks. Leaders and ECEC deputy managers distinguish between time spent on administrative tasks and time spent 'on the floor'. Moreover, the study identifies tasks carried out by management.



The report is based on an interview study and on observation studies conducted at 16 selected ECEC centres (0-6 years) with a span of control of 9-34 employees from two municipalities in Jutland and from two municipalities on Zealand. The interview study consists of interviews of 58 leaders and employees (district managers, ECEC centre leaders, ECEC deputy managers and employees). Data from the interviews was subsequently coded and analysed systematically to identify differences and similarities. The observation studies were conducted at half of the ECEC centres and lasted 16 days in total. Data from the observation studies was then coded according to theme in order to compare data systematically with the interview study.


Holm-Petersen, C., Andersen, L.B., Bjørnholt, B., Høybye-Mortensen, M., Ladegaard, L. & Andersen, V.N. (2015). Ledelsesspænd på daginstitutionsområdet. KORA.

Financed by

The Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research (KORA).