The Scalar Chain Principle of Management [Explained]

What is Scalar Chain Principle?

The principle of scalar chain means a straight line of authority from top-level management to the ground level. At the core of this principle, the information should be strictly communicated in a hierarchy either from top to bottom or bottom to top.

By the scalar chain principle, in an organization, there should be a clear path of communication. Whenever an employee wants to communicate with a boss or other employees he must follow the pre-defined path.

It promotes effective communication. For example, suppose in an organization there are 10 employees. If Employee 5 wants to communicate with Employee 9, he must follow the scalar chain in which his information flows from Employee 5,6,7,8, and finally to 9. The same will happen to employee 9, if he wants, it will be through 9,8,7,6 to employee 5.

Since following every path strictly, takes time, and creates a delay in message delivery, in an emergency situation, it can not seem effective. To overcome this, Fayol had already stated, that the scalar chain should be followed strictly except for emergencies.

He further introduced the concept of “Gang Plank” to reduce the delay in communication among employees of the same level. By this concept, from the above example suppose employees 5 and 9 are at the same level, they can directly communicate with each other in case of emergency or for quick communication.

Positive of the scalar chain principle:

  • A clear line of authority reduces confusion in communication.
  • The systematic communication system in the organization.
  • The top manager is able to communicate information to all the employees at the same time.
  • Helps to effectively achieve organizational goals.
  • Supports faster performance.
  • Since Gang Plank is introduced, this principle also seems flexible and can be modified when needed.

Negative of scalar chain principle of management principle:

  • All the employees do not love to follow strict rules.
  • Though Fayol has introduced Gang Plank, what happens when the different levels of employees have an emergency situation?
  • Since it works in a chain, when one employee fails to communicate, the information can not reach to desired person/employee.

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