Difference between Unity of Command and Unity of Direction

The French mining engineer and businessman Henri Fayol is credited with developing a set of 14 management principles designed to improve the effectiveness of management at all levels of a company. He spent a lot of time thinking about and talking about different management techniques. After extensive research, Fayol concluded that the two most important abilities a person may have are technical competence and the capacity for high-level administrative work.

Management theory as a whole is undeniably one of his most significant contributions. These are the cornerstones of an organization's efficient administration, and their absence can have a devastating effect. For instance, the concepts of "Unity of Command" and "Unity of Direction" are examples of such basic conceptions.

Unity of Command emphasizes cooperation amongst individuals, whereas Unity of Direction stresses efficiency in operations. To define the aim of ensuring the unity of effort under one accountable individual, Unity of Command is a management philosophy implemented at the operational level. This indicates that there should be a single chain of command for each subordinate.

When a company prioritizes cohesion, leaders work to ensure all departments are pulling in the same direction. However, the two management ideas are quite different and must be kept separate.

What is Unity of Command?

Unity of Command states that an employee or worker should only answer to and take orders from one superior at any given time. Each superior should only report to one superior above them, and so on. It is important to keep the idea of a straight line of command in place so that subordinates do not become confused or feel pressured into making decisions against the wishes of their superiors. The continuity of this idea is aided by the unity of command.

What is Unity of Direction?

The notion of "Unity of Direction" suggests that when many initiatives are working together toward the same objective, there should be a single point of contact and a unified plan of action. That's why it's so important for a company's many departments to work together toward a common goal. If this isn't done, then there will be a waste of time and money as people would have to perform the same thing twice.

Differences − Unity of Command and Unity of Direction

The following table highlights how Unity of Command is different from Unity of Direction −

Characteristics Unity of Command Unity of Direction


Unity of Command suggests that subordinates should only report to and take commands from a single superior, to whom they are answerable, and to whom they should also receive orders.

The concept of the unity of direction suggests that all the members of an organization that participates in the same activities ought to work together to achieve a typical objective.


The single responsibility concept helps to make certain that the workers at each level of an organization's structure are able to do their jobs effectively.

In accordance with the "One Head One Plan" guideline, the principle guides all of an organization's members toward achieving a shared objective.


It places emphasis on the individual worker or employee by advocating that they report to only a single supervisor at all times.

It places a strong emphasis on investigating the connections between the many organizational activities that are all working toward the same goal.


It removes the potential for any dispute to emerge as a result of having dual or multiple commands over the same authority.

It prevents wasting resources and making unnecessary attempts at the same time.


The Unity of Command concept states that all activities should be centralized under the authority of a single leader, whereas the Unity of Direction principle states that all parts of an organization should work together to achieve the same objective. The former is concerned with individual action, whereas the latter is linked to collective actions taken by members of an organization to achieve a common goal.

Unity of Command ensures that the chain of command is preserved and that conflicts within the chain of command are avoided, whereas Unity of Direction ensures that the efforts of subordinates are coordinated and that there is the unity of action among them.