Difference Between Unity of Command and Unity of Direction

A leader is required in every field so he can guide the team on the right path towards goals. There are various methods to apply when planning to achieve certain things. Sometimes it’s the leader or sometimes it is those small groups that are necessary to win a competition. Unity of Command and Unity of Direction are two such methods that help in these situations.

Unity of Command vs Unity of Direction

The main difference between Unity of Command and Unity of Direction is that the Unity of Command represents the flow of order from a single superior towards subordinates. On the other hand, Unity of Direction represents the scenario of supervisor and subordinates working together to pull off the same goals by following similar planning.

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By unity of Command, one can understand that it is a command from one commander of the force and that each soldier is required to obey the command. It is usually sanctioned in situations of war. In such circumstances, the commander is liable to lead the force to a unified purpose.

When there are various groups of activities then Unity of Direction suggests all groups work together in the same direction to achieve the goal. Unity of direction is known to be goal-oriented. In the unity of direction, the process of completing the target is more important than any other aspect.

Comparison Table Between Unity of Command and Unity of Direction

Parameters Of ComparisonUnity of CommandUnity of Direction
MeaningThe meaning of Unity of Command is that all small groups are ordered from one boss or commander. The meaning of Unity of Direction is that all the small groups should be directed in the same direction.
FocusUnity of Command focuses on each employee binding to the one head to lead them. Unity of Direction focuses on the entire organization because it states that every unit should follow similar goals.
UsageThe mechanism of Unity of Command is used to put a stop to dual subordination. The mechanism of Unity of Direction is used to put a stop to overlaps of various activities.
Required forUnity of Command is required for each person to teach them the value of responsibility they are liable to. Unity of Direction is required for each unit to inspire them to work together to reach the destination.
ConnectionUnity of Command is there to describe the relationship between the supervisor and subordinates. Unity of Direction is there to describe the relationship between each unit of the organization.

What is Unity of Command?

Unity of Command is a situation when the whole force or team is required to follow one leader or commander. Depending on the requirement, Unity of Command can take multiple forms. In the context of war, Unity of Command means that all orders come from a single commander for the soldiers.

The term ‘one mission, one boss’ is well known when it comes to describing Unity of Command. Since there is one objective for the Battalion to serve and a superficial person is needed to understand the scenario and then give relative orders. In the context of business, Unity of Command is very beneficial.

For example, it would be very difficult for the employee to answer or report to multiple supervisors. In this case, Unity of Command is used as the business management theory when such issues are resolved. Unity of Command has a vital role to play in management theories. With the help of Unity of Command, an authority can channelize its employees in a more motivated and convenient way.

The principle of Unity of Command shows that there should not be a bunch of supervisors for a single team. Also, Unity of Command is part of the fourteenth significant principle of running a business.

What is Unity of Direction?

The organization is a big structure of smaller groups and Unity of Direction works to bind them. Unity of direction suggests that each unit of the organization should flow towards the same direction with a common objective. Also, these groups or units must be directed towards the aim of one person or manager.

The planning should be similar for every group so that the goal can be achieved in less time. To understand it better take an example where company ‘x’ manufactures laptops and mobile phones. Hence, it is divided into two divisions. Now each division has its separate market, problems, users, etc. In other words, each division has a different target to accomplish.

So the company ‘x’ is divided into small groups but the objective of the company remains the same, that is to make a profit by selling its products. So there should be one plan for these units to follow and one director or head to lead them. This process is designated as Unity of Direction.

Anyone can be easily mistaken between the terms Unity of Command and Unity of Direction but there is a difference. Unity of direction generates power from small groups to push the large portion forward.

Main Differences Between Unity of Command and Unity of Direction

  1. The Unity of Command improves the functionality of the subordinates while Unity of Direction promotes the concept of coordination of small units.
  2. The Unity of Command leaves an impact on individuals. On the other hand Unity of Command leaves an impact on the organization.
  3. The Unity of Command represents the relationship between the commander and the force while Unity of Direction represents the connection among multiple groups.
  4. The Unity of Command inspires each individual to understand the concept of responsibility while Unity of Direction inspires small groups to work in harmony.
  5. Unity of Command shows the flow of order from boss to subordinates while Unity of Direction shows the flow of movement of each unit towards a similar destination.


It is not an easy task to perform managerial skills or to handle a big organization. The person in charge is responsible for the damages or loss. To prevent these situations, many scholars have set out multiple fundamental rules.

Using and understanding these rules one can make the path of success less difficult. Unity of Command and Unity of Direction are two such methods that are used widely.

It is the responsibility of the employees and people in higher authority to take the organization to the upper levels. Hence, both Unity of Command and direction are utilized equally based on the requirement.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/bs.3830310105
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/lwpra44&section=24
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