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Diseconomies of Scale


Diseconomies of scale refer to a situation in business when a company grows so large that the costs per unit increase. It happens when a firm’s production output becomes less efficient due to its increased size or output. Essentially, this term indicates the loss in production efficiency that can accompany overly rapid growth.


The phonetic transcription of “Diseconomies of Scale” is: /ˌdɪsˌiːkəˈnɑːmiz əv skeɪl/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Increased Costs: Diseconomies of Scale refer to a situation in which economies of scale no longer function for a firm. With increased production, the cost per unit does not decrease; instead, it increases. The decrease in operational efficiency occurs because the company has grown too large.
  2. Management Challenges: When firms grow too large, they can become more challenging to manage effectively, leading to inefficiencies that increase production costs. This increased complexity can result in reduced communication, coordination issues, and delayed decision-making processes.
  3. Implications for Firm Growth: Diseconomies of Scale have significant implications for business growth strategies. They signal that a firm has reached its optimum size and any further growth might lead to inefficiencies and increased costs. Therefore, firms might need to consider strategies like restructuring or downsizing to manage the diseconomies of scale.


The term Diseconomies of Scale is important in business and finance as it refers to a situation where a company or business has grown so large that the costs per unit start to increase. This goes against the principle of economies of scale where costs per unit fall as volume increases. Diseconomies of scale can result from a variety of factors such as management inefficiencies, overutilization of resources, increased wastage, or communication problems within large organizations. They represent significant operational and efficiency challenges that can impact a company’s profitability and competitiveness. Understanding and managing the risk of diseconomies of scale is consequently crucial for businesses planning for expansion or operating on a large scale.


Diseconomies of Scale is a term frequently used in the realm of economics and business to give a hypothetical understanding of the inefficiencies that businesses may experience as they expand. Essentially, it denotes a condition where an expansion of output results in a disproportionately higher increase in cost — an instance where growing bigger may not equate to higher efficiency. As firms grow larger in the name of achieving economies of scale (situations where increased output leads to lower long-term costs), they must be watchful that this expansion does not lead to a stage of diseconomies of scale.

The concept of Diseconomies of Scale is crucial for strategic business decisions, specifically in areas related to expansion and diversification. It offers a critical perspective for understanding the potential downsides of business growth and helps in determining optimal company size. It serves to alert firms that larger scale operations might sometimes lead to increased per unit costs, as opposed to the cost benefits expected from Economies of Scale. Thus, it calls attention to problems of control, coordination, and inefficiencies that may stem from an excessive focus on growth, thereby guiding businesses to avoid pitfalls of overexpansion and inefficient operations.


1. Automobile Industry: A large automobile manufacturer might encounter diseconomies of scale if they decide to significantly increase production. As they expand, complications might arise such as coordination difficulties among various departments, challenges in maintaining the same level of quality control, increased bureaucracy, etc. These can lead to an increase in per unit cost, showcasing diseconomies of scale.

2. Tech Companies: Large tech companies like Microsoft and Apple might experience diseconomies of scale as they grow larger. For example, if they try to manage too many projects or software developments at once, employees might become overworked and productivity may decrease, which in turn raises per unit cost. In addition, excessive expansion can lead to difficulties in maintaining uniformity in services or products, and product quality might deteriorate.

3. Healthcare System: Large hospital networks may also face diseconomies of scale. When hospital systems become too large, management and coordination among various departments can become complex and inefficient, potentially leading to higher costs. Moreover, larger networks may face difficulties in maintaining the same level of patient care and could potentially experience a drop in service quality.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does Diseconomies of Scale mean?

Diseconomies of Scale refer to a situation where the cost per unit of output increases with the increase in the scale of output. It reflects a decline in a firm’s efficiency, occurring when all resources of the business are not utilized effectively.

When does the concept of Diseconomies of Scale apply?

The concept applies when there is an expansion in production in a business, and as a result of this expansion, the cost per unit of output increases rather than decreasing.

Can you provide an example of Diseconomies of Scale?

For instance, when a business grows too large, it may face problems related to managing its operations like communication inefficiencies, poor coordination, high employee turnover rate, etc. All these will lead to increased costs and reduced production efficiency, resulting in Diseconomies of Scale.

What factors contribute to Diseconomies of Scale?

Factors such as coordination problems, miscommunication, insufficient capacity, over-hiring, and the difficulty in managing a large workforce can all contribute to the occurrence of Diseconomies of Scale.

How can Diseconomies of Scale be prevented?

It can be prevented through effective managerial practices and sophisticated systems and processes that ensure smooth communication and coordination within a large organization. Additionally, maintaining an optimal scale of operations that matches capacity and demand can also help avoid Diseconomies of Scale.

How are Diseconomies of Scale different from Economies of Scale?

Economies of Scale result in reduced costs per unit due to increased production, benefiting from efficiencies of large-scale operation. On the other hand, Diseconomies of Scale occur when the cost per unit increases due to the inefficiencies brought about by overly expanded operations.

What impact does Diseconomies of Scale have on a business’s profit?

Diseconomies of scale reduce a business’s profit margin, as they increase the cost per unit of output. If revenue does not rise at the same rate as costs, profitability may decline.

Can Diseconomies of Scale be temporary?

Yes, Diseconomies of Scale could be temporary. For instance, an organization may initially face increased unit costs due to the implementation of new technology. However, as the staff become trained and more proficient at using the new technology, costs may decrease and efficiencies could improve over time.

Related Finance Terms

  • Decreasing Returns to Scale
  • Overproduction
  • High Operational Costs
  • Inefficient Management
  • Supply Chain Disruptions

Sources for More Information

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