Four Functions of Management
Management of an organization is the effective and efficient use of its employees and other available resources to achieve the desired goals and objectives of a company. In brief, management comprises the functions of: planning, organizing, controlling, and leading or directing a company. Essentially, its general purpose is to design and facilitate the production of useful outcomes using the resources of a firm, and to steer it towards the achievement of its goals and objectives. This paper will, therefore, examine the functions of management while zooming in on the concepts of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.
According to Weihrich and Koontz, planning involves selecting missions and objectives of a company and setting actions that will aid in their achievement (2006). Nonetheless, it is a decision making process, which involves choosing future courses of action from a set of alternatives by deciding what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. It actually identifies the company’s present position and forecasts the future heights that it seeks to reach. With that, the planning process of management initiates a series of thoughts while looking around to determine how much strength the company has, and how much it is capable of gaining with a certain amount of effort. As a result, the managers of the company estimate the capability of the company with its available resources. Hence, if it is not able to pull up he required strength to hit the target with available resources, through the planning process the organization identifies the need for the company to acquire relevant resources to achieve its goals. In other words, this planning process can also be termed as the company’s ‘blueprint’ on how to implement its strategy.
With a plan in place, the management of a company will now need to pull its resources together by giving different responsibilities and authorities to employees and using other resources of the firm in order to ensure that objectives of the firm are met in an orderly manner. In effect, this concept of ‘organization’ as a function of management involves a process of methodically giving responsibilities and the resources of an organization to people in a fashion that will ensure that all the tasks necessary to accomplish goals and objectives of a firm are assigned to people, who can execute them best. Briefly, the ‘organizing’ function of management involves identifying activities that need to be done, classifying them into groups, assigning duties to ensure that these tasks are executed, delegating authority to staff members responsibly, and, finally, coordinating the authority in a systematic manner.
Koontz and Weihrich explained in their book that ‘leading’ means influencing people so that they will contribute to the organization and the goals of a group (2006)). Most managers will agree with this and would find that the major challenges they would experience at work concern handling people; particularly when it comes to their desires, attitudes, and behaviors as individually and as a group. Effective leadership in an organization, therefore, requires the managers to master the art of excellent communication, motivation, and leadership styles, which ensures that employees feel that their own needs, desires, and wishes are met and satisfied.
Finally, amongst the other functions of management is the controlling function. Although other functions of management could have been met, the whole process is not complete until the results are checked against the goals of the organization. This is done on a continuous basis through evaluating and correcting individual and organizational performances to ensure that everything sticks to the plan of ensuring that goals and objectives of the company are achieved. It involves weighing the results against set goals and correcting any deviations from these plans at an early stage. As a result, the company does not completely depend on the plan, but backs it up with a set of control measures like budgets for expenses, inspection of records, and recording labor-hours lost. These are measures to show that everything is going according to the plan. If things depart from the plan, corrective measures are taken to realign the deviating activities to the goals and objectives of the firm.
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