Essay on the Important Functions of Management!
The management process consists of four basic functions, namely, planning, organizing, directing and controlling. These functions are the manager’s tools to achieve the organizational goals and objectives. These functions are interrelated and interdependent so that a significant change in one function affects the functioning of others. This relationship is shown as follows:
Planning is considered to be the central function of management and determines the organization’s direction. It is a rational and systematic way of making decisions today that will affect the future of the company. It involves the process of ascertaining organizational goals and objectives and deciding on activities to attain these objectives.
It is also a process of preparing for change and coping with uncertainty by formulating future courses of action. Planning is particularly important because of scarce resources and uncertain environments with a fierce competition for these resources.
Planning is a kind of organized foresight and corrective hindsight. It involves forecasting the future as well as attempting to control the events. It involves the ability to foresee the effects of current actions in the long run in the future. Peter Druckerhas defined planning as follows:
“Planning is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial decisions systematically and with best possible knowledge of their futurity, organizing systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions and measuring the results of these decisions against the expectations through organized and systematic feedback.”
An effective planning programme incorporates the effects of both external as well as internal factors. The external factors are shortages of resources, both capital and material, general economic trend in terms of interest rates and inflation, dynamic technological advancements, increased governmental regulations regarding community interests, unstable international political environments and so on.
The internal factors that affect planning include limited growth opportunities due to saturation which may require diversification, changing patterns of work force, more complex organizational structures, decentralization and so on.
Organizing requires a formal structure of authority and the direction and flow of such authority through which work sub-divisions are defined, arranged and coordinated so that each part relates to each other part in a united and coherent manner so as to attain the prescribed objectives.
Thus, the function of organizing involves the determination of activities that need to be done in order to achieve the company goals, assigning these activities to the proper personnel and delegating the necessary authority to carry out these activities in a coordinated and cohesive manner. It follows, therefore, that organizing function is concerned with:
i. Identifying the tasks that must be performed and grouping them wherever necessary.
ii. Assigning these tasks to the personnel while at the same time defining their authority and responsibility.
iii. Delegating such authority to these employees.
iv. Establishing a relationship between authority and responsibility.
v. Coordinating these activities.
The directing function is concerned with leadership, communication, motivation and supervision so that the employees perform their activities in the most efficient manner possible. The leadership element involves issuing of instructions and guiding the subordinates about procedures and methods.
The communication must be open both ways so that the information can be passed on to the subordinates and the feedback received back from them. Motivation factor is very important, since highly motivated people show excellent performance with less direction from superiors. Supervising subordinates would give continuous progress reports as well as assure the superiors that the directions are being properly carried out.
The leadership style that works best varies, depending upon the characteristics of the leader, the followers and the relevant situation. As the president of a top “Fortune 500” company said, “A leader must lead, not drive. People are unpredictable, different from one another, often irascible, frequently petty, sometimes vain, but always magnificent if they are properly motivated.
The function of controlling consists of those activities that are undertaken to ensure that the events do not deviate from the pre-arranged plans. It is the process of devising ways and means of assuring that planned performance is actually achieved.
In essence, control involves sequentially:
i. Setting up standards of performance
ii. Determining methods for measuring such performance
iii. Measuring the actual performance using these methods
iv. Comparing these measurements with the pre-established standards, / and
v. Taking corrective action, when necessary, to correct any deviations between the measured performance and expected performance.