Management as a Problem Solving Process – Essay
Many management thinkers have defined management in their own ways. For example, Van Fleet and Peterson define management, “as a set of activities directed at the efficient and effective utilization of resources in the pursuit of one or more goals.” This concept is shown in the following diagram.
Kreitner considers management as a problem solving process. He defines management as follows:
“Management is a problem solving process of effectively achieving organizational objectives through the efficient use of scarce resources in a changing environment.”
Some of the integral elements of this definition can be separated and briefly explained as follows:
a) Problem solving process:
One of the most important functions of a manager is to make decisions and solve problems. Some of the major problems that management must continually face include unpredictable economic trends, changing governmental regulations, resource shortages and a severe competition for these resources, employee demands, technical problems, technological developments and so on.
There are other problems that are comparatively routine in nature and can be solved by some tried and tested mechanisms. For example, a change in production quality can be easily looked into and the process corrected or modified or changed if necessary. On the other hand, an increase in employee grievances or employee absenteeism or turnover may require carefully studied unique solutions.
b) Organizational objectives:
All organizations have a mission which is the very basic reason for their existence and certain goals and objectives. While the goals are long range and more general in nature, objectives are more specific, tangible and most often quantifiable.
For example, the mission of a college may be high quality education, its goal may be to primarily serve the educational needs of the surrounding community and its objective may be to increase the number of new students entering the college by ten percent in two years.
The primary objective of most organizations is to provide a service for the public. Of course, such service has to be profitable for the organization in monetary terms, for that is the essence of a capitalist economy.
Accordingly, management must plan its activities along these lines. Additionally, it is also the management’s responsibility to integrate the personal objectives of the employees into organizational objectives. The personal objectives of employees may include higher remuneration, more challenging tasks and responsibilities and participation in the decision making process.
Efficiency, along with effectiveness, is the most common way of measuring organizational performance. Efficiency is the ability to “get things done correctly”. An efficient manager achieves a higher output with given resources of time, talents and capital so that these resources are fully utilized without waste.
Similarly, effectiveness means “doing the right things in the right way at the right times”. Accordingly, successful managers would not only be effective in terms of selecting the right things to do and the right methods for getting them done, but they would also be efficient in fully utilizing resources.
d) Scarce resources:
The resources of people, time, capital and raw materials are all finite and limited. They are all scarce in nature and are not expandable. Additionally, there is a fierce competition for acquiring these resources. Management, basically, is a “trusteeship’ of these resources and hence must make conscious efforts to make the most of these resources.
e) Changing environment:
The dynamics of the environment is evidenced by the changes that have taken place in all areas in the last few years. The advent of computers and telecommunications technology has changed the ways in which the assessment of the environment is carried out for decision making purposes. Accordingly, management must be prepared to predict accurately these changes and formulate ways to meet these new challenges more effectively.