The Functions of Management
(The Functions of Management Revolve around the Manager)
The Manager is the moving force of the organization. It is his function to make it mobile and operative. It is therefore necessary to understand what the organization stands for and how it is to function to understand the role and responsibilities of the Manager. An Organization is established with certain objectives or purposes. It possesses resources intended to be utilized fully to achieve these purposes. Organization also consists of people from within and outside. The people from within should form a integrated block and operate in a coordinated manner to ensure the realization of the objectives of the Organization. They constitute the dynamic resource of the organization and it is the role of the manager to provide leadership to this team and act as its guiding force. An Organization also interacts with the outside environment. The outside environment is the source for both opportunities and also threats. And it is the function of the manager to react suitably to both. Before proceeding to define appropriately the qualities and skills expected of a manager to be successful, it is essential to understand more exactly about the different functions which constitute the process of management.
Essential Features of the "Process of Management"
Process consist of a series of sequential operations commencing with a beginning and terminating with an end, in each cyclic operation, that are necessary to achieve specific goals or results. The process of management is characterised by the following features
1. Continuity :
Management is a never-ending and continuous process. The different function like planning, organising, staffing, directing, controlling etc. are interrelated and interdependent
2. Circular :
The functions are inter-active. They are non-linear and circular. And in a way all functions may be considered as sub-functions of each other. For example, planning, organising, staffing and controlling may all occur within a planning process.
3. Social :
Management deals with human elements from within and outside. It influences significantly the whole society. Management decisions may have far-reaching social consequences (like the ill-conceived decision of some industries to engage 'child labour'; industries polluting the environment with poisonous gases and effluents etc.). A Manager, therefore, while taking decisions must remember the likely impact of his decision on society and ensure that management decisions do not act in conflict with accepted social values.
4. Composite :
The functions of management should be considered in its entirety. The functions are integrated and overlapping. Thus we cannot perform staffing functions without planning and organizing etc. Similarly planning will be empty without being followed by other functions.
Classification of Management Functions
The elements of management process are known as functions of management. However various authors have classified these differently. Henry Foyal classified them into
4. Coordinating and
R.C.Davis identified planning, organising and coordination as part of control.
Luther Gullick has given the word 'POSDCORB' which standsfor
1. Planning (P)
2. Organising (O)
3. Staffing (S)
4. Directing (D)
5. Controlling (CO)
6. Reporting (R) and
Koontz and O'Donnell have suggested
4. Directing and
Erneast Dale has in addition mentioned 'innovation' and 'representation'
In short it is the function of the Manager to secure the optimized working of the organization. Maximization of results is his duty and satisfy the interests of all those who are deemed to constitute the organization, the share holders (who look for a proper return on their investment), the employees (who aspire for a rewarding career) and the large number of consumers (who look for punctual supply of the goods and services provided by the organization at a competitive prize). So far it is defining the goal or destination where the Manager should reach. The steps that the Manager takes to achieve this goal and to reach his destination constitute his functions.
The first function of the Manager is planning. It is also the foremost and the essential function. Planning equips the Manager mentally to meet his tasks. Planning also involves a number of preliminary exercises. To plan for the organization the Manager should first understand the culture and creed of the Organization, what it stands for what are its objectives. The Manager should study the resources available within the organization, as also the strength and weakness of the Organization. In the next phase the Manager should perceive the environment outside the organization and assess correctly the opportunities it provides and the challenges it poses. The actual planning process should start based on this preliminary knowledge. Planning is done for the operations of the next period (normally one year, but certain growth plans are also made over a two year period).
Planning defines the goals and objectives to be reached in the plan period. It also consist of policies, procedures, methods, budgets, strategy and programmes that are needed to achieve the goals set. Decision-making is the most important and integral part of planning. Plans should be simple, sensible and implementable. Planning after envisaging at the corporate level should percolate down to the base level. Functional plans for each functional Divisions (like Purchase, Production, Marketing, Personnel are prepared). At each level the plan should be discussed with the person who is to implement the same and his involvement/active participation should be secured.
Organizing is to give a proper shape to the structure that should execute the plan smoothly to achieve its success. It is the function of putting together different parts forming an enterprise and make it an organic whole to enable it to carry out defined operations. Various activities to fulfill the goals have to be grouped and these are to be assigned to people in-groups or departments. The authority, responsibility, accountability needed at each level to execute the plan is to be defined and delegated.
The process of organising consists of the following steps:
a. determining and defining the activities required for the achievement of planned goals;
b. grouping the activities into proper and convenient units;
c. assigning the duties and activities to specific positions and people
d. delegating authority to those positions and people;
e. defining and fixing responsibility for performance; and
f. establishing horizontal and vertical authority-responsibility relationship throughout the organisation
The staffing function involves identifying/selecting the right person for executing each task planned. By carrying the functions of organizing and staffing the "plan" is transformed from a document level to the operational stage. The staffing function includes all the jobs connected with recruitment, selection of staff, their training, placement, remuneration appraisal, promotion, retirement etc.
Classical writers on Management Science did not consider staffing as a distinct function, but as a part of the function of "organising". However in view of the growing significance of human resource management staffing is considered as a separate function by all modern writers.
Dozens of participating staff members should learn to think in common for executing the plan and work in cooperation. It is the duty of the Manager to guide his subordinates by training coaching, instructing and indicating what to do, when to do and how to do. Thereafter closely monitor the team at work to ensure high standard and efficiency. In India Government departments sometimes have designated the Manager as "the Director" (Director of Agriculture etc.)
Function of Directing embraces the following activities:
a. issuing orders and instructions
b. supervising (overseeing) people at work
c. motivation, i.e. creating the willingness to work for certain objectives,
d. communication, i.e. establishing understanding with employees regarding plans and their implementation, and
- leadership or influencing the behaviour of employees
"Control' is the tool for course regulation as the organization marches ahead and correcting it when it diverts off-course. After filling the vehicle with fuel, kicking it to start and giving a dynamic forward thrust, the next function is to operate the gears and the brake system judiciously to regulate its onward movement. The results of the activity must confirm to the laid down standards and all variations should be analyzed and root cause identified. Where possible hindrances in the growth path are removed. Control also means deviating from the course to reach the goals, if the present one is not taking us there. Control system also identifies non-performers or low performers. Constant review/appraisal should be carried out and corrective steps initiated then and there.
The process of controlling involves the following steps:
a. establishing standards for measuring work performance;
b. measurement of actual performance and comparing it with the standards;
c. finding variances between the two and see the reasons therefor; and
d. taking corrective action for rectifying deviations so as to ensure attainment of objectives
In a group performance inter-se mismatches should be removed. Supply of material should come, when production needs it. If there is a mismatch in the time schedule it is an instance of lack of coordination. It is the central task of the manager to reconcile differences in approach, timing, effort or interest and to harmonize individual goals with organizational goals. Coordination is the effort to ensure a smooth interplay of the functions and forces of all the different component parts of an organization so that its purpose will be realised with minimum friction and maximum collaborative effectiveness. "Coordination is the process whereby an executive develops an orderly pattern of group efforts among his subordinates and secures unity of action in the pursuit of common purpose."(Daltan E.McFarland)
Motivating, Innovating and Representing.
It is the role of the Manager to get the job done. The job is done at several points by different persons simultaneously working. Once the operational cycle starts rolling satisfactorily, the burden of the manager is minimized. He has only to monitor its smooth progress and continuity. He has to take steps needed for this on an on-going basis. Employee motivation is one such function. Employees do not carry out jobs as per contractual obligation. They have to deem themselves as part of the Organization. They should deem progress and growth of the organization instantly as the sure way for providing their own individual career growth. Motivated employee releases willingly extra energy/input in the fulfillment of accepted tasks. He works for reward and also for recognition. When his performance ends in positive results, it brings him the joy of achievement satisfaction.
It is a quality of dynamism. Innovation is bringing in new ideas into play to improve methods, process or techniques. A conventional approach leads to routine results. An innovative approach leads to more positive success. It is the innovative organization, which endures well in a competitive market. It is the function of the Manager to encourage the flow of innovative proposals/suggestions from his operating staff, in fields like sales promotion, publicity, incentive schemes, inventory control, purchase systems etc.
Public Relations or Representing Function
An organization does not thrive in isolation. It has to interact active and positively with the outside environment. Building public relations is essential. The Manager has to deal constructively with the public, press, government, shareholders, bankers, financial institutions and revenue authorities, as also with trade unions. No organization can stay in the field if it neglects its consumers. The demand of the consumer is for service with quality. Everyone in the organization should be made conscious of this and this is a major task of the manager.
We have seen the different functions of management, which form part of management process. These process are employed by the Manager to secure the "Output" (Goals of the management) realised making use of the Inputs (Resources of the organization). The resources of the organization consist of
As we have seen the processes that are employed on these (or with these) inputs are, - planning, organising, staffing, directing, and controlling. By applying the processes with the inputs, the outputs are to be secured representing the goals of the management like Profits, Growth, Stability etc. The process of management involves the determination of goals and converting these goals into results.