Functions of Management – Planning, Organising, Staffing, Directing and Controlling
The term management is used in various senses. Some consider it as an activity, some treat it as a group, some call it a discipline, whereas some look at it as a process. Management as an activity is getting things done through others. Management as a group is all those who manage. Management as a discipline is a body of knowledge, and as a process is what managers do. We define management as a process of getting things done through and with people. It is the process of planning, organising, staffing, directing, and controlling the available resources effectively and efficiently for achieving the goals of the organisation.
These interrelated elements of the management process are called functions of management. Functions of management are differentiated into two parts managerial function (i.e., planning, organising, staffing, directing, and controlling ) and operative function (i.e., production, marketing, purchasing, financing, and personnel). Managerial functions are common to all enterprises because it does not vary from one organisation to another. For example, planning is common in all organisations. Whereas operative functions are not common, and they differ from one organisation to another. For example, production is not performed in a retail store.
Functions of Management
There is no universally accepted list of management functions. Different experts have classified the functions of management in different ways. Koontz and O’Donnell have given a very convenient classification of management functions that are generally accepted they are:
A plan is a future series of actions decided beforehand. it specifies the objective to be achieved in the future and the steps required to achieve them. Planning is the most essential function of management. It is concerned with thinking in advance about what to do and who is going to do it. It is concerned with the certain determination of a future course of action to achieve the desired result. Planning bridges the gap between the initial point to the destination to reach. Selection of objectives, policies, and procedures are involved in planning. The essential elements of planning are decision-making and problem-solving.
For example, in Ram’s organisation, the objective is the production and sale of shoes. He has to decide quantities, variety, and colour, and then allocate resources for their purchase from different suppliers. Planning cannot avoid or stop problems, but it can anticipate them and prepare emergency plans to deal with them if and when they occur.
Organising is the management function of allotting duties, grouping various activities, establishing authority, and allocating resources necessary to attain the specific plan. Once the plans are formulated, the organising function reviews the activities and resources needed to be applied to the plan. It resolves the activities and resources needed. Organising decides who will perform a particular task, and where and when it will be done. It affects the grouping of the necessary tasks into departments or work units so that they can be managed well. Therefore there is an organisational hierarchy so that reporting is smooth within the organisation. The efficiency of operations and the effectiveness of results can be achieved only if there is a proper organisational technique. The nature and type of organisation structure depend upon the size and nature of the enterprise.
For example, In Ram’s enterprise of shoes, there are many duties to be performed. So, he allocates the duties within the organisation forming various groups to attain the plan. He decides who will perform which task as preparation of accounts, making sales, record keeping, quality control, and inventory control are the tasks to be performed. There is an organisational hierarchy so that reporting is easy and there is a smooth flow within the enterprise.
Staffing refers to the process of hiring and developing the required personnel to fill in various positions in the organisation. It is that part of the management process, which is concerned with recruitment, selection, placement, allocation, conservation, and development of human resources. It is a very important aspect of management as it ensures that the organisation has the right number and right kind of people, with the right qualification at the right places, at the right times and that they are performing the right thing. It is also known as the human resource function.
For example, when Ram is hiring personnel for his enterprise, he will recruit different people for different tasks. He has to ensure that he is hiring the right people with the right qualification for the right job. For this process, Ram will need an HR manager who will be performing this task for the organisation. This will be a very important part of the management function for his organisation, as it will affect his enterprise in many ways if he selects the wrong people for the job.
Directing is that component of the management process which ensures that the members of an organisation work efficiently and effectively for achieving the desired objective. It involves leading, influencing, instructing, guiding, and inspiring employees to perform and achieve the predetermined objectives. The two important components of directing are motivation and leadership. Communicating effectively and clearly with supervising employees at work is also a part of directing. It involves issuing orders and instructions to subordinates, overseeing people at work, and creating a work environment wherein the employees may perform to the best of their abilities. To bring out the best from the employees, a manager needs to direct them through praise and humbly criticize them.
For example, in Ram’s enterprise, the employees are having some doubts and difficulties. If the supervisor guides his subordinates and clarifies their doubts in performing a task, it will help the employees and the workers to perform the activities correctly and on time. When the employees are motivated and supervised properly, it leads the organisation toward its goal.
When the plans are put into operation from directing, it becomes essential to judge regularly whether the actual results are consistent with the planned results. It monitors the organisational performance towards the fulfillment of organisational goals. It enables the manager to detect errors and defects in the course of work and to take corrective actions whenever needed. It also provides proper direction to work in conformity with the plan of action or predetermined standards. Controlling serves the purpose of finding out deficiencies in performance and rectifying them so that the organisation can prevent their recurrence.
For example, Ram expected to sell 1,000 pairs of shoes per week. This is the standard against which his actual performance will be judged at the end of the week. If his actual performance at the end of the week falls short of the standard, reasons for the shortfall would be ascertained by his superior. Corrective actions will be taken to help the workers so that Ram’s enterprise can achieve the standard performance of 1,000 pairs of shoes in the future by controlling the deficiencies and rectifying the mistake.