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What is Management? Concept, Characteristics, Objectives, Importance and Functions

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  • Last Updated : 21 Dec, 2022
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A universal concept that is needed in every organisation whether it is a business organisation or a non-business organisation such as hospital school, etc., is known as Management. An organisation’s success depends on the successful functioning of its management and is always required whenever human and non-human resources of an organisation work together for the accomplishment of any objective. In present times, with an increase in the size and complexities of modern organisations. the concept of management has gained immense importance. 

The definition of Management varies with the context in which it is used. In a broader sense, Management can be defined as per Traditional Approach and Modern Approach. 

Traditional Definitions of Management

Management consists of getting things done through others. A manager is one who accomplishes objectives by directing efforts of others.

– C.S. George

Management is the art of getting things done through others.

– Follett

The traditional definitions of Management were vague as they were unable to identify the functions, a manager has to perform to get things done through others. Besides, these definitions gave an impression of the manipulative practice of management and ignored the needs of workers and treated them as a means for getting results in any way. 

Modern Definitions of Management

Management is the creation of an internal environment where individuals working in a group can perform effectively and efficiently for the achievement of organisational goals.

– Koontz and Donnell

Management is defined as the process of planning, organising, actuating, and controlling of an organisation’s operations in order to achieve coordination of the human and material resources essential in the effective and efficient attainment of objectives.

– Trewelly and Newport

Management is the process of working with and through others to effectively achieve organisational objectives by efficiently using limited resources in the changing environment.

– Kreitner

Modern Concept of Management

Management is a process through which an organisation designs and maintains an environment in which individuals work together with the motive of achieving organisational goals effectively and efficiently. The three essential elements that come under the modern concept of Management are as follows:

1. Management is a ‘Process’: Management involves a series of int-related functions like planning, organising, staffing, directing, and controlling, which makes it a process. Every manager performs these functions to achieve goals.

2. Management requires Effective Performance: Effectiveness in Management means achieving goals on time. In simple terms, it aims at end result. For example, if an organisation achieves its sales target within time, it is said to be effective. 

3. Management needs Efficiency: Efficiency in Management means doing tasks correctly and with minimum cost. It is not enough to just complete the task on time, it should be accurate also. Besides, management also aims at using its resources efficiently as it reduces the cost of the firm ultimately resulting in higher profits. 

Characteristics of Management

1. Continuous Process: Management is a continuous process. It means that the process of business management goes on until the company exists, as it helps in achieving the organisational goals. Every manager of an organisation has to perform the different functions of management in a series (planning, organising, staffing, directing, and controlling).

2. Goal-oriented: Every organisation has a set of predetermined goals or objectives that it aims to accomplish during its existence. Every organisation has different goals. Hence, management helps these organisations in fulfilling their goals by utilising the given limited resources in the best optimum manner. For example, If the objective of Airtel is to add a billion Airtel Xtreme customers in a year, then all of its managerial activities will be directed toward the achievement of this objective.

3. All Pervasive: The process of business management is universal in nature. Every organisation, whether small scale, large scale, economic, social, etc., uses the process of management at every level or stage. Besides, the activities involved in the management of an organisation are common for all whether it is a social, political, or economic enterprise. 

4. Multidimensional: Management is a multidimensional process as it does not involve only one activity. The three main activities involved in management are Management of Work, Management of People, and Management of Operations.

  • Management of Work: Every organisation is set up to perform some work or goal, and the management aims at achieving these goals or tasks. The work of an organisation depends upon the nature of Business; for example, work to be fulfilled in a hospital is treating patients, in a university is educating students, etc. 
  • Management of People: People are the most essential assets of an organisation and refer to human resources. It is the duty of the management to get the work completed through human resources/people by making their strengths effective and weaknesses irrelevant. Managing people have two dimensions; viz., Taking care of a group of people and Taking care of employees’ individual needs.
  • Management of Operations: Operations are the activities of an organisation’s production cycle, like purchasing inputs, converting them into semi-finished goods, and finished goods. Simply put, Management of operations consists of a mix of Management of Work and Management of People, and decides what work has to be done, how it has to be done, and who will do it. 

5. Dynamic Function: There are different internal and external factors that affect the working of an organisation. An organisation has to change and adapt itself on the basis of changing environment to accomplish the organisational goals and objectives. Hence, management is a dynamic function.

6. Management is a Group Activity: Management involves a group of people performing managerial activities. The functions of management can be executed only when every individual performs his/her role their respective status and department. And as the result of management affects every individual and every department of an organisation, it always refers to a group effort. 

7. Management is an Intangible Force: Management is a function that cannot be physically seen but its presence can be felt by watching the orderliness and coordination in work environment and happy faces of the employees when the task is completed. 

Coordination is the essence of management. It helps in synchronizing the different activities of all departments and functions of management. The managers at each level of the organisation have to ensure proper coordination for better results and accomplishment of organisational goals. 

Objectives of Management

1. Social Objectives: These refer to the objectives which are desired to be achieved for the benefit of society. Every organisation has a social responsibility to fulfill during its existence. Some of the social obligations of an organisation include implementing environment friendly practices in the production process, providing basic amenities to employees such as healthcare, education, etc., and providing the unprivileged sections of society with employment opportunities.

2. Organisational Objectives: With the help of management, every organisation sets and achieves organisational goals. The three major organisational objectives are survival, profit, and growth. 

  • Survival: One of the basic objectives of every organisation is survival. It does so by making positive decisions for the organisation with the help of the business management process.
  • Profit: Survival is not enough for an organisation; it has to earn profits to grow and expand in the future. Hence, every organisation has to ensure its profit so that it can cover its costs and risks.
  • Growth: Besides earning a profit, an organisation has to grow in order to remain in the industry. For this purpose, the management of an organisation has to exploit its resources effectively and efficiently.

3. Personal or Individual Objectives: As discussed earlier, people are the main asset of an organisation having different goals, backgrounds and personalities. It is the duty of the managers to ensure that the personnel objectives are aligned with the organisational objectives. Individual or Personal Objectives of an organisation consists of satisfying needs like Social Needs, Financial Needs, Good and Healthy Working Conditions, and Higher Level Needs. 

Importance of Management

1. Increases Efficiency: The management process of an organisation increases its efficiency by reducing cost and increasing productivity by utilisation of the available resources in the best possible and optimum way.

2. Helps in Achieving Group Goals: Effective management process creates teamwork and builds coordination among the members of an organisation. The managers provide a common path or direction to their employees for the accomplishment of the overall objectives of the organisation.

3. Creates a Dynamic Organisation: Every organisation works in a changing environment. The managers of an organisation have to help their members adapt to the changing environment, which ultimately helps them ensure the survival and growth of the organisation. Besides, the management convinces the employees that the changes brought in the organisation will benefit their future prospects. 

4. Development of Society: Every organisation has various objectives toward different groups of society. Along with the development of the organisation, its management has to develop the society too. To do so, the management helps the organisation produce good quality products, adopt new technologies, and provide employment opportunities to the weaker sections of society. 

5. Helps in Achieving Personal Objectives: Every individual or employee of an organisation has different objectives or goals they wish to accomplish while doing their jobs. Management helps these employees in fulfilling their personal objectives along with the organisational objectives.

Functions of Management

1. Planning: 

Planning means deciding in advance what to do, how to do, when to do, and who is going to do. In simple terms, planning means setting up goals, deciding the course of action, timeline of the work, etc., in advance for the success and growth of an organisation. It is the first step in the process of management, and every other function of business management depends upon the planning function. For effective planning, an organisation has to analyze the external and internal environment, formulate plans, forecast the future, and decision-making process. 

For example, setting up the sales target for the organisation, formulating rules and regulations for the employees and the firm, etc.

2. Organising: 

The second function of management is organising. It involves assigning duties, grouping different tasks, and establishing authority and responsibility. Proper organizing in an organisation ensures its success by providing the course of action. According to the nature of the work of an organisation, different firms require different kinds of organisational structures. In simple terms, organising means dividing a whole task into small units of work, and then distributing them along with authority and responsibility.

For example, the top managers of an organisation can allot different tasks to different departments of the organisation. The department heads can then allot the sub-units of the task to different employees based on their designation, qualification, expertise and skills.

3. Staffing: 

Staffing means recruiting the right person for the right job and at the right time. The staffing process of business management involves recruitment, selection, development, appointment and training of employees in an organisation. The human resource department of an organisation deals with staffing by ensuring that the employee selected for a specific job position has the right qualifications, skills, experience, expertise and abilities. 

For example, In an Ed-tech organisation, the human resource department can look for educational qualifications, like graduation and post-graduation and skills like communication, decision-making, problem-solving and experience for the development of commerce courses as per the requirement of the job position.

4. Directing:

The work of an organisation does not end at staffing. The organisation has to guide, supervise, direct, inspire, motivate and instruct the recruited employees. Hence, the process of directing includes taking the required steps to supervise, direct, and motivate employees in achieving the organisational goals, along with their personal objectives. A good leader must use criticism and compliments in such a way that it motivates the employees to work up to their full potential.

For example, Middle-level management can use positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement to motivate the employees in working towards the fulfillment of organisational goals accordingly.

5. Controlling: 

The last function of business management is controlling. It means deciding the standards of organisational performance in advance, measuring the actual results, comparing the standard and actual performance, finding variations, and taking required corrective measures. Controlling is a continuous process as an organisation has to perform the process until it reaches the desired goals. 

For example, an organisation has set the standard sales as 50,000 units. However, the actual sales of the organisation are 40,000 units. The variation in the actual and standard performance is 10,000 units. Now, the managers will look for the reasons behind the lack of 10,000 more units and then take corrective actions to attain standard sales.


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