Management plays a vital role in any business or organized activity. Management is composed of a team of managers who have charge of the organization at all levels. Their duties include making sure company objectives are met and seeing that the business operates efficiently. Regardless of the specific job, most managers perform four basic functions. These management functions are planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.
Planning involves determining overall company objectives and deciding how these goals can best be achieved. Managers evaluate alternative plans before choosing a specific course of action and then check to see that the chosen plan fits into the objectives established at higher organizational levels.
Planning is listed as the first management function because the others depend on it. However, even as managers move on to perform other managerial functions, planning continues as goals and alternatives are further evaluated and revised.
Organizing, the second management function, is the process of putting the plan into action. This involves allocating resources, especially human resources, so that the overall objectives can be attained. In this phase managers decide on the positions to be createв and determine the associated duties and responsibilities. Staffing, choosing the right person for the right job, may also be included as part of the organizing function.
Third is the day-to-day direction and supervision of employees. In directing, managers guide, teach, and motivate workers so that they reach their potential abilities and at the same time achieve the company goals that were established in the planning process. Effective direction, or supervision, by managers requires ongoing communication with employees.
In the last management function, controlling, managers evaluate how well company objectives are being met. In order to complete this evaluation, managers must look at the objectives established in the planning phase and at how well the tasks assigned in the directing phase are being completed. If major problems exist and goals are not being achieved, then changes need to be made in the company's organizational or managerial structure. In making changes managers might have to go back and replan, reorganize, and redirect.
In order to adequately and efficiently perform these management functions, managers need interpersonal, organizational, and technical skills. Although all four functions are managerial duties, the importance of each may vary depending on the situation. Effective managers meet the objectives of the company through a successful combination of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.
A. Answer the following questions about management functions. The questions which are starred(*) cannot be answered directly from the text. Space is provided at the end for you to add your own questions.
1. What do the duties of managers include?
2. What does planning involve?
3. Why is planning the first management function?
4. What do managers do in the organizing phase?
5. Can staffing be considered as part of the organizing function? Why?
6. Why is ongoing communication necessary for effective direction? *
7. What do managers evaluate in the controlling function? Why is evaluation essential at this phase of a project? *
8. What types of problems could a manager discover in performing the controlling function? *
9. Which skills do managers need to perform effectively? Why is each important? *
10. Give examples of the qualities of an effective manager. Classify these as either interpersonal, organizational, or technical skills. *
B. Complete the diagram by writing in the management functions. Then answer the questions.
1. How does this circular arrangement illustrate the relationships between the four management functions?
2. Why are the arrows two-way rather than just one-way?
3. When does this cycle of planning, organizing, directing and controlling end?
4. Are there other ways that the four management functions can be represented graphically? Explain and draw other figures.
5. Discuss and compare Figure 1 with those figures drawn by your classmates.