The Practical Guide to Management Theory & Practice
Managers need to understand a variety of theoretical concepts pertaining to successful organizational operations. Although theoretical, these concepts have a proven history and value.
What are the four functions of management?
Planning, organizing, leading, and controlling are the four main functions that are involved in management. These functions usually happen in a chronological order and entails various responsibilities for every step. Naturally, managers are expected to be able to create a system in their own organizations. Although each of the functions happen in different stages, they also share common traits. Basically, all four are needed in making any plan possible and unite various groups. Quite unconsciously, all four functions exist in the daily routine of managing people since basically almost every activity would require at least on these four functions. In fact, employing all four in all activities can help a company achieve their goals easily and even excel in the market. Moreover, this kind of set-up will also increase the job satisfaction for the employees. Employee cooperation is highly important in achieving the company’s goals as well. Every company basically has two goals, the short-term and long-term goals, and members of the company tend to think that the once the short-term goals are achieved, the company is already successful. The long-term goals are actually the more reliable basis for a company’s success, and of course, planning, organizing, leading, and controlling are all necessary functions in achieving these long-term goals.
What is the control function of management?
The control function of management is the process of monitoring activities to ensure that they are being accomplished as planned and for correcting any significant deviations. The control function ensures that activities are completed in ways that lead to the accomplishment of organizational goals. The control function also provides the organization with indications of how well the company is performing in relation to its goals. This indication can be seen through the comparison of standards to performance. The control function also provides a mechanism for adjusting performance to keep organization focused on its plan and strategic objectives.
The control function of management has earned negative connotations because it is often associated with dominating, coerciveness and heavy-handedness. This is due to a change in perception and theory with management’s purpose. Many business theorists believe that the purpose of management has changed in that it is less controlling and hierarchical in nature and has become more collaborative or even supportive of employee efforts. For this reason the use of the word control can have negative implications.
The control function of management has begun to evolve away from a singular purposed effort to maintain objectives into a more collaborative effort. The control function today involves many different stakeholders and metrics to maintain its purpose. The control function involves many different people within an organization that work in concert to maintain the planning.
Types Of Control Systems & Advantages & Disadvantages Of Various Control Mechanisms
There are several different types of control systems used in management. These different systems include:
There are many advantages and disadvantages of control systems. Each system is only efficient depending upon the structure of the organization and the processes of the company. For example, collaborative systems under clan control are not efficient systems of control within large-scale operations because of the large numbers of employees and managers. For reasons such as this control systems need to be tailored to the company.
The Difference Between Leadership & Control
Leadership and control are different in many aspects. Leadership is the focusing of a company, employees, and resources in a particular direction. Leadership involves motivating the employees and company as a whole. The leadership aspect of organizations makes the decisions to move into a specific direction. This is different than control as the controlling function of management focuses on keeping the organization in line with the strategic plan and its objectives. The controlling process does not deal with motivating employees or creating objectives, its concern is to evaluate and make adjustments as needed to see that the planning phase is accomplished.
In the same respect structure differs from control in that structure is the particular form of leadership that is maintained in an organization. The leadership structure can vary and this determines that type of control in many instances. For example, vertical hierarchical organizations will typically employ bureaucratic control structures. In this way the control mechanisms imitate the structure of leadership and the organization. This is important because the type of leadership structure needs to coincide with the control process in order to make control effective. For example, a control system would not wish to be hierarchal within a collaborative leadership structure because this would create communications among other issues.
How Organizational Functions Affect Organizational Structures
Organizational structures are affected by organizational functions by virtue of the type of structure the company’s process must operate within. For example, Vertical structures provide a clear chain of command and individual departments know their particular place and function within this structure. However, one of the major problems created by functionality is that chains of command can become extremely long and there can be disconnections between departments. For example, a customer might need to move through several different areas of a company being passed along until they reach the correct area. In this way, vertical structures can be inefficient.
My organization utilizes a matrix structure, in which there are many specialized departments but members of these departments can be given assignments or projects from other departments and managers. This increases the efficiency of work because human resources can be utilized to complete work that would otherwise be sitting idle. The main drawback to this structure is that leadership and management often conflict and there are problems with authority being seen clearly within the workplace. Essentially, individuals do not always know who their boss is at a given time. This can create problems with employees because they often feel as though they are just being pushed from one boss to the next. The system works but could use some fine tuning.
Oppositely organizational structures affect organizational functions by either limiting or increasing functionality of the organization. Hierarchal organizations such as vertical structures tend to limit the function of organizations today in a variety of ways. As companies have grown to tremendous sizes the chains of command become increasingly longer and longer. This creates communications issues and tends to create departments which are no working in cohesion with other departments. A good example of this problem can be seen in retail loss prevention. In this area of organizations (which are typically vertical structures) top level management is often so far removed from the store level that planning and communication become strained.
There are other factors besides being removed from the day-to-day operations in which structures affect functions. One problem which exists in my organization is the disparity that has grown between management because of structural occupation requirements. The structure of my organization requires that employees and managers have different levels of education and skills. This is a problem that has evolved out of the companies structure in that employees often do not understand the problems facing the company due to lack of education. To give an example of this issue, workers at my company (in the majority) are skilled in areas such as electrical engineering or electrical repair. This creates a problem because these employees often do not understand what management is trying to communicate in strategic objectives or in development projects. This is a direct result of the requirements for jobs growing out of the organizational structure.
Types Of Organizational Structures
The different types of organizational structures are the Vertical Structure, Matrix Structure, Horizontal Structure, and the Organizational Integration. Among all these types, vertical structure is known as the most effective structure for organizations because in this structure, the hierarchy is well established. This means that there is a clear definition of the roles of each member. In usual cases, the top management monitors the adherence of the rest of the member s to the company regulations and procedures. Realistically speaking, the company would always need authority to retain order and system, thus the importance of presidents, CEO, and other top executives. The members of the top management are also expected to serve as role model for the rest of the members, and to live by the mission of the organization. Moreover, employee motivation also greatly relies on the efforts of the top management. If the higher authority is effective enough, then the rest of the members below the hierarchy will also be encouraged to strive for their own success and productivity. Failure to play their expected role will create an opposite effect, like discouraging the rest of the members to do good in their job. One of the determinants of an organization’s success is the productivity of each department and the job satisfaction rate of the employees. Survey studies can be used to assess these aspects, and if the company does not achieve good results, then it would be best to simply consider reorganizing the structure.
Different Types of Plans Organizations Use
Organizations use several different forms of plans. The usage of these plans depends upon the goals and mission of the organization. From the goals and mission strategic objectives are designed and then specific types of plans can be created. These plans all have the same purpose in that they commit individuals, departments, organizations, and resources to the actions of the plan. The different types of plans include:
Most organizations use all four forms of planning which commonly update except for the strategic plan which is only updated every few years as it is either accomplished or needs alteration. The organization uses all of these plans because there are many different departments that have different responsibilities and these plans unify them with goals.
While organizations need to take into account contingencies and unexpected events, there is a point to which planning can become too intensive. One area of over-planning that is a concern is the wasting of time. Planning can take on a life of its own and become time consuming in research and evaluation. Steve Jobs and a team at Apple, spent 10 years planning the Iphone (Murtazin, 2010). While this planning certainly paid off, one must wonder if this was a bit excessive, especially when considering the company almost went bankrupt during this time.
Another problem with over-planning is that it can kill ideas. If you analyze something long enough you can find unlimited potential problems. This can kill an idea before it is even implemented. A great example is the Ipad. Microsoft was the first company to create a tablet computer, but planned the computer in such detail as to overlook their target market. The company planned in such detail the sale of this computer that it was overpriced and intended for business professionals only (Haag, 2006). Five years later Apple released the Ipad and it was a success because they marketed it for everyone. Events such as these highlight the need for deadlines to be placed on the planning process.
The Imperatives for Change, Flexibility, & Responsiveness
The evidence for change, flexibility, and responsiveness can be seen in the growing ability of companies to create substitutable products which threaten organizations. Because business is so quickly able to produce new services and products the need to be able to shift gears in new directions is more imperative than ever. Apple computers has faced the threat of substitution with is desktop computers and almost went out of business during the 1990’s as a result of not being able to compete with lower priced computers. Part of the reason that Apple almost failed was because it kept going in the same direction with building computers. The creation of the Iphone and Ipad represent the dramatic change that this company underwent in order to save itself.
As companies grow older they become less apt to change and this is a serious drawback to their success. Bethlehem Steel was once the second largest producer of steel in the US. In 2003 the company shut its doors after a long history of downward spiral. One of the major reasons that this company failed was that it was unable to alter its structure and management processes (Garn, 1999). While foreign companies were building smaller more efficient mills that had horizontal structures or matrix structures, Bethlehem Steel languished under an old inefficient vertical structure.
How Organization Leaders Influence Organization’s Culture
Leaders affect organizational culture in two important ways. Leaders can either have a positive or negative affect on workplace culture. One way that leaders influence culture is through their ethics. Unethical leaders will create situations in which employees are intimidated and lack the ability to be honest. Because culture is dictated by leadership the behavior of leadership directly affects the workplace by setting the standard for how individuals should act.
Sometimes leadership is “mostly” ethical but expects the workers to cut corners. This is at least inferred from their tone and the way they act. This is not true of all leaders within all organizations and only exists in a minority. In that small groups one thing evident is the workers under those leaders often exhibit selfish behavior. They often place themselves ahead of the company in terms of needs and will exhibit adversarial attitudes towards the company. These workers are always the weakest points of the company along with their leaders. The workers and managers are always the slowest to adopt new methods and are always the areas that have the highest turnover. From these results, one can see how leadership can affect organizational culture.
Can someone who is a leader not be a manager?
There is a fine line between manager and leader. Being a good leader does not necessarily equate with being a good manager in all instances. Managers are often viewed as leaders and while they sometimes serve this function there is a distinction in their roles. Leaders inspire and create and motivate change. Managers carry out the inspirations of the leadership. Managers are often tasked with maintaining the operations of the organization. This does not leave a large area of creativity or for decision making with regard to the system. When viewed in this light, managers can be seen more as caretakers of the organization. There are many managers who are not leaders, we see this commonly in large retail chains. For example, a fast food manager is given systems and rules to follow from how many people to work at which times, and which sales to hold and when. There is little creativity in this situation and change is not the responsibility of the manager. In fact, the only form of leadership that takes place in this structure is that the manager must make sure that the systems and operations are carried out in line with the organizations demands. This situation works both ways in that leaders may not make the best managers because they tend to think outside the box.
Necessary Leadership Skills
Leaders need to possess many skills including the ability to recognize and manage people’s strengths, a desire to succeed, ability to work with little guidance or positive reinforcement, strong sense of time management, and willing to take calculated risks. Managers seeking to develop these skills would need to be able to focus and think critically about their actions. For example, communications skills are a necessary component to leadership but without the ability to think critically about oneself it would be impossible for the manager to know if he or she was communicating effectively. Mangers need to work on interpersonal skills such as being aware of other people’s needs and desires. One attribute of leadership that I believe is a vital component is the idea of responsibility. Any manager desiring to become a leader would need to develop a large sense of responsibility in that they are not afraid to take control of projects or situations. This is one of the most important skill a manager will learn is that as a leader they will be responsible for the outcomes of situations they control. I do not believe that it is possible to be a leader without this sense of responsibility.
The Impact of Globalization On Management
The increased role of globalization has altered management in several ways. These changes in management include customer, employee, cultural, and style of management. As the process of globalization continues customer bases continue to expand and what is effective in one culture may not be effective in another in terms of product type or marketing. Like the customer, the employee base continues to expand creating large diverse organizations which often span the globe. The challenge for managers is to keep this diverse workforce in line with mission and strategic objectives. The globalization process continues to expand the workforce into new cultures which also need to be managed. Cultural differences can affect the effectiveness of the organization as well as creating tension within diverse workplaces. Cementing these factors together is the style of management. What works in one country may not work in another. Authoritative leaders might not fare well in countries which are used to more collaborative systems. For this reason, managers will need to be aware of the customs and culture of countries in order to compensate with changes in leadership style.
Perception of Futility & Inability to Perform
There are many occasions in which situations occur in the workplace in which a person is trying to do a good job but is prevented from doing so. Within my organization there are many policies which are not always efficient in practice. For instance, if a person relies on other people and departments to bring important data used to create customer records or coordinate projects. The faster the data is provided the more efficiently one can do there job. Workers are often at the mercy of other departments and this is worsened when management does not recognize the inefficiency source and place pressure on the wrong individuals.
Workers and managers also need to have a realistic expectation of people. Some individuals work faster than others and this is just a reality that needs to be coped with. The key is to not place unrealistic expectations on everyone because by doing so dooms many to failure. Having manageable and achievable goals is far wiser than constantly expecting people to operate above normal levels.
Does empowerment imply the loss of control?
Empowerment does not necessarily mean a loss of control but rather is the act of giving another person the power or ability to accomplish a goal or task. Leaders accomplish the act of empowering individuals by providing them with the training and ability to make decisions that they would not normally have the capability to make. When leaders empower managers and employees, they essentially give them the responsibility along with the ability to make decisions and this is rather transference of power rather than a loss. This can best be seen when a manager trains an employee to make decisions as to whether labor should be increased or decreased daily. The employee has now been empowered to make this decision and will do so taking on the responsibility.
The problem with empowering people in organizations is that managers can sometimes see this as a loss of control and fear to empower employees. The manager might fear to do this because he or she is still responsible for the proper accomplishment of the specific task or function. In this way, managers can become overwhelmed and worse yet they stifle the growth of the workforce by not allowing others to learn and grow.
Bateman, T. S., & Snell, S. A. (2009 ). Management: Leading & collaborating in a competitive world. Prentice Hall
Garn, Andrew (1999). Bethlehem Steel. Princeton Architectural Press. pp. 14.
Haag, S. Management Information Systems for the Information Age. Third Edition. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2006.
Murtazin, O. (2010). Apple’s phone: From 1980s’ sketches to iphone. part 3. Retrieved from http://mobile-review.com/articles/2010/iphone-history3-en.shtml
Triola Vincent. Thu, Apr 01, 2021. What Every Manager Needs to Build a Successful Organization Retrieved from https://vincenttriola.com/blogs/ten-years-of-academic-writing/what-every-manager-needs-to-build-a-successful-organization