Functions of Managers

The functions of managers provide a useful structure for organizing management knowledge. There have been no ideas, research findings, or techniques that cannot readily be placed in the classifications of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling.

Planning involves selecting missions and objectives and the actions to achieve them; it requires decision making, which is choosing future courses of action from the alternatives. There are various types of plans, ranging from overall purposes and objectives to the most detailed actions to be taken, such as ordering a special stainless steel bolt for an instrument or hiring and training workers for an assembly line. No real plan exists until a decision a commitment of human or material resources or reputation has been made. Before a decision is made, all that exists is a planning study, an analysis or a proposal; there is no real plan. The various aspects of planning further..

People working together in groups to achieve some goal  must have roles to play, much like the parts actors fill in a drama, whether these roles are the ones they develop themselves, are accidental or haphazard or are defined and structure by someone who wants to make sure that people contribute in a specific  way to group effort. The concept of a role implies that what people do have a definite purpose or objective; they know how their job objective fits into group effort, and they have the necessary authority, tools and information to accomplish the task.

This can be seen in as simple a group effort as setting up camp on a fishing expedition. Everyone could do anything he or she wanted to do, but activity would almost certainly be more effective and certain tasks would be less likely to be left undone if one or two persons were given the job of gathering firewood, others the assignment of getting water, a few others the task of starting a fire, the job of cooking and so on.

Organizing then, is that part of managing that involves establishing an intentional structure of roles for people to fill in an organization. It is intentional in the sense of making sure that all the tasks necessary to accomplish goals are assigned, and it is hoped, assigned to people who can execute them best.

The purpose of an organization structure is to help in creating an environment for human performance.

Designing an effective organization structure is not an easy managerial task. Many problems are encountered in making structures fit situations, including both defining the kinds of jobs that must be done and finding the people to do them.

Staffing involves filling, and keeping filled, the positions in the organizational structure. This is done by identifying work force requirements, inventorying the people available, and recruiting, selecting, placing, promoting appraising , planning the careers of, compensating and training or otherwise developing both candidates and current jobholders so that tasks  are accomplished effectively  and efficiently.

Leading is influencing people so that they will contribute to the organization and group goals it has to do predominantly with the interpersonal   aspect of managing. All managers would agree that their most important problems arise from people – their desires and attitudes to their behaviour as individuals and in groups and those  effective managers also need to be effective leaders. Since leadership implies followership and people tend to follow those who offer a means of satisfying their own needs, wishes and desires, it is understandable that leading involves motivation, leadership styles and approaches and communication.

Controlling is measuring and correcting individual and organizational performance to ensure that events conform to plans. It involves measuring performance against goals and plans, showing where deviations from standards exist and helping to correct deviations from standards. In short, controlling facilitates the accomplishment of plans. Although planning must precede controlling, plans are not self- achieving. Plans guide managers in the use of resources to accomplish specific goals, then activities are checked to determine whether they conform to the plans.

Control activities generally relate to the measurement of achievement. Some means of controlling like the   budget for expenses, inspection records, and the record of labour hours lost are generally familiar. Each measures, and each shows whether plans are working out. If deviations persist correction is indicated. But what is corrected? Nothing can be done about reducing scrap, for example, or buying according to specifications or handling sales returns unless one knows who is responsible for these functions Compelling events to conform to plans means locating the persons who are responsible for results that differ from planned action and them taking the necessary steps to improve performance. Thus, outcomes are controlled by controlling what people do.

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