The Meaning of Management

We live in a society of large and small organizations. Within these organizations people work together to accomplish goals that are too challenging to be achieved by a single individual. Throughout life, each one of us has experienced a need to interact with a variety of organizations – hospitals, schools, churches, the military, colleges, businesses, government agencies, and other types of institutions. The most significant factor in determining the performance and success of any organization is the quality of its management.

As all of us affected by good or bad management practices, we must learn to recognize and influence the quality of management that affects our lives. Managing resources, whether they are men, materials, machines, methods, markets or money is both demanding and continuous. It is however very rewarding and provides a deep sense of involvement and satisfaction for most managers. There are people who believe that management is just a matter of common sense and does not call for elaborate studies. Certainly, there is some truth to the argument that management is just the ability to make wise decisions. But there is more to management than an inborn decision making ability plus on-the-job experience. In the last 10 decades an organized body of knowledge concerning the subject has developed. This markets it possible for persons to study the subject in a formalized manner. Such a study of the management process can definitely increase one’s effectiveness as a manager.

Unless we inherit a fortune, most of us will probably choose to be employed by some type of organization. Most of you might become managers, and those who do not, are likely to be professional and technical employees such as engineers, doctors, sales people or accountants. In any case, all of us will be managed and will likely manage others at various times in our lives. Thus, it is important to address the question: What is management?

Definitions of Management:

Management is defined as a process by which managers create, direct, maintain and operate purposive organizations through systematic human effort. This term emphasizes the dynamic or ongoing nature of management which implies that change is a reality of organizational life. Thus, in management, managers create changes, adapt their organizations to changes and implement changes successfully in their organizations. Management can alternatively be defined as a distinct process consisting of activities of planning, organizing and controlling performed to determine and accomplish stated objectives with the use of human beings and other resources. In short, management is an activity that converts disorganized human and physical resources into useful and effective results.

The management Process:

Management can be looked at as the process of planning, organizing leading and controlling the resources of an organization in the efficient and effective pursuit of specified organizational goals. In the process of clarifying this definition, an analysis of the terms efficient and effective would be appropriate. An efficient manager does things right, while an effective manager does the right things. An efficient manger uses resources carefully and expertly, maximizing their application to the task at hand, while an effective manager understands the priorities of the organization and places emphasis on things critical for success. The definition also indicates management as a process of four major functions – planning, organizing, leading and controlling. These functions are generally best understood in that order only, suggesting that the manager first plans, then organizes, then leads and finally controls. However, in reality, managers seldom have the luxury of addressing these functions in such a simplified step-by-step sequence. At any one time, the typical manager is engaged in a number of different activities at the same time. The elements in the management process are the functions to be performed by managers, management levels, managerial skills and roles.