The growth of businesses and the dynamism witnessed along with it has timely stressed the importance of management in today’s era. Management involves the application of resources in an optimized manner to achieve organizational goals and objectives. These resources may include time, finance, workforce, material, machinery, and other factors. Management Functions makes this achievable for the entity.
Henri Fayol defines the term Management as “to forecast and to plan, to organize, to command, to co-ordinate, and to control.”
Fredmund Malik, on the other hand, defines management as “the transformation of resources into utility.”
Mary Parker Follett defined management as a philosophy saying, “Management is the art of getting things done through people.”
The term management can be used in two contexts. Management also refers to the group of people who run an organization at the top level of the organizational hierarchy. And as explained above, management is also a process of planning, organizing, coordinating, controlling activities of the organization, both profit and non-profit, to achieve the objectives in the most effective way. Here we are studying the latter term.
Need of Management
Organizations are made up of a group of people working towards the purpose for which the organization comes into existence: the goals. They employ people, skills, material, machinery, power, money, time, and much more in the process. When all of these are at stake, it becomes imperative to set proper goals and align all the organization’s functions in the best possible way so that all the resources work to optimum utility and each element gets back its fair share of returns from the organization. Here comes the role of management. Through management, the processes right from fixing organizational goals, delegating powers, communication, aligning processes and workflow in the entity’s best interest can be done in an effective way to get maximum returns with the least risks.
All these functions that the management goes through to achieve its objectives are termed as functions of management.
Functions of Management
Management, being a process, has its functions to be performed. These functions are not separate actions to be looked upon. Most of the time, they are interrelated, and their scope of territories may overlap. One function has an impact over the other. The best management strategies can escalate an organization to another level, or bad management can also break the organization’s foundation. Hence, ‘Functions of Management’ play a vital role.
Following are the common functions of management followed worldwide, given by KOONTZ and O’DONNELL.
Planning forms the first stage of the Management process. It involves setting objectives and goals and devising strategies to achieve them. This involves forecasting the environmental conditions, analyzing the market and economic factors, preparing budgets for the project, devising plans for the future course of actions, etc.
The very first step in planning is scanning the environment. SWOT Analysis is an important part of the function. Before moving ahead with the process, it becomes imperative that Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats are studied well before framing any strategy. The management must study what its internal strengths and weaknesses are. What factors can they capitalize on, and what factors can make them vulnerable to the susceptible changes in market conditions? These, coupled with the environmental opportunities that can be leveraged for the interests and the external threats that can endanger the harmony of the entity, are to be studied in depth. This study helps map our position in the market and gets a fair idea about how the changes are going to impact the entity and to what extent. It helps to decide upon whether to be proactive or reactive to the market conditions and environmental impacts. Many external factors are non-controllable at a macro level. Still, a good plan can prevent risks and losses to a great deal, thus helping the entity survive through the worst conditions and gain revival thereafter in a very short span compared to the other market players.
Planning is not a one-time function. It has to be done continuously to implement and adapt to all the environmental influences.
Planning requires the managers to have a unique set of skills like decision-making, forecasting, analyzing, economic values, knowledge of finance, etc.
Planning, based on what hierarchical level it is conducted, is divided into three types:
- Corporate/ Strategic Planning: This is one by the top-level management and is dictated to the lower levels to frame actions accordingly. They majorly consider the vision and mission of the entity while framing strategies. These are to function over a long period.
- Tactical Planning: Usually done by the middle-level management, these plans cover a short span and derive their value through strategic plans.
- Operational Planning: Done by the supervisory level of the entity to make the tactical and strategic plans work in the best manner. These are driven by Tactical plans.
Organizing is an important function after planning that strives towards aligning business resources to achieve the set objectives through the planning functions. This includes deciding upon the organization’s structure, whether departmental or functional and emphasizing the geographical aspects of the business location and the target customers. Organizing the people, place, material, money to achieve business goals is essential to make the most of the resources.
It involves tasks like:
- Identifying processes and activities to be performed.
- Classification of activities to set them into groups of similar and dissimilar nature.
- Identifying appropriate skills to delegate responsibilities.
- Coordinating the respective authorities.
Human resource is the most important when it comes to driving the strategies towards the objectives. Even if automation and technology have replaced a huge workforce today, there is still a need for people to supervise the functioning of the automated areas in any entity.
Staffing is an HR function where the right set of skills and talent are determined for any given activity in the entity, and people possessing the same are searched for and hired by the entity. It not only involves selecting the right people but also followed by all activities relating to their training, development, remuneration, appraisals, and rewards, managing the grievances, promotions, penalties, etc.
This is a very complex function as dealing with human resources is not an easy task. Many opinions, aims, perspectives, mannerisms are to be dealt with before actually getting the perfect fit for the positions. Staffing done in the right way may decide the future of the organization. More intricacies of the same can be studied through a proper management course.
Well-planned strategies and well-organized staff are of no relevance without a good direction. Directing involves showing the right path and making the resources flow in the way the plans are prepared. A good direction leads to the synchronization of the individual goals to the organizational goals, thus deriving the optimum from the resources employed.
Goal congruence helps to direct all energies towards a single objective which enables autonomy of decisions and invokes motivation and a sense of unity towards the processes.
After achieving all the functions, it becomes important to control the processes and measure the actual outputs with the standards set. This is a measurement function wherein the management gets insights into how well the organization is performing and identifies the scope of improvements thereon.
Management is thus a set of activities to achieve organizational goals. The managers need to be driven to achieve the desired results. It is of the utmost importance throughout the entity that the goals, vision, mission, policies, and culture are dictated to everyone to understand the roles they play for the growth and development within. The functions do overlap, but they are considered in every management process and have their relevance.