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Understanding Management – Concepts, Nature, Features, Functions

Concepts of Management

There are basically two concepts of Management

Traditional Concept - According to traditional concept Management refers to getting things done through others.

Modern Concept - Traditional concept has gone a sea change & today in modern world the concept of Management is creating an internal environment at work place where employees would work hand in hand in groups & perform effectively & efficiently towards the achievement of group goals.

Nature of management

  • Purposive activity -Management is always aimed at achieving certain Specified objectives. It is a tool which helps efficient use of human & physical resources to accomplish predetermined goals.
  • Pervasive in nature -It’s primary in nature that means whenever more than one person is involved or engaged in the working for a common goal, Management is required.
  • Continuous process- No day can come when an organization can claim that they don’t require Management
  • Universal activity- It is neither confined to any geographical nor to any organization.

Features of Management

  • Goal Oriented – The purpose of management is to achieve certain goals. If an objective of a company is to earn profit, its activities should be managed in such a way that it reduces cost of production etc.
  • Group activity – Management is considered as group activity. Every objective or goal is a common goal & efforts are made by all to achieve it.
  • Creation of conducive work environment – It is creation of an internal environment where people gets motivation & encouragement to perform their best.
  • Establishment of relationship among resources – Management activities constitutes establishment of relationships among the resources which includes Money, Material, Machine & Men.
  • Establishment of industrial peace – With the help of efficient management industrial peace can be established & good will can be created. It will be possible for the management to inspire & motivate the workers by adopting various measures, viz. employment through scientific method, provision for promotion through proper training, providing jobs on the basis of capacity & quality, payment of wages etc. All these leads to industrial peace.
  • Overall development – Proper utilization of natural resources, providing satisfaction to the consumers through supply of goods of proper quality, creation of environment conducive to development of workers efficiency’ & skill, improved method of production & distribution etc. are the indices of welfare to the society & country at a large.

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Importance of studying Management

In our modern society management occupies a very important role. Whatever may be the size of business undertakings, whatever may be its type, the indispensability of management is beyond questionable. Modern management ensures to create competitive advantage through people :

  1. Top performing companies recognize the importance of the way they treat their work forces.
  2. These companies use ideas such as employee satisfaction, selective recruiting, performance based wages, reduction of status differences, sharing information, self managed teams, training & skill development etc.
  3. Investing in people will create long – lasting competitive advantages that are difficult for other companies to duplicate.
  4. Sound management practices can produce substantial advantages in sales, revenues, & customer satisfaction.
  5. Poorly performing companies that adopted management techniques as simple as setting expectations, coaching, & rewarding were able to substantially improve return on investment.
  6. Good management can increase customer satisfaction because employees tend to treat customers the same way that their managers treat them.

Functions of Management

According to Koontz O'Donnell, Functions of Management are as follows -


  • Determining goals
  • Finding alternative course of action
  • Comparison of both
  • Selecting the most suitable course for the organization.


  • Division of work
  • Grouping of identical jobs
  • Granting of authority
  • Establishing responsibility
  • Creating accountability


Guiding the subordinates towards the achievement of organizational goals


  • Managers assess the staff requirements to achieve the objectives & arrange to recruit & train the staff.


  • Setting standards
  • Measuring actual performance
  • Comparing actual performance with standard
  • Finding deviation
  • Locating the cause/s for the same
  • Taking remedial actions if required

Luther Gullick has used the word PODSCORB to denote the functions of management, where P- Planning, O- Organizing, D- Directing, S- Staffing, CO- Coordinating, R- Reporting & B- Budgeting

Functions of Management can also be classified under various levels of Management viz. Top level, Middle level, and Lower level.

Functions of Top level Management

  • Lays down objectives of the enterprise
  • Prepares strategic plans & policies for the enterprise
  • Co-ordinates the activities of various departments
  • Builds & maintains relations with outside public

Function of Middle level Management

  • Puts the top level management’s plan into practice
  • Co- ordinates functions of various division.
  • Gives guidance & direction to low level management
  • Prepares reports about progress of divisions

Functions of Low level Management

  • To co-operate in smooth functioning of the organization
  • To provide necessary material to workers
  • To solve problems of workers
  • To supervise workers
  • To communicate their problems to higher authorities

To meet the many demands of performing their functions, managers assume multiples roles. Henry Mintzberg has identified 10 roles common to the work of all managers.

The following table summarizes Mintzberg’s Managerial Roles in nutshell

Mintzberg’s Managerial Roles Role Description Example of identifiable Activities
Interpersonal Figurehead Symbolic head: obliged to perform a number of routine duties of a legal or social nature Greeting visitors ;Signing legal documents
Leader Responsible for the motivation of subordinates: responsible for staffing training, & associated duties. Performing virtually all activities that involve subordinates
Liaison Maintains self developed network of outside contacts & informers who provides favor & information Acknowledging mails
Informational Monitor Seeks & receives wide variety of internal & external information to develop through understanding of organization & environment Reading periodicals & reports;maintaining personal contacts
Disseminator Transmits information received from outsiders or from subordinates to members of organization Holding information meetings ; making phone calls to relay information
Spokesperson Transmits information to outsiders on organization’s plans, policies, actions & result Organizing strategy & review sessions that involves disturbances & crisis.
Decisional Entrepreneur Searches organizations & it’s environment for opportunities & initiates “improvement projects” to bring about changes Organizing strategy & review sessions to develop new programs
Disturbance handler Responsible for corrective action when organization faces important, unexpected disturbances Organizing strategy & review session that involve disturbances & crises
Resource allocator Responsible for the allocation of organizational resources of all kinds – making or approving all significant organizational decisions Scheduling; requesting authorization; performing any activity that involves budgeting and the programming of subordinate’s work
Negotiator Responsible for representing the organization at major negotiations Participating in union contract negotiations

In order to perform the functions of management & to assume multiple roles, managers must be skilled. Robert Katz identified 3 managerial skills that are essential to successful management:

Technical – Involves process or technique, knowledge & proficiency. Managers use the process, techniques & tools of a specific area. This is the job of supervisors.

Human – Ability to interact effectively with people. Managers interact & cooperate with employees. This is the job of middle management.

Conceptual – Formulation of ideas. Managers understand abstract relationships, develop ideas & solve problems creatively. This job is done primarily by top management.

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