This article explores the various important facets of management such as its definition, characteristics, and evolution.
It delves into the different interpretations of management as a process, activity, group, and science, as well as its facets as an art and a profession.
The article provides a comprehensive overview of the key elements that make up the discipline of management.
What is Management?
Management can be defined as the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the work of others to achieve specific goals and objectives. Here are few definitions of management by renowned experts and researchers:
- Henri Fayol: “Management is the art of getting things done through and with people in formally organized groups.”
- Peter Drucker: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
- Stephen Covey: “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”
- James D. Thompson: “Management is the organizational process that includes strategic planning, setting objectives, managing resources, deploying the human and financial assets needed to achieve objectives, and measuring results.”
- Mary Parker Follett: “Management is the art of getting things done through people.”
Why Good Management should be both Effective and Efficient?
Good management is both effective and efficient because they are complementary and interdependent aspects of managing an organization.
Efficiency refers to doing things in the best possible way using the least amount of resources. It involves the optimal use of time, money, and people to achieve specific goals and objectives. Efficiency is important because it helps organizations save resources and increase profits.
Effectiveness, on the other hand, refers to the extent to which the objectives of the organization are met. It is concerned with whether the right things are being done to achieve the desired results. Effectiveness is important because it helps organizations determine if they are making progress towards their goals and if they are delivering value to their stakeholders.
Both effectiveness and efficiency are important for good management because they help organizations achieve their goals and objectives in the most cost-effective manner. Effective management involves making the right decisions and taking the right actions to achieve goals. Efficient management involves implementing those decisions and actions in the most cost-effective way possible.
Good management requires balancing both effectiveness and efficiency to achieve desired results in the most cost-effective manner.
How different management perspectives make it dynamic?
Management as a Process
Management is often referred to as a process because it involves a series of interrelated activities that are performed in a logical and systematic manner to achieve specific goals and objectives.
The process of management typically involves planning, organizing, leading, and controlling resources to achieve desired outcomes.
For example, the process of managing a construction project involves defining the project goals, organizing the work, allocating resources, and monitoring progress to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.
George R. Terry‘s definition of management highlights several important aspects of the process of management.
- Management as a Social Process: The definition states that management is concerned with developing relationships among people. This is because people are the most important resource in any organization, and effective management requires building effective relationships with employees, customers, and other stakeholders. By fostering positive relationships and promoting collaboration, management can create a productive and supportive work environment that helps employees to achieve organizational goals.
- Management as an Integrating Process: Management is also described as an integrating process because it involves bringing together various resources, such as human, physical, and financial resources, to achieve organizational objectives. The role of management is to coordinate these resources and ensure that they are working together effectively. For example, a manager may need to coordinate the work of several departments, allocate resources to different projects, and resolve conflicts between employees to achieve organizational goals.
- Management as a Continuous Process: Finally, Terry’s definition emphasizes that management is a continuous process that is never ending. This means that management is constantly adapting to changing circumstances and addressing new problems and opportunities as they arise. The process of management involves ongoing monitoring and evaluation of progress, making adjustments to plans and strategies as needed, and taking action to achieve desired outcomes. For example, a manager may need to regularly review performance data and make changes to improve efficiency or address emerging issues in the workplace.
Terry’s definition of management highlights the importance of the social, integrating, and continuous aspects of the process of management. Effective management requires building relationships with people, integrating various resources, and continuously adapting to changing circumstances in order to achieve organizational goals.
Management as an Activity
Management can also be viewed as an activity that involves performing various tasks and functions to achieve specific objectives. It is an ongoing process that involves constantly monitoring and adjusting plans, organizing resources, and leading people to achieve desired outcomes.
For example, the activity of managing a restaurant involves tasks such as ordering supplies, scheduling employees, and ensuring that customers are satisfied.
According to Koontz, “Management is what a manager does.” This definition highlights the practical and hands-on nature of management as an activity.
- Informational Activities: The first aspect of management as an activity is informational activities. This refers to the constant flow of information between managers and other stakeholders, such as employees, customers, and suppliers. Effective management requires effective communication and the ability to gather, analyze, and use information to make informed decisions. For example, a manager may need to receive regular reports from employees on their progress and give feedback to help them improve their performance.
- Decisional Activities: The second aspect of management as an activity is decisional activities. Management involves making decisions about how to allocate resources, resolve problems, and achieve goals. Managers are constantly making decisions about how to allocate resources, resolve problems, and achieve goals. For example, a manager may need to decide on the best media and content for advertising, or whether to give bonuses to employees.
- Inter-personal Activities: The final aspect of management as an activity is inter-personal activities. Management requires working with people and building effective relationships with employees, customers, and other stakeholders. This requires the ability to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and motivate people to achieve goals. For example, a manager may need to provide support and guidance to employees, address any concerns they have, and maintain good relationships with them.
Koontz’s definition of management as what a manager does highlights the practical and hands-on nature of management as an activity. Effective management requires engaging in informational activities, making decisions, and building relationships with people. By doing these things, managers can achieve organizational goals and lead their organizations to success.
Management as a Discipline
Management is also considered a discipline because it involves the study and application of principles and techniques related to managing organizations.
It is a field of study that involves both theoretical and practical knowledge and involves subjects such as human resource management, financial management, and marketing management.
For example, studying management as a discipline may involve learning about various theories and models related to leadership, decision-making, and motivation.
Management as a Group
Management can also be seen as a group of individuals who are responsible for overseeing and directing the work of others. This group of individuals is typically responsible for defining goals and objectives, developing plans, and allocating resources to achieve desired outcomes.
For example, the management group of a large corporation may consist of a CEO, several vice presidents, and department heads.
Management as a group can be looked at in two different ways. Firstly, it can refer to all managers taken together, regardless of their level or department. Secondly, it can refer specifically to the top management, which includes the highest-level executives in an organization.
The interpretation of management as a group depends on the context in which the term is used. In general, there are three types of managers:
- Patrimonial/Family Managers: These are managers who have become managers due to their relationship to the owner of a company, such as being a family member.
- Professional Managers: These are managers who have been appointed due to their specialized knowledge and education. They are trained in management principles and practices and bring expertise to the organization.
- Political Managers/Civil Servants: These are managers who work in the public sector, such as in government-owned organizations or agencies.
Regardless of the type of manager, they form part of an elite group in society and often enjoy a higher standard of living compared to others. This is a result of their positions of authority and the responsibilities that come with managing complex organizations and their resources.
Management as a Science
Management is often referred to as a science because it involves the systematic application of knowledge and techniques to achieve specific goals and objectives.
It involves the use of scientific methods and data analysis to make decisions and solve problems related to managing organizations.
The scientific approach to management may involve using statistical methods to analyze data related to employee performance or customer satisfaction.
For example, if an organization implements the principle of proper delegation of authority, it can be predicted that it will result in better utilization of resources and increase in productivity. This principle is valid and has stood the test of time, as it has been proven to be effective in various organizations.
It is important to note that, like science, management is constantly evolving and new principles and theories are being developed with advancements in technology, organizational structure, and societal norms. Hence, management as a science is a dynamic field, where principles are constantly being updated, tested and refined.
Management as an Art
Management can also be viewed as an art because it involves the use of creativity and intuition in making decisions and solving problems. It involves the application of personal skills and judgment to achieve desired outcomes.
For example, the art of management may involve using creativity to motivate employees, resolve conflicts, and make decisions that are in the best interests of the organization.
The various facets of Management as an art include:
Skills – Management is an art that requires a combination of technical, human, and conceptual skills. Managers need to be skilled in areas such as decision making, problem solving, communication, delegation, leadership, and negotiation.
Creativity – The ability to think outside the box, to identify new and innovative solutions to problems, and to approach challenges in unique and imaginative ways is crucial in the field of management.
Knowledge – In order to effectively manage people and resources, managers need to have a solid understanding of the industry, the organization, and the various functions within the organization. This requires a broad base of knowledge in areas such as finance, operations, human resources, marketing, and strategy.
Goals – Effective management involves setting clear goals and objectives, and then using available resources to achieve these goals. The manager must have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and be able to communicate this vision to others in a way that inspires and motivates them to action.
Judgment – Good management requires the ability to make sound decisions based on a careful analysis of the available information. This requires a strong sense of judgment, the ability to weigh the pros and cons of different options, and the courage to make difficult decisions when necessary.
Flexibility – Effective management requires the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, to respond to new challenges and opportunities as they arise, and to remain flexible in the face of adversity. This requires an open mind, a willingness to embrace change, and the ability to adjust plans as needed to achieve success.
Perfection through practice is a key aspect of management as an art. It means that the manager continuously improves their skills and knowledge through consistent practice and experience.
This can involve learning from successes and failures, seeking feedback and continuously developing new strategies to solve problems.
The goal is to achieve a level of excellence and expertise in the management role through continuous learning and refinement of one’s skills and techniques.
This requires a combination of creativity, intuition, and experience, as well as the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and to use different management techniques to achieve different goals.
Management as a Profession
Management is also considered a profession because it involves the application of specialized knowledge and skills to achieve specific goals and objectives.
It is a career that requires education, training, and experience, and is governed by a code of ethics and standards of practice.
For example, becoming a professional manager may involve obtaining a degree in business administration or management, and gaining practical experience in various management roles.
Management as a profession is characterized by the following aspects:
Specialized knowledge – Management requires specialized knowledge and skills which can be obtained through formal education and training. A professional manager must have an in-depth understanding of various subjects like finance, marketing, human resource management, operations management, etc.
Formal education and training – Management as a profession requires formal education and training, which can be obtained through various degree programs like BBA, MBA, etc. In addition to formal education, there are various certification programs and workshops that provide training to individuals and help them to keep themselves updated with the latest management practices.
Social obligations – Management is a social responsibility and a professional manager must consider the impact of their decisions on various stakeholders like employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, and the community. A professional manager must act ethically and responsibly while making decisions.
Code of conduct – Professional managers must adhere to a code of conduct that defines the ethical standards and principles that they are expected to follow. This code of conduct lays down the basic principles of honesty, integrity, and accountability that must be followed by all professional managers.
Representative associations – There are various representative associations for management professionals like Institute of Management (IM), Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), Institute of Management Studies (IMS), etc. These organizations provide training, support, and networking opportunities to the professionals and help them in enhancing their skills and knowledge.
Continuous learning and development – Management as a profession requires continuous learning and development. A professional manager must keep themselves updated with the latest trends, best practices, and technologies to stay relevant and competitive in the industry.
Certification – Management professionals can obtain certifications like Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT), etc. These certifications demonstrate the professional’s commitment to their profession and help them in advancing their careers.
The Bottom Line
Management is a vital aspect of any organization that plays a crucial role in determining its success. It is a process of planning, organizing, actuating and controlling to achieve stated objectives through the use of human beings and other resources.
Management is both an art and a science, and its importance cannot be overemphasized. It is a continuous process that requires integration of all resources, including human, physical, and financial, to achieve organizational goals.
As a profession, management requires specialized knowledge, formal education and training, and adherence to a code of conduct.
Through practice and continuous improvement, managers can refine their skills and achieve success.
Overall, effective management is crucial for the success and growth of any organization, and it is essential to understand its various aspects and practices.