Four Functions of Management Essay Sample

Good and effective management is vital to the dynamics of a forward moving society. This is true in all organizations, including business and government. Society could function with ineffective managers and management to some extent but not to its optimum. ‘Good’ management can map out a path to success whereas poor management may lead to failure and possible collapse. By considering the roles of a successful manager we can learn that they are carried out continually in society and it is in fact managers that implement them. French managerial scholar Henri Fayol identified the roles of a successful manager.

The “process approach” identifies these. It states that managers perform four main roles, those of planning, organizing, leading and controlling (Robbins, Coulter, 2003). Every management decision is a result of the application of one or more of these roles. Without a manager to plan, organize, lead and control an organization, what would be the effect on society? Considering a manager’s fulfillment of these basic four roles and the impact these have on society will provide us with an understanding that, as Henry Mintzberg stated, “No job is more vital to society than that of the manager.” (Cheathouse 1).

Breaking down the roles that a manager carries out and considering examples of what was seen at Northwood’s mall will show that these roles are vital to society and we need managers to make things happen.


Planning is a crucial management function, which charts an organization’s direction. It involves “defining organizational objectives and then articulating strategies, tactics and objectives that are necessary to achieve these objectives.” (Robbins, Coulter, 2003). A manager does this by setting goals and deciding how to achieve them. The May company Famous Barr set out with the plan to “become a leader in the retail industry”. This was to be achieved by having customer focused operations and proficient staff. By mapping out their goals and objectives, Famous Barr had a base on which to achieve (

Governments and political parties must also have a clear plan and direction. Their planning includes considering the policies to adopt and views they take on certain issues. If a political party set out with no plans, they would not have clear objectives and direction. The result would clearly be failure as a party to succeed.

Without planning, it would be difficult for any organization or even society as a whole to achieve and progress. An organization would be directionless, susceptible to change (Robbins, Coulter, 2003 p.189). Plans outline goals and missions and if there was no planning, goals would not be set. Planning is vital to society and it is the role of the manager.


Another role of a manager is that of organizing. Organizing is the process of arranging work and resources to achieve goals. This is done by establishing a formal framework by which jobs are divided, grouped and coordinated. (Robbins, Coulter, 2003 pg256). A manager does this by assigning tasks and responsibilities in a way that enables employees to do their work efficiently and effectively and to achieve the organizations goals.

An example of a company I saw at Northwood’s Mall using organizational structure to improve performance is Steak Escape. The employees interconnected as if they were a family. The manager on duty was instructing his employees on the right way of getting there goals done in a productive and organized matter.

When managers used organizational structure, there was increased productivity. Each employee was dealt with issues they were skilled and qualified at. Management use of the organization function resulted in the company achieving its goals.


The role of leading has proven to be important to society. In his book “The Nature of Managerial Work”, managerial scholar Henry Mintzberg defined leading as the ability to influence a group towards the achievements of goals. It is the “getting it done” part of the management process. Managers do this by motivating people to accomplish the task through coaching and praise. They also make key decisions that enable tasks to be completed (Robbins, Coulter, 2003 pg256).

I saw an example of a leader performing this function at the store Hallmark. It is the “manager” who makes important decisions in a time of crisis. They must lead the employees and motivate. If the manager did not perform the management process of leading, decisions would not be made and customer satisfaction would be affected. A lack of leadership would result in an unmotivated and misdirected employee. If there is an absence of effective leadership, a business will suffer. Without leadership there is no direction for an organization. Leadership is necessary in society and managers are required to apply leadership skills.


What of the role of controlling? Controlling enables managers to see if the organization is achieving its goals (Robbins, Coulter, 2003 pg496). Managers do this by monitoring performance and making changes if necessary. By measuring performance, managers can compare current performance against standards. If these are not met they can then take corrective action.

An example of a lack of control was seeing employees at Express sitting on the counter, doing there nails, and talking on the phone.

Management in this case did not properly monitor the employees’ performance, and if this continues the lack of customers has a likely hood of causing a decrease in sales resulting in the closer of the business. Because of this failure to monitor performance, Express management will not able to make the changes and take corrective action. These actions could prevent the company’s collapse. Having a manager properly carry out the controlling function ensures that the organization is achieving the goals and plans it originally set.

An evaluation and consideration of the management functions of planning, organizing, leading and controlling make it evident that as Mintzberg stated “managers are the most vital role of society. Society could function, but not as well as it could with effective managers.” Without managers, goals would not be set and plans would not be made. The absence of leadership seen during the meeting at Northwood’s Mall would make it difficult to lead and influence a group toward achieving goals. Lack of control in an organization or society would result in resources being abused and it only being noticed when it is too late. Not having managers applying these processes would have a detrimental effect on society. (cheathouse essay_id=13909)


Mintzberg, Henry. The Nature of Managerial Work. Publisher: Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1980, ©1973

Robbins, Stephen P and Coulter, Mary, (2003). Management (7th ed.)

Loadstone. “No job is more vital to society than that of the manager.” (Henry Mintzberg). Discuss.. CheatHouse. Marts 26, 2003. Tuesday, 20 April 2004: 7:07 pm