Functions of Management Essay Sample
To a degree, most people unknowingly possess management skills. Whether arranging their individual activities or that of children and family, the process to orchestrate a day’s activity can be similar to that of managing an office. What probably differs the most is the scale on which the management skills are applied and what those skills effect. What remains a commonality, whether managing at the level of an individual or on a corporate level, is the need for a process based on the desired goal; management is the process by which to achieve a goal. There are four basic elements in managing, each playing an intricate function in how the process develops, and if the process will succeed or fail.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines planning as the act or process of making or carrying out plans and the establishment of goals, policies, and procedures for a social or economic unit (n.d.). Planning establishes a course of action, is the start point, and therefore affects each successive element of the management process. The planning process can include such elements as creating organizational goals, objectives, and developing a strategy through resources and decision-making on how best to achieve those goals. The planning phase is ongoing and remains fluid to accommodate facets of the managing and developing processes that are continually affected by various factors.
Again, using Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the best definition that reflects the purpose of organizing in management is to set up an administrative structure and to arrange elements into a whole of interdependent parts (n.d.) Organizing is essential in that it establishes and designates the order in which processes will occur. Essentials, such as the designation of the roles and responsibilities of personnel, departmental functions, and standard operating procedures, provide the business rudiments of who, what, when, and how.
Leading is described in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as guiding someone or something along the way (n.d). There are interpersonal skills and communicative talents to influencing others to achieve a common goal. Leading is a pivotal area in management because leading and managing are not necessarily the same. Not all managers are good leaders, nor are all leaders good managers; managing is merely the ability of oversight; leading is the ability to persuade others to perform functions with a common objective. The art of leading comes from the ability to lead without the obvious demarcation distinguishing leaders and the led.
The definition provided by Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary best describes control as exercising restraining or directing influence over (n.d.), Controlling is a facet of the management process that influences the course of action taken to achieve the desired goal. The planning and organizing processes will provide that which determines what control measures should be instituted and, again, is fluid because controlling measures may need to be adjusted to accommodate varying circumstances.
Organizational Comparisons of Management Functions
As a retiree, I am currently not a member of an organization, but that does not mean that I cannot identify with or do not use management skills. As a student enrolled in the University of Phoenix, I face challenges in which a degree of management is necessary to complete assignments in a team environment. With the goal of assignment completion, planning must be developed, assignment organization, considerations of leading approaches, and control measures to determine if the objectives to goal accomplishment are being met.
Before retiring, I was a member of the United States Army and a manager for approximately 56 personnel. I dealt with many aspects of management on levels not conceivable in the civilian sector due to the hierarchy in the military. Whereas my civilian counterpart may be responsible for workplace performance exclusively, a military manager either will be responsible for the health, welfare, personal and career performance of an employee. The Army takes the process of management seriously and ensures that those in positions in which supervisory skills would be required are provided at least the elementary skills and knowledge to perform as managers.
Further development of, and additional, management skills are gained through on-the-job-experience and various management positions. Management requirements can vary in the military, based on location and position. Whereas there may be two managers of equal rank, the knowledge and methods of management vastly differ in relation to the location and mission requirements. The belief and knowledge that leaders are made and not born is still an area of dispute. A consideration as equally important is the awareness that there must be followers and that by human design and need not everyone can be a manager or leader.
In the management process each aspect can lead back to the other because, although they progress in succession, they are interdependent upon the other elements of the process. A plan can be devised but not implemented without organizing, not organized without leaders, and not led without control. Given the right tools, anyone can be a manager to a degree, but success and accomplishment is what determines if management has truly been achieved.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2006, from http://www.m-w.com/