The successful manager capably performs four basic managerial functions: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Most managers perform these functions more or less simultaneously — rather than in a rigid, preset order — to achieve company goals. In this text we briefly examine the four functions without looking at their interrelationships. Throughout the text frequent references to the relationships among them help explain exactly how managers do their jobs.
Planning. In general,planning involves defining organizational goals and proposing ways to reach them. Managers plan for three reasons: (1) to establish an overall direction for the organization's future, such as increased profit, expanded market share, and social responsibility; (2) to identify and commit the organization's resources to achieving its goals; and (3) to decide which activities are necessary to do so.
Organizing. After managers have prepared plans, they must translate those relatively abstract ideas into reality. Sound organization is essential to this effort. Organizing is the process of creating a structure of relationships that will enable employees to carry out management's plans and meet its goals. By organizing effectively, managers can better coordinate human and material resources. An organization's success depends largely on management's ability to utilize those resources efficiently and effectively.
Organizing involves setting up departments and job descriptions. In this sense, staffing proceeds directly from planning and organizing. For example, the U.S. Postal Service uses a different type of structure than does UPS (United Parcel Service). At the U.S. Postal Service, most employees think of themselves as production workers. Relatively little attention is paid to the marketing function. Most of the decisions are made by top managers, with mail carriers and postal clerks having little to do with decision making. Carriers and clerks are promoted to jobs as they gain seniority, and the degree of job specialization is low.
In contrast, UPS is organized into two distinct divisions: an airline and a ground carrier. The ground carriers also are the people who have the most customer contact. But the truck drivers do not fly airplanes nor do the pilots drive the trucks. Parcel sorters are located in major hubs throughout the world and sort, parcels for delivery by drivers. At UPS, the degree of job specialization is high.
Leading. After management has made plans, created a structure, and hired the right personnel, someone must lead the organization. Some managers call this process directing or influencing. Whatever it's called,leading involves communicating with and motivating others to perform the tasks necessary to achieve the organization's goals. And leading isn't done only after planning and organizing end; it is crucial to those functions, too.
Controlling. The process by which a person, group, or organization consciously monitors performance and takes corrective action iscontrolling. Phil Knight is CEO of NIKE, the global athletic apparel and shoe company based in Oregon, with sales of over $3-8 billion. He likes to point out to his employees that of the 500 companies listed in Fortune in 1980, only 200 remain on that list today and NIKE ranks twenty-eighth. Why? Knight believes that it's NIKE's competitive spirit, ability to respond to customers' needs with diverse and genuine products, and its control procedures. NIKE establishes budgets for each shoe line, such as cross-training, aerobic, walking, basketball, and football, and holds employees responsible for meeting production and financial goals. If a shoe line can't meet its goals, the line is replaced. Knight also spends time traveling globally, visiting retailers. He reinforces the message that a retailer in Singapore or Shanghai is just as important as one in New York City and that every consumer can count on a consistent commitment to quality.
In the control process, managers:
• set standards of performance;
• measure current performance against those standards,
• take action to correct any deviations, and
• adjust the standards if necessary.
Just as a thermostat sends signals to a heating system that the room temperature is too high or too low, so a control system sends signals to managers that things aren't working as planned and that corrective action is needed.
The relative importance of each managerial function varies by management level and from one organization to another. The personality, achievements, and ambitions of a manager will also affect the relative importance of each function.
2. Answer the questions:
1. What reason do managers perform their functions for?
2. Why do managers need planning?
3. Why does an organization`s success depend largely on the function of organizing?