Definition and Function of Management

Unit 1:

Definition & Function of Management

1.1 Introduction

Management can be defined in various ways. In order to understand the term management we can use the following definitions.


1.2 Definitions

"Management is the art of getting things done through and with people in formally organized groups. It is the art of creating the environment in which people can perform as individuals and yet co-operate towards attainment of group's goals.

"Management is a process of coordinating all resources through the process of planning, organizing, staffing, directing, leading and controlling to achieve desired objectives with the use of human beings. (Georger Terry)

There are important terms from the above definitions of management.

  • Coordination: managers in and organization should coordinate resources to achieve objectives. Here management is a process of organizing basic resources in order to achieve desired /stated objectives i.e.,

From this we can infer that management is an activity that converts disorganized human physical resource into useful and effective results.

It is the art of removing blocks to such perform

  • The other important term of the definition is objective. Every activity of manager is directed towards goals. Objectives are the basic reasons for the establishment and/or existence of an enterprise and it could be personal or organizational.


1.3 Levels of Management

We can divide organizational members/people into two categories.

  1. Operatives: those who work directly on job or task and have no responsibility for overseeing the work of others.
  2. Managers: are those people who direct the activities of other people. They are also in a position of authority who make decision to use their skill and knowledge and the resource of others towards the achievement of organizational objectives.

Now most firms in today's world are large and complex. These two characteristics require managers to specialize in different functions and posses different levels of responsibilities. These are three levels of managers/management in an organization which are discussed as follows:

1. Top Level Management/Strategic Level of Management

They are few in numbers and includes the organizations most important managers such as boards, general managers, president, vice president, CEO and others.

  • They set company wide objectives/goals and operational policies.
  • They spend much of their time in planning (strategic) and dealing with middle level managers.
  • They work long hours and spend most of their time in meeting and on telephone.
  • The represent the organization in community affairs, business deals, government negotiation etc and direct the organization in relation to the environment.

2. Middle Level Management/ Tactical Level of Management

All managers below the rank of vice president and above the level of supervisory managers. Here the subordinates for MLM are managers. They often supervise and coordinate the activities of lower level managers.

MLM's receive broad/overall strategies from top level managers and translate it into specific objectives and plans for first line managers. The following are possible job titles for middle level management. Dean, commissioner, Bishop or Superintendent Managers.

3. First Line Management/Operational Level of Management

 It includes those who are at the operating or at the lowest level of management. Their subordinates are non-management workers. Their major responsibility is to oversee and coordinate the work of operating employees. The managerial task of FLM is to develop the best allocation of resource that produce the desired output.


1.4 Principles of Management

Many early writers sought to define the principles of management. Chief among them was a Frenchman named Henri Fayol, manager of a large coal company, who sought to discover principles of management that determine the "soundness and good working order" of the firm. Fayol was not seeking fixed rules of conduct; rather, he sought guidelines to thinking. Deciding on the appropriateness of a principle for a particular situation was, in his view, the art of management.

Fayol believed that any number of principles might exist, but he described only those he most frequently applied in his own experience. Some principles of management are:

  1. Division of Labor: work should be divided and subdivided into the smaller feasible elements to take advantage of gains from specialization.
  2. Party of Authority and Responsibility: each job holder should be delegated sufficient authority to carryout assigned job responsibilities.

  3. Discipline: Employees should obey whatever clearly stated agreements exist between them and the organization: managers should fairly sanction all instances of breached discipline.

  4. Unit of Command: employees should receive order from and be accountable to only one superior.

  5. Unity of Direction: activities that have the same purpose should be grouped together and operate under the same plan.

  6. Subordination of individual to general interests. The interest of the organization take precedence over the interest of the individual.

  7. Fair Remuneration: pay should be based on achievement of assigned job objectives.

  8. Centralization: authority should be delegated in proportion to responsibility.

  9. Scalar Chain: an unbroken chain of command should exist through which all directions and communication flow.

  10. Order: each job should be defined so that the job holder clearly understand it and its relationship to other jobs.

  11. Equity: established rules and agreements should be enforced fairly.

  12. Stability of Personnel: employees should be encouraged to establish loyalty to the organization and to make a long term commitment.

  13. Initiative: employees should be encouraged to exercise independent judgment within the bounds of their delegated authority and defined jobs.

  14. Espirit de Corps: employees should be encouraged to define their interests with those of the organizations and thereby achieve unit of effort.


1.5 Functions of Management

All managers regardless of the levels in the organization or job title perform the following five managerial functions.

  1. Planning – it is the first function that all managers perform (at different degree). It is very important because it lays down the ground work for other functions and sets the objectives of the organization. 
    "If you do not have any particular destination in mind any road will get you there."
    The planning function encompasses defining an organizations goal and developing a comprehensive hierarchy of plans to integrate and coordinate activities. In short it is deciding in advance what to do, how to do, when to do and whom to do it. In sum, planning is an intellectual process, which focuses to the future.

  2. Organizing: in order to carryout plans it is necessary to create organizations. Organizing refers to grouping activities, assigning activities, and providing authority necessary to carryout activities. Planning develops the goals and organizing creates organizational structure to reach these goals.
  3. Staffing: It refers to determining human resource needs and recruiting, selecting and training and/or development of human resource. In general it is the process of filling the gaps or job positions with the most qualified candidate.

  4. Leading: It has been termed as motivating, directing, guiding and actuating influence the members of the organizations towards the goals of the business. It is aimed at getting the members of the organizations to move in the direction that will achieve its objectives. It deals with the human factor of an organization.

  5. Controlling: after the goals are set, the plans are formulated, the structural arrangement is delineated and the peoples are hired, trained and motivated and to ensure that all these things are going on as they should be, management must monitor the organizations performance. This is the activity of controlling. It is the process of ensuring that actual activities conform to planned activities.


1.6 Summary

Management is the process undertaken by one or more individuals to coordinate the activities of others to achieve results not possible by one individual acting alone. The three levels of management as top, middle and lower level have been discussed in this unit. The fourth major principles of Fayol are also briefly examined in the unit.



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