Explain to what extent the four management functions are related and similar.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The total work of management is often divided in four broad functions. These are:

  1. Planning and/or decision making
  2. Organizing, including staffing
  3. Motivating/leading
  4. Controlling

These four functions are very distinct but closely interrelated. These functions are generally carried out in the sequence of steps presented above. At the same time these are iterative steps. That is, after a manager has completed one step and moved to another, he or she may revisit an earlier step in response to the developments occurring in subsequent steps. Also management is an ongoing process, and therefore these steps are performed in a repetitive cycle in a spiralling pattern.

In the planning and decision making step they determine the objectives they need to pursue in managing the work under their jurisdiction, and how this work needs to be performed to achieve this objectives.

The objectives and plans worked out in step one have direct bearing on the next step,that is organizing. In this the managers decide on the organization structure of people who will carry out the plans worked out in step. Obviously this organization structure including the total sizes and nature of duties performed by individuals will depend very much on the nature of work to be performed as dictated by planning. The staffing of people including their selection and training must take into account the nature of the duties to be performed by them Thus the organizing is closely related to planning.

Organizing function, in turn is closely related to both planning and organizing. The motivation and leading of the people aims to achieve at the objective set, and implement plans prepared in step one. Also the exact nature of motivating and leading actions is heavily dependent on type of people working in the organization and their relationships with others in the organization.

The controlling function which includes monitoring the actual performance, comparing it with plans, and taking corrective action, ties down all the three previous steps. The performance is monitored in terms of objectives and plans set in step one also it is compared with these to determine if any corrective action is required. The most effective way of monitoring and control takes into account the responsibilities of individual employees as per the organization structure. Further, the control action including the reward and punishment meted out to individuals in response to assessment of their performance is a very important ingredient of motivating and leading function. Also the the monitoring and comparison of actual performance against plans and objectives, itself is an important tool for motivation. Finally, the controlling function forms the starting point for the subsequent cycles of the four management functions.

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