Control is one of the four main function of management - these are:
- Planning: including decision making and objective setting.
- Organizing: including recruiting.
- Leading or Motivating
The control function consists of monitoring how the work being managed is being carried out, comparing it with the plans and objectives set in the former three function and taking corrective action in case need for the same is detected. Corrective action may be required because the work is not progressing as planned, or because the plans may have been faulty.
Poor control in business means one or more of the following:
- Managers do not know adequately how the work is progressing, or what results are being achieved.
- There is inadequate or no comparison of actual performance with plans, objectives, targets and expectations. Thus managers have no way of judging if the work is being carried out satisfactorily.
- There is inadequate or no investigation in to causes of deviation from plans and expectations.
- Managers do not take corrective action to improve performance.
The primary consequence of poor control is failure to achieve business objectives and overall poor business performance. Managers are unable to anticipate problems or identify them in early stages of development. As a result they are unable to take corrective actions in time and find themselves busy solving immediate problems all the time. Thus they are too busy in fire fighting to be able to take action for fire prevention.
Likewise managers are unable to spot budding opportunities and are therefore unable to profit from it. Another major characteristic of organization with poor control is frequent ad hoc changes in plans and priorities. These create uncertainties for the all stake holders such as employees, customers, and suppliers. Also, the organizational culture in businesses with poor control is that of blaming each other, rather than cooperating. It becomes difficult to differentiate between good and sincere workers from other and morale among the employees is generally low.