What are the main management functions common to all managers? How these are influenced by levels of managerial hierarchy?
Management consists of several core functions of management. The list of these functions prepared by different authors and experts may differ to some extent from each other, but the basic the overall nature of management implicit in these different lists remains the same. The most common classification of management function includes the following four functions.
Planning covers the process of objectives and deciding on actions to be taken to achieve these objectives. Organizing is the process of designing and developing structure of relationships between members of the team or group assigned to carry out the planned tasks, and filling and keeping filled the positions in the organization. Leading refers to motivating, directing and guiding people in the organization It involves ensuring that the people in the organization are willing and capable of performing the required tasks. Controlling involves ascertaining the actual results and situation of the organization and taking corrective action when significant deviations from expectations occur.
These management functions are common to all managers at different levels in organizational hierarchy. However, the importance and of each oh these function and the effort managers need to put in, is influenced significantly by the hierarchical level of managers.
Although, an organization may have half a dozen or more levels in the management hierarchy for the purpose of analysis and study these are often grouped in three levels.
1. Top-management: This refers to the top one or two hierarchical levels in the organization structure. Managers at these levels have responsibilities for the total organizational performance covering multiple business activities.
2. Middle-management: These are the managers between the top- and first-level management. They generally do not have the responsibility for more than one type of business activity, and even within that may be responsible for only a segment of the total work in the organization.
3. First-level-management: They are at the lowest one or two levels of management hierarchy. They are the people responsible for directly supervising the work of operational staff, and form a link between them and the management.
As we move down the organizational hierarchy, from top to the first-level managers, the total proportion of effort on management work tends to decrease. Within management work, the effort spent on planning and controlling functions tends to decrease, and on leading function tends to increase, as we move down the organizational hierarchy. There is a drop in amount of organizing effort requirement also with decreasing level of organization hierarchy, but much less pronounced drop in comparison to that for planning and leading.
"To manage is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control." - Henry Fayol.
There are five basic functions of a manager, planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling.
"A plan is a trap laid to trap the future."- Allen.
Planning is the primary and pervasive function of management that is preliminary to all other functions. it regards to deciding the course of action. it merely means "what is to be done, when it is to be done and how it is to be done."
Planning includes choosing objectives, communicating them, identifying the planning premises and survey the resources. It also includes choosing alternatives and employing them, setting budgets, course of action, rules, policies, procedures, time table, and the standards.
Organizing is the second function of a manager whereby it is the responsibility of the manager to accumulate resources and dividing the activities required.
It includes the following:
Identifying actions, dividing the activities, assigning the responsibilities, delegating authority, and keeping a thorough eye on the the way things are done.
"Staffing is the process by which a manager builds an organization by recruitment, selection and development of individuals as employees." - M.C. Farland.
Staffing is a very descriptive and elongated activity, it not only includes the recruitment of employees after determining the needs of organization, but also orientation, training, performance appraisal, promotion, compensation, and termination are a part of this function.
Leading is another major function of a manager whereby he sets rules, gives orders, supervises the staff, counsels the employees, and directs them in the way of achievement of objectives of organization.
Controlling is the last function of the manager but not the least. Controlling is required at all stages and after each and every function to ensure that all the activities are being done in the prescribed manner and paying off in the best way possible. it includes testing employee performance according to the standards set by the management, discovering reasons for low efficiency, employing people to discover the causes and factors, and finally finding out ways to better the situation and performance of the employees.