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The Four Functions of Management

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There are four functions of management that allow any organization to handle the tactical, planned and set decisions. The four basic functions of management are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. The four basic functions of management are just to have a controlled plan over the preventive measure. The functions of management define the process of management as diverse from accounting, finance, marketing, and other business functions. These functions provide a useful way of classifying information about management.

The base function is to Plan, which is the foundation of management. It is the base upon which the all the areas of management should be built. Planning is the ongoing process of developing the business’ mission and objectives and determining how they will be accomplished. Planning includes both the broadest view of the organization, for example, its mission, and the narrowest, for example, a tactic for accomplishing a specific goal. Planning is never-ending course of action.

The planning process consists of several steps. The process begins with environmental scanning, which basically means that planners must be aware of the serious contingencies in front of their organization in terms of economic conditions, their competitors, and their customers. Planners must then try to predict future conditions. These forecasts form the basis for planning.

Planners must establish goals, which are statements of what needs to be done and when. Planners must then find different courses of action for reaching these goals. After going through an assortment of alternatives, planners must make decisions about the best courses of action for reaching these goals. They must then put together necessary steps and ensure successful completion of plans. Finally, planners must continually assess the success of their plans and take counteractive action when needed. There are many different types of plans and planning.

The second function of management is getting organized and getting prepared. Organizing is establishing the internal organizational structure of the organization. The center of attention is on division, coordination, and control of tasks and the flow of information within the organization. It is in this function that managers distribute authority to job holders. Management must organize all its resources long before it is in hand in order to put into practice the course of action to decide that has been planned in the base function. Through this process, management will now determine the inside directorial configuration; establish and maintain relationships, and also assign required resources.

Organizing also involves the design of individual jobs within the organization. Decisions must be made about the duties and responsibilities of individual jobs as well as the manner in which the duties should be carried out. Organizing at the level of the organization involves deciding how best to departmentalize, or cluster jobs into departments effectively to coordinate effort. There are many different ways to departmentalize, including organizing by function, product, geography, or customer. Organizing at the level of job involves how best to design individual jobs to most effectively use human resources.

Leading is the third function of the management. Working under this function helps the management to control and supervise the actions of the staff. This helps them to assist the staff in achieving the companys goals and also accomplishing their personal or career goals which can be powered by motivation, communication, department dynamics, and department leadership.

Leading involves influencing others toward the realization of organizational goals. Effective leading requires the manager to motivate subordinates, communicate effectively, and effectively use power. If managers are effective leaders, their subordinates will be enthusiastic about putting forth the effort in the direction of the achievement of organizational goals.

It is very important to maintain a productive working environment, building positive interpersonal relationships, and problem solving. And this can be done only with successful communication. Understanding the communication process and working on the area that needs improvement, helps managers to become more valuable communicators. The best technique of finding the areas that need improvement is to ask themselves and others at regular times, how well they are doing. This leads to better relationship and helps the managers for better directing plans.

Controlling is the last of four functions of management, involves ensuring that performance does not stray from standards. Controlling consists of three steps, which include establishing performance standards, comparing actual performance against standards, and taking corrective action when necessary. Performance standards are often stated in monetary terms such as revenue, costs, or profits, but may also be stated in other terms, such as units produced, number of defective products, or levels of customer service.

The measurement of performance can be done in several ways, depending on the performance standards, including financial statements, sales reports, production results, customer satisfaction, and formal performance appraisals. Managers at all levels engage in the managerial function of controlling to some degree.

Effective controlling requires the existence of plans, since planning provides the necessary performance standards or goals. Controlling also requires a clear understanding of where responsibility for deviations from standards lies. Two traditional control techniques are the budget and the performance audit.

The four functions of management, planning, organizing, leading, and controlling are widely considered to be the best means of describing the manager’s job as well as the best way to classify accumulated knowledge about the study of management. Although there have been remarkable changes in the environment faced by managers and the tools used by managers to perform their roles, managers still perform these essential functions. Useful and proficient management leads to success, the success where it gets the goals of the organizations.


McNamara, C. (2007). Introduction to Management. Retrieved April
21, 2008, from http://www.managementhelp.org/mng_thry/mng_thry.htmErven, B. (1994). The Five Functions of Management. Retrieved April 21, 2008, from http://extension.osu.edu/~mgtexcel/Function.htmlBarnett, T. (2006). Management Functions. Retrieved April 21, 2008, from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Log-Mar/Management-Functions.htmlPakhare, J. (2007). Management Concepts The Four Functions of Management. Retrieved April 21, 2008, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/management-concepts-the-four-functions-of-management.html

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