The primary challenge faced by organizations and managers today is to creatively solve business problems. The principles of management are guidelines using which managers can tackle business challenges.
The principles of management have been categorized into the four major functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling popularly known as the P-O-L-C framework.
Planning is the first and the most important function of management that involves setting objectives and determining a course of action for achieving those objectives. Planners are essentially the managers who are best aware of environmental conditions facing their organization and are able to effectively analyze and predict future conditions. It also requires that managers should be good decision makers.
Planning involves selecting missions and objectives and the actions to achieve them, it requires decision making, i.e. choosing future courses of action from among alternatives.
Planning means determining what the organization’s position and situation should be at some time in the future and deciding how best to bring about that situation. It helps maintain managerial effectiveness by guiding future activities.
Planning as a process typically involves the following steps −
Strategic planning involves analyzing competitive opportunities and threats, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. It also involves determining how to position the organization to compete effectively in their environment.
Tactical planning is creating the blueprint for the lager strategic plan. These plans are often short term and are carried out by middle-level managers.
Operational planning generally covers the entire organization’s goals and objectives and put into practice the ways and action steps to achieve the strategic plans. They are very short terms usually less than a year.
Once a manager has created a work plan, the next phase in management cycle is to organize the people and other resources necessary to carry out the plan. Organizing should also consider the resources and physical facilities available, in order to maximize returns with minimum expenditure.
Organizing may be referred to as the process of arranging and distributing the planned work, authority and resources among an organization’s members, so they can achieve the organization’s goals.
Organizing involves the following steps −
Creating the organizational structure − The framework of the organization is created within which effort is coordinated allocating human resources to ensure the accomplishment of objectives. This structure is usually represented by an organizational chart, which is a graphic representation of the chain of command within an organization.
Making organizational design decisions − Decisions are made about the structure of an organization.
Making job design decisions − Roles and responsibilities of individual jobs, and the process of carrying out the duties is defined.
Organizing at the level of a particular job involves how best to design individual jobs so as to most effectively utilize human resources. Traditionally, job design was based on principles of division of labor and specialization, which assumed that the more narrow the job content, the more proficient the individual performing the job could become.
Organizations as they grow, develop complex structures with an increasing need for co-ordination and control. To cope and manage such situations, leadership is necessary to influence people to cooperate towards a common goal and create a situation for collective response.
Leading entails directing, influencing, and motivating employees to perform essential tasks. It also involves the social and informal sources of influence to inspire others. Effective managers lead subordinates through motivation to progressively attain organizational objectives.
Personality research and study of job attitudes in Behavioral Science provides important insight on the need for coordination and control. Thus it becomes important for leadership to create harmony among individual efforts to collectively work towards organizational goals.
Managers at all levels engage in the managerial function of controlling to some degree. Two traditional control techniques are budget and performance audits. An audit involves a physical examination and verification of the organization’s records and supporting documents. A budget audit provides information about where the organization is with respect to procedures followed for financial planning and control, whereas a performance audit might try to determine whether the figures reported are a reflection of actual performance.
Controlling involves measuring performance against goals and plans, and helping correct deviations from standards. As a matter of fact, controlling facilitates the accomplishment of plans by ensuring that performance does not deviate from standards.
Controlling is not just limited to organization’s financial state, but also spans across areas like operations, compliance with company policies and other regulatory policies, including many other activities within the organization.
The management functions thus most effectively cover the broad scope of a manager’s duties and responsibilities. Though the nature and complexities faced by businesses have undergone a vast change over the years, the functions of management remain the same.