Management Functions

Management is the process of reaching organizational goals by working with and through people and other organizational resources. There are five basic management functions that make up the management process these are given below. We will look at them in details over the course of this subject.

The five functions


Planning is a basic function of management. It is a process a manager has to undertake to come up with an outline on how to attain the objectives and aims of a business enterprise.

It relates to decision making process as it deals with chalking out future course of actions and deciding the most appropriate course of action for achievement of a predetermined goal.

Planning is done for immediate, short term, medium term and long term periods. It is a guideline for execution/implementation. It is a measure to check the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization. It is necessary to ensure proper utilization of human and non-human resources.

The planning process involves collection of data and information and making an analysis on them. Planning activity focuses on attaining goals. Managers outline exactly what organizations should do to be successful. Planning is concerned with the success of the organization in the short term as well as in the long term.

According to Koontz, “Planning is deciding in advance – what to do, when to do & how to do. It bridges the gap from where we are & where we want to be”.


Organizing is an important function of a manager; a manager has to manage the resources in an organized manner to achieve organization goals. Unless a manager manages in an organized manner, no work will get done. A manager’s organizational responsibilities include organizing the resources of an organization, identifying different roles, choosing the right people for these roles, delegating tasks to people, etc. He also has to ensure that the employees have the required resources to perform their tasks better.

Organizing as a process involves:

ü  Identification of activities.

ü  Classification of grouping of activities.

ü  Assignment of duties.

ü  Delegation of authority and creation of responsibility.

ü  Coordinating authority and responsibility relationships.

According to Henry Fayol, “To organize a business is to provide it with everything useful or its functioning i.e. raw material, tools, capital and personnel’s”.


Staffing has assumed greater importance in the recent years due to advancement of technology, increase in size of business, complexity of human behavior etc… The main purpose of staffing is to put right man on right job.

Staffing involves:

ü  Manpower Planning (estimating man power in terms of searching, choose the person and giving the right place).

ü  Recruitment, selection & placement.

ü  Training & development.

ü  Remuneration.

ü  Performance appraisal.

ü  Promotions & transfer.

According to Kootz & O’Donell, “Managerial function of staffing involves manning the organization structure through proper and effective selection, appraisal & development of personnel to fill the roles designed un the structure”.


It is that part of managerial function which actuates the organizational methods to work efficiently for achievement of organizational purposes. It is also referred to as motivating, leading or influencing. Directing can be defined as guiding the activities of organization members in the direction that helps the organization move towards the fulfillment of the goals.

Direction has following elements:

Supervision – implies overseeing the work of subordinates by their superiors. It is the act of watching & directing work & workers.

Motivation – means inspiring, stimulating or encouraging the sub-ordinates with zeal to work. Positive, negative, monetary, non-monetary incentives may be used for this purpose.

Leadership – may be defined as a process by which manager guides and influences the work of subordinates in desired direction.

Communications – is the process of passing information, experience, opinion etc from one person to another. It is a bridge of understanding.

When the cat is away, the mouse will play. The preceding statement has become a cliché to many people. However, it sounds true in many aspects.

Controlling involves ensuring that performance does not deviate 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.

Controlling and evaluating helps a manager recognize these failures and quickly implement corrective measures to bring the task back on track. It involves evaluating the expected and actual job performance. This helps a manager recognize potential problems and take preventive measures against the consequences.

Controlling is the following roles played by the manager:

ü  Gather information that measures performance

ü  Compare present performance to pre-established performance norms.

ü  Determine the next action plan and modifications for meeting the desired performance parameters.

ü  Controlling is an ongoing process.


Koontz, Harold, and Cyril O’Donnell. Principles of Management: An Analysis of Managerial Functions. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1955

Robbins, Stephen P. and Mary Coulter. Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999


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