Characteristics of Management
The term ‘management’ refers to the process of planning, evaluating, organizing, leading, motivating, and controlling the human, financial, physical, and information resources of an organization to meet its objectives.
By focusing on the use of available resources, such as financial resources, natural resources, technological resources, and personnel resources, management involves establishing the strategy of an organization and coordinating the efforts of its employees (or volunteer workers) to meet its objectives.To achieve a goal, management involves coordinating and administering tasks.
In addition to selecting the organization’s strategy, administration activities involve coordinating the efforts of staff members to meet these objectives. An organization’s seniority structure can also be defined as management. You’ll need a certain set of skills in order to function as an effective manager, including planning, communication, organization, and leadership.
In addition to having a thorough understanding of the company’s goals, you will also need to be able to direct employees, sales representatives and other operational functions to accomplish these goals.
Some of the Major characteristics of Management are as follows:
a) Economic Resource
Management forms part of the factor of production, which includes land, labor, and capital. Management is becoming more and more important as the economy becomes increasingly industrialized. Any organized group activity is not successful without efficient management because it is the force that assembles and integrates other factors of production, such as labor, capital, and materials.
Adding labor, capital and materials do not guarantee production; management is required to produce goods and services needed by society. Management, therefore, is a crucial element in an organization.
It is important for management to effectively utilize economic resources, which refer to the inputs necessary to produce goods and services, such as capital, labor, land, and raw materials. The goal of management is to allocate and utilize resources efficiently and effectively in order to achieve organizational objectives.
i) Allocation of resources:
Within an organization, management is responsible for allocating resources. This includes determining how to allocate financial resources, human resources, and other inputs optimally. For example, a manager may allocate a larger budget to a particular department that needs more resources to meet its targets.
ii) Resource optimization:
It involves making sure that economic resources are utilized in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible to maximize productivity and minimize waste.
As an example, a manufacturing manager could use lean production techniques to reduce material waste and maximize machinery efficiency.
iii) Resource acquisition:
An organization’s managers are responsible for obtaining the necessary economic resources, whether they are funding from investors or financial institutions, recruiting skilled employees, or obtaining raw materials from suppliers. It is important to manage resources effectively if you want the right resources at the right time and at a reasonable price.
iv) Resource planning:
Resource planning involves assessing market trends, customer needs, and internal capabilities in order to forecast future needs and allocate resources accordingly.
In order to plan the procurement of inventory for the upcoming season, a retail manager may analyze sales data and customer preferences.
v) Resource evaluation:
As part of its continuous evaluation of economic resources, management identifies areas for improvement and assesses their effectiveness. In order to optimize resource allocation and reallocate resources as necessary, managers can analyze financial statements, conduct performance reviews, and track resource utilization metrics.
b) Goal Oriented
The purpose of management is to achieve certain goals. Management coordinates the effort of workers toward achieving organizational goals. Management success is determined by the extent to which organizational goals are achieved. The management at various levels must understand the organizational goals clearly.
Every management activity is evaluated by its success in achieving its predetermined objectives. The purpose of management is to accomplish goals. Using human and physical resources to accomplish predetermined goals is the goal of the tool.
An enterprise, for instance, aims to produce quality goods at reasonable prices in order to provide maximum consumer satisfaction. Utilizing scarce resources more effectively and employing efficient people can contribute to achieving this goal.
Management is characterized by its goal-oriented nature. Management aims to achieve specific objectives and targets that are aligned with the organization’s overall vision and purpose.
i) Goal setting:
Defining organizational goals is crucial for management. This involves setting clear, measurable objectives that provide direction and purpose for all employees.
A manager may set a sales target to increase revenue by a certain percentage within a particular period of time.
ii) Goal alignment:
Creating synergy and coordination between different units within an organization is possible when management aligns individual goals with organizational goals.
Marketing managers may align their goals with the company’s overall sales targets to ensure cohesive efforts.
iii) Planning and strategy:
In order to achieve the set goals, management develops plans and strategies. In this process, they analyze the current situation, identify potential threats and opportunities, and devise action plans. In order to develop a plan or strategy, managers may use SWOT analysis, market research, and forecasting techniques.
iv) Resource mobilization:
A manager’s responsibility is to mobilize the necessary resources to support the implementation of a company’s plans and strategies, such as financial, human, and technological resources.
To accomplish a specific project and achieve its objectives, a project manager might assemble a team of experts and skilled workers.
v) Performance measurement:
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are commonly used to track and assess performance toward goals. By regularly monitoring and measuring performance, management can provide timely feedback and corrective actions.
To determine progress, managers review sales figures, customer satisfaction ratings, or project milestones.
c) Distinct Process
Management consists of functions such as planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. It is impossible to specify the order or relative significance of these functions when they are so interwoven.
Management is a distinct process because it involves a specific set of activities and responsibilities that are distinct from other functions within an organization. A specific goal or objective can be achieved by planning, organizing, leading, and controlling resources.
Budgeting, forecasting, and performance measurement all contribute to the distinct nature of management. As well as strategic thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, managing requires a specific set of skills and knowledge.
It is also important to note that management is a continuous process that requires continuous monitoring and adjustment to ensure that the organization is fulfilling its purposes. As a result, management isn’t an event that occurs once, but rather a continuous cycle of activities that are continuously evaluated and improved.
It is important to understand that management entails a specific set of activities, tools, skills, and knowledge that are specific to managing an organization. Monitoring and adjusting ongoingly is also necessary to ensure that goals and objectives are met.
Throughout an organization, management provides a framework for decisions, coordination, and control. The distinct process of management can be summarized as follows:
A management process begins with planning. The manager sets goals, defines objectives, and determines the actions that are required to achieve them. Planning provides a roadmap for decision-making and resource allocation. Managers analyze the current situation, anticipate future trends, and develop strategies and plans to guide the organization.
An example would be a manager setting revenue goals for a new product, defining the target audience, planning the development process, and identifying the required resources.
The management team then organizes the resources necessary to carry out the plans, which includes structuring the organization, defining roles and responsibilities, as well as establishing communication channels and authority lines. Managers coordinate and allocate resources, create workflows, and create an environment conducive to achieving desired results.
Example: Assembling lines, assigning tasks to workers, and ensuring raw materials and equipment are readily available are some of the tasks that the production manager performs on the factory floor.
To carry out the organizational plans, managers need to acquire and develop a competent workforce. They are responsible for recruiting, selecting, training, and developing employees. To ensure optimal performance, they ensure the skills and capabilities of individuals are matched with the job requirements.
Example: The role of a human resources manager in a retail company involves interviewing, evaluating, and hiring candidates for various positions based on factors such as skills, experience, and culture fit.
Leadership involves guiding and motivating employees to achieve organizational goals. Managers communicate expectations, inspire individuals and teams, and provide leadership. Employees are provided with feedback and guidance, and they are encouraged to work in a positive environment that fosters productivity.
Example: Regular team meetings are held in a marketing agency by team leaders, who set performance goals, provide constructive feedback, and motivate members to achieve their goals.
It is essential to coordinate activities and resources in order to ensure smooth workflow and alignment towards common goals. Managers synchronize the efforts of different departments, teams, and individuals. In addition to resolving conflicts and facilitating collaboration, they promote effective communication.
Example: To ensure the project progresses according to the established schedule and specifications, a project manager coordinates with architects, engineers, subcontractors, and suppliers.
Managers are responsible for monitoring progress, assessing performance, and taking corrective actions when necessary in the final step of the management process. To ensure that goals are achieved, they compare actual results with plans, identify deviations, and make adjustments.
Example: To bring expenses back in line with budgets, a financial manager analyzes financial statements, identifies cost overruns, and implements cost-cutting measures.
As a result of the distinct process of management, organizations are capable of achieving their goals in a more systematic and efficient manner.
d) Integrative Force
Achieving objectives through the integration of human and other resources is the essence of management. Managers have access to all of these resources. By using non-human resources, managers employ knowledge, experience, and management principles to get the best results from their workers. The manager should also seek to harmonize the goals of the individuals with the goals of the organization for a smooth operation.
The role of management is to coordinate various elements of an organization towards a common goal by bringing them together. An organization’s objectives are achieved by coordinating resources, such as people, finances, and technology.
A manager must also integrate marketing, finance, and operations departments within an organization. In order to achieve the organization’s overall objectives, management ensures that each department has its own goals and objectives.
In addition to integrating with the organization’s external environment, such as customers, suppliers, and competitors, management is also important. An organization’s success depends on understanding and adapting to external factors that change over time.
The role of management is to integrate all aspects of an organization into a single, coherent whole by coordinating their efforts toward a common objective. For any organization to succeed and grow, this is essential.
Within an organization, management plays an integrative role, connecting various resources, functions, and individuals in order to accomplish a common goal. In order to achieve synergy and harness the collective efforts of individuals and teams, this characteristic of management is crucial. Here are some of the ways in which management has an integrative force:
i) Alignment of efforts:
Organizational goals and objectives are aligned with individual efforts and activities by management. Employees’ skills, knowledge, and efforts are integrated towards a shared vision when managers provide clarity of purpose and direction. By aligning the organization, we foster collaboration, minimize conflicts, and maximize our collective impact.
Example: In a software development company, the management team aligns the efforts of programmers, designers, and quality assurance specialists to develop a new software product.
By integrating the efforts of these individuals, the company can deliver a high-quality software solution efficiently by ensuring that each team member understands his or her role in the project and the contribution their work makes to the final product.
ii) Coordination of functions:
It is essential for management to coordinate various organizational functions. Different departments and units often have different roles and responsibilities, but their efforts must be coordinated to achieve organizational objectives as a whole.
In order to ensure that the activities of each department support the larger organizational goals, managers facilitate communication, collaboration, and interdependence among various functions.
Example: Manufacturing companies have management teams that coordinate production, procurement, marketing, and sales. In order to support the launch of the product, they ensure production schedules are aligned with market demand, procurement activities are coordinated with production needs, and marketing and sales efforts are coordinated. In this way, bottlenecks are avoided and the company’s overall operations are optimized.
iii) Integration of resources:
Financial resources, human resources, technological resources, and other assets are all integrated by management in order to maximize their combined impact. In order to ensure that resources are utilized effectively and efficiently across a variety of departments and projects, managers allocate resources strategically.
Example: For quality healthcare, a hospital’s management team integrates doctors, nurses, medical equipment, and facilities. Staffing and equipment are allocated according to patient needs, resources are effectively utilized, and the patient care experience is optimized.
iv) Cross-functional collaboration:
To solve complex problems and drive innovation, management encourages cross-functional collaboration among individuals with different backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives. Managers can harness the collective intelligence and creativity of diverse teams by breaking down silos and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration.
Example: To develop and launch a new product, the management team of a technology company may create cross-functional teams that include engineers, designers, marketers, and customer support representatives. In order to meet customer needs and stand out from the competition, the company can integrate these different functions’ expertise.
v) Integration of organizational culture:
As an integrative force within the organization, management shapes and reinforces the organizational culture. Employees who share a sense of identity and purpose are united by a strong, cohesive culture that focuses on shared values, norms, and beliefs. As a result of integrating culture, individuals’ behaviors and actions are aligned with organizational objectives.
Example: Managing a consulting firm requires collaboration, continuous learning, and client focus. In order to provide high-quality consulting services to clients, they encourage open communication, knowledge sharing, and teamwork among consultants. In addition to facilitating integration, the firm’s reputation in the market is enhanced by the shared culture.
It is the ability of management, in addition to aligning efforts, coordinating functions, integrating resources, and promoting cross-functional collaboration that makes it the integrative force of management. Through the integration of these elements, management creates synergies and harnesses collective capabilities, enabling the organization to achieve its objectives effectively and efficiently.
e) System of Authority
As a team, management demonstrates authority, displaying a hierarchy of command and control. Different levels of management have different degrees of authority. Generally, the level of authority decreases as we move down the managerial hierarchy. With authority, managers are better able to accomplish their tasks.
Making decisions that guide others’ actions is the power of authority. Delegating authority contributes to the establishment of an organization. A single individual cannot fulfill all the responsibilities of an organization.
Delegating authority and following the division of labor principles are important for finishing the work on time. Manager can extend their influence by delegating outside of their own time, energy, and knowledge. Managers, regardless of the type of organization they are employed in, generally perform similar tasks as they are concerned with getting the job done through other people.
In organizations, authority refers to the special permission a person gets from his higher officer so that they can perform a specific function. It is a matter of position and is inherent in the workplace. Management functions depend on it. Without authority, no one can carry out his responsibilities fully.
Establishing an authority structure within an organization is one of the fundamental characteristics of management. The authority vested in individuals or positions enables them to make decisions, give directives, and enforce compliance as they see fit. In order to facilitate effective decision making and coordination, authority systems provide structure, clarity, and accountability. The following points describe the characteristics and importance of authority systems in management:
i) Hierarchy and Organizational Structure:
By defining levels of authority and reporting relationships within an organization, the authority system establishes a hierarchical structure. In addition to clarifying the chain of command, it also indicates who reports to whom at each level and who makes decisions. Communication, delegation of responsibilities, and coordination of activities are facilitated by this hierarchical structure.
Example: There is a clear hierarchy of authority in a multinational corporation, evident in the organizational chart, which shows which managers, supervisors, and employees are in charge at each level. Within their respective domains, each level has specific responsibilities and authority.
A system of authority determines who has the authority to make decisions, how much power they have to make decisions, and how decisions are made within the organization. Having clarity enables timely decision-making, avoids confusion, and ensures accountability for outcomes.
Example: It is important to note that the dean of a department has the authority to decide upon curriculum development, faculty hiring, and budget allocation within the department, which allows for effective decision-making.
iii) Delegation of Responsibilities:
By delegating responsibilities between higher levels and lower levels of management, managers can accomplish organizational objectives by delegating tasks, assigning projects, and empowering employees within their authority. At various levels of an organization, delegation promotes employee growth, relieves managerial workload, and promotes accountability.
Example: The department manager delegated the management of a specific project to a team leader. The team leader then delegated tasks to members of the team based on their expertise and skills.
iv) Accountability and Performance Management:
Having an organization’s authority system in place creates a framework for accountability. The manager evaluates and manages performance based on the authority and responsibilities delegated to each role. It defines roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations, making individuals and teams accountable for their assigned tasks.
Example: Managing sales departments involves achieving sales targets, while achieving individual sales goals is the responsibility of sales representatives. Based on the defined accountability structure, performance evaluation, feedback, and rewards can be conducted.
v) Compliance and Discipline:
Rules, policies, and procedures are established by the authority system that employees are expected to follow. When non-compliance occurs, the authority system provides a mechanism for disciplinary action, such as warnings or other corrective measures, which ensures compliance with organizational guidelines, ethical standards, and legal requirements.
Example: Managers have the authority to enforce disciplinary actions if employees fail to adhere to safety guidelines in a manufacturing company. The system of authority enforces safety protocols and procedures to ensure compliance with occupational health and safety regulations.
vi) Communication and Information Flow:
Within the organization, authority facilitates communication and information flow. By setting up formal channels of communication, it ensures timely and structured flow of information, instructions, and feedback. Thus, all levels of the organization can collaborate, coordinate, and make informed decisions.
Example: As a result of a government agency’s authority system, information flows from the highest level, the director or commissioner, to the lowest level, the department head or frontline employee. This ensures that everyone has access to the necessary information for effective performance.
f) Multi-disciplinary Subject
As a discipline (i.e. field of study), management has grown by incorporating many other disciplines such as engineering, anthropology, sociology, and psychology. These disciplines have resulted in a wealth of management literature.
Productivity orientation, for instance, draws inspiration from industrial engineering, and human relations orientation from psychology. The development of management science has also been influenced by sociology and operations research.
It is multidisciplinary because it encompasses knowledge/information from many different fields – economics, statistics, maths, psychology, sociology, ecology, operations research, history, etc. Management integrates ideas and concepts drawn from these disciplines and provides new ideas that can be applied to managing organizations.
An organization’s goals are effectively and efficiently achieved by drawing upon a variety of disciplines and expertise. In addition to economics, psychology, sociology, mathematics, statistics, and anthropology, it integrates concepts and principles from a variety of disciplines.
A multidisciplinary management approach enables organizations to deal with the complex and interconnected challenges they face in today’s dynamic and competitive business environment. Management is a multidisciplinary subject, as illustrated by the following key points and examples:
i) Integration of different disciplines:
Organizational dynamics are understood holistically through the application of theories and practices from many disciplines.
Economics, for instance, provides insight into market forces and resource allocation, psychology, sociology, and mathematics provide tools for analyzing data and making decisions, and sociology provides insights into organizational culture and social structures.
ii) Understanding human behavior:
Motivation, leadership, communication, organizational culture, and team dynamics are among the topics examined in management, drawing on psychology and sociology.
To enhance employee engagement and collaboration, managers use motivational theories to design effective incentive programs.
iii) Economic principles and decision-making:
Decision-making processes incorporate economic principles to analyze costs, benefits, and tradeoffs. To optimize resource allocation and maximize organizational performance, it utilizes concepts such as supply and demand, economies of scale, cost-benefit analysis, and competitive advantage.
In order to maximize revenue and profitability, managers use pricing strategies that consider supply and demand dynamics.
iv) Quantitative methods and analysis:
Forecasting, regression analysis, operations research, and financial analysis are some of the techniques that managers use to analyze data, make informed decisions, and evaluate performance.
As an example, managers analyze financial statements to assess the financial health of the organization or use forecasting models to predict future demand.
v) Societal and ethical considerations:
The decision-making process of management is guided by societal and ethical considerations, as well as an awareness of the impact of the organization’s actions on stakeholders, communities, and the environment.
Incorporating principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR) into business practices can ensure an organization’s positive contribution to society.
vi) Cross-cultural management:
The globalization of business has necessitated the development of cross-cultural management strategies to manage diverse workforces effectively. These strategies rely on anthropological and sociological insights.
To foster inclusivity within multinational organizations, managers need to adapt their leadership styles and communication approaches.
vii) Interdisciplinary problem-solving:
To identify innovative solutions, management integrates knowledge from multiple disciplines.
To ensure an effective blend of creative and analytical approaches, managers might collaborate with marketing, psychology, and design professionals.
viii) Technological advancements:
It enables data-driven decision-making by embracing advances in technology and incorporating them into organizational processes and strategies. Management leverages digital platforms, tools, and tools to improve efficiency, increase communication, and improve communication.
Managers use data analytics to develop targeted marketing campaigns and gain insight into customers’ behavior.
ix) Continuous learning and adaptation:
In response to the evolving business landscape, management recognizes the need for continuous learning and adaptation. By staying on top of developments across a wide range of fields, managers are able to make informed decisions.
Managing healthcare organizations effectively requires managers to stay updated on medical advancements, regulatory changes, and healthcare policies.
g) Universal Application
All businesses need management. The principles and techniques of management can be applied to business, education, the armed forces, government, and hospitals. Henri Fayol asserted that management principles were applicable more or less in every situation. These principles are flexible and can be adapted to any organization where human efforts need to be coordinated.
An enterprise’s management is a universal phenomenon because it is common and essential to all firms. An organization must set objectives and make plans, manage people, coordinate and control activities, achieve goals, and evaluate performance toward organizational goals.
Management is a universal process since it appears not only in modern major corporations but also in all spheres of life, even in primitive societies and among other creatures of the earth. Humans practice it. Even animals do so to keep order and sanity. A nuclear family cannot function without management. Troops of animals do this very well. Take a look around you. No matter what size or shape an organization takes, management principles are being applied regardless of the leadership shown.
Supporting arguments for the Universallity of Management
a) Emphasis on the Management Process
All organizations require management. A firm’s management functions include planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. Each manager must, at one point or another, fulfill all the duties that are characteristic of his or her position, according to Koontz and O’Donnell. That is the principle of universality of the managerial function.
b) Distinction between Management Fundamentals and Management Techniques
Fundamentals of management should be distinguished from management techniques. Various management techniques and approaches may vary across cultures or countries, but management fundamentals apply to all of them. Identical concepts, theories, and principles apply equally across a broad range of environments, according to Koontz and O’Donnell. While cultural differences may affect how management fundamentals are applied, the fundamentals are universally applicable.
c) Distinction between Management Fundamentals and Management Practices
Management practices and management theory must be distinguished. There are differences in practices, but there are always identical fundamentals. It will be different from an automobile designed for use in deserts or jungles than one designed for high-speed super highways. Both types of automobiles are designed using the same principles and theories of physical science. The management styles differ according to the industry. These shifts indicate that management skills and principles can be universal, only the practices may differ.
d) Transferability of Management Principles and Skills
Management principles, concepts, and skills are universal because managers can transfer from one country to another, from one industry to another, and from one type of organization to another. According to him, such a shift is a sign that fundamental principles and skills of management are at play.
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