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Define the term Management and discuss the four functions of management (Planning, Organising, Leading and Controlling)

Management is everywhere in todays society, without it, nothing would get done. To understand what the word management actually means, we need to explore its definition, along with its four functions. To gain a proper insight into what management is, it is important to understand what managers do, where they work, what classifications they have, what their roles are and who they report to. An insight into the processes of management and its functions and also assessing the influence of change and technology on managers is also necessary to gain a sound understanding of management. Robbins, S et al (2011, P. 7) defines management as The process of getting things done, effectively and efficiently, with and through other people. Managers work in organizations, they can be classified into top, middle and first line managers. The top level managers are usually the head of the organization; they are responsible for making the important decisions and developing policies. These decisions and policies are then handed down to the middle managers. The middle managers job is to explain to the first line managers what the policies mean and how it affects them. The first line managers are responsible for overseeing and supervising the non-managerial staff members in the organization. Some people look at management as a science. Gulick (1965. P. 11) said Management is a descriptive and experimental science and it is also a dynamic and normative science. It can also become an applied science the science of management is all about using facts, figures and past events to make decisions. Others look at management as an art. Rodeck (P.8 2008) describes management as the art of combining the efforts of diverse people to achieve a common end while keeping each person satisfied with their contribution. The art of management involves understanding people and evaluating circumstances in order to make decisions. Management has four main functions, these are Planning, Organising, Leading and controlling. Planning is an integral part of management; it is the first of the four functions. All about setting organisational goals and strategies. Planning is often viewed as the backbone of management as the other three functions (organising, leading and controlling) all should be planned. As stated by Robbins, S et al (2011, P. 86) Planning is important in any organisation for four main reasons. It gives direction to non-managerial employees witch is extremely important so that they understand what the organisations goals are and what is expected of them so that they can contribute and help achieve the organisational goals. Planning also ensures managers are going to look ahead into the future of the organisation. Thus they can prepare
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responses to different circumstances. It is extremely important to plan for a changing environment so that there is a minimal effect. Planning also increases productivity. If planning takes place before an activity takes place, time will not be wasted on ineffective tasks that are unlikely to help with the end product.

Organising is another one of the four functions of management. Organising is an extremely important function of a manager. After the planning has been done, managers must organise a way to complete the tasks in an efficient and effective way. To have good organisation, an organisational structure must be created. The organisational structure has six basic elements (Robbins, S et al 2011 P. 126) they are: work specialisation, departmentalisation, authority and responsibility, span of control, centralisation verses decentralisation and formalisation.

Leading is another one of the four management functions. (Apodaca, E M, 2009 P. 6) defines leadership as A complex process by which a person influences others to accomplish a mission, task, and objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. It is extremely important in an organisation in order to be productive. To be a good manager you must be an effective leader. Effective leaders must have the following skills, they must be able to motivate employees, they must have a good approach or directing others, excellent communication skills and conflict resolution skills. Managers must lead a group of people to achieve a common organisational goal so without good leadership goals set by the managers are unlikely to be achieved.

Controlling is the final management function. Controlling is all about monitoring the work of employees to ensure tasks are being completed efficiently and effectively and as planned. (Helms, M, D 2006) states that controlling involves three steps. These are; establishing performance standards (this can be done in planning), comparing actual performance against standards, and taking corrective action when necessary when managers are performing their controlling function they must evaluate the difference between the planned performances of the organisation with the actual performance. If there is a large discrepancy they start hunting for reasons. Once they have discovered the issue it is then their job to resolve it. Without controlling managers wouldnt know if organisational goals are being met. Managers need to have good analytical skills in order to control properly. It becomes clear that to become a good manager many skills are needed, some can be taught but others cannot. To be a good manager it is important to have a sound understanding of what management is and what its four functions are; Planning, Leading, Organising and Controlling. It can be observed that to Management is all about completing tasks effectively and efficiently to achieve organisational goals. It is important to understand that all of the four functions of management link to each other, to be an effective manager one must be

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effective at all of the four functions; Planning, Leading, Organising and Controlling. In the end, Planning is the backbone as the other three functions come as a result of planning.

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Apodaca, E M, D 2009, Leading: Basic Functions of Management, Olivarez Collage, Phillipines

Gulick, G, D 1965, Management is a science, The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 8, No. 1, P. 11

Helms, M, D 2006, Encyclopaedia of Management: Management Functions, Vol. 1, Gale Cengage, Melbourne

Robbins, S, DeCenzo, D, Coulter, M, Woods, M, D 2011, Management: The Essentials, Pearson Australia, New South Wales

Rodeck, E, D 2008, A brush with the art of management, The Age, 27th June 2008, P. 8

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