Classical Management Function

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“In everyday language usage, management refers to the people in organizations who manage, and to the activities they perform.” (Fulop, Frith, Hayward 1992 p. 187) To be more specific, management is the process of organizing work activities with and through people to ensure the activities are completed efficiently and effectively (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, Coulter 2006, p. 9). Through management, the goals of the organization or business are to be achieved. Henri Fayol, one of the most influential contributors to modern concepts of management, proposed that there are five primary functions for management, which consist of planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. Nonetheless, the functions of commanding and coordinating have metamorphosed into leading (Crainer 2003).

However, some influential management authors believe that the classical management functions need to be update. Williams (2005, p. 7) updated the management functions and came out with four functions: making things happen; meeting the competition; organizing people, projects and process; and leading. To make things happen, it is essential to determine goals, planning ways to attain the goals, gathering and managing needed information to make superior decisions and also controlling performance to enable corrective action to take place if performance worsens. This function actually combined Fayol’s idea of planning and controlling. The thought of determining things to accomplish and developing plans to achieve goals is similar to function of planning suggested by Fayol, which is to define goals, establish strategy and develop plans to implement the strategy in order to reach the goals. Besides, Williams mentioned about controlling performance and corrective action, which is corresponding to Fayol’s classical management functions of controlling. Controlling, according to Fayol, involves observing organization performance and take action if necessary to ensure that goals are to be achieved. Nevertheless, the action of gathering and managing needed information to enable good decisions to be made is not stated in classical management functions. Based on the updated functions, organizing people, projects and processes included consideration of people issues and work processes. At the same time, Fayol mentioned organizing, which is the management process of determining best way to arrange organization’s resources and activities. They actually have the same meaning where both are about locating organization’s resources, which are the employees and also the work processes or activities. The Learning Company, a company that develops and markets games and software, was purchased by toy company Mattel. It was experiencing loss after three years of the purchase because each department in the company works independently and do not share resources. After organizing the people and resources appropriately, the company gains profit. (Williams 2005, p. 10) In this case, the importance of organizing is clearly shown.

The most significant difference between Williams’s idea and Fayol’s thought is that Williams included meeting competition in the updated functions while Fayol did not mention about competition at all. Managers are required to consider threats from competitors and think of competitive strategy, where the ability to embrace changes and foster new ideas on product or service is crucial, to meet the competition. Besides that, the capability to structure the organization in order to adapt to varying customers and competitors is important as well. Another similarity between both functions is leading as both Williams and Fayol included leading in their management functions. For both of them, leading means motivation, inspiration or influence and effective communication. However, Williams think perspiration is an element of leading as well while Fayol stress on ability of dealing with employees’ behaviour issues.

In my opinion, planning,...
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