Management can be defined as the act of coordinating the efforts of people to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources. Management is a matching process (IPMZ, 1996). It involves the alignment of resources to meet organisational goals and objectives. Traditionally the process involves planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling as illustrated in Figure 1. The process in Figure 1 does not occur in a tidy step-by-step order. Managers do not plan on Monday, organise on Tuesday, lead on Wednesday, control on Thursday, and take corrective action on Friday (Musingafi, 2013). The model in Figure 1 is designed to simplify the complex management process. These functions may be done simultaneously, in a different order, with or without some variations, depending on the situation at hand. Management is thus contextual.
This paper looks at management functions at a school, Mavhiringidze Secondary School, where the writer once taught as a history teacher. The paper starts by exploring the theoretical framework of classical management theory before discussing and illustrating its application to Mavhiringidze Secondary School management context.
2. Classical management
Henri Fayol is credited for systematically coining management functions (planning, organising, commanding, coordinating and controlling). “To manage is to forecast and plan, to organise, to command, to co-ordinate and to control" (Fayol, 1949). Gulick and Urwick (1937) expanded Fayol's list to seven executive management activities summarised by the acronym POSDCORB:
* planning: determine objectives in advance and the methods to achieve them; * organising: establish a structure of authority for all work; * staffing: recruit, hire and train workers; maintain favourable working conditions; * directing: make decisions, issue orders and directives; * coordinating: interrelate all sectors of the organisation; * reporting: inform hierarchy through reports, records and inspections; * budgeting: depend on fiscal planning, accounting and control.
Later scholars summarised these functions into four classical management functions (planning, organising, leading and controlling) (see IPMZ, 1996).
Generally in the school system emphasis is put on the planning, organising, staffing, directing, monitoring / supervising and evaluating functions.
3. Crucial management functions at Mavhiringidze Secondary School
Mavhiringidze Secondary School was established soon after independence (1980) in 1981 as an upper top (secondary school situated at primary school) at Gurajena Primary School in Zimuto. In 1982 it moved to its present site 300 metres south-west of the primary school. Like other schools in Zimbabwe, the chief executive of Mavhiringidze Secondary School is the headmaster who, in consultation with his teachers is responsible for the localised mission and vision of the school. The main purpose of a school’s existence is to enable teaching and learning process to take place. In this context Mavhiringidze Secondary School management is expected to create conducive conditions that allow quality teaching and learning. This is ensured through the performance of five crucial management functions among others: planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling. -------------------------------------------------
Figure 1 Mavhiringidze Secondary School management functions cycle (Source: Musingafi; 2013)
Planning is the first crucial function that educational managers engage in. It is the basis on which all other functions fall. Lucey (1992) defines planning as deciding what to do in advance and how to do it. For Gabriel (2003) planning involves defining goals of the organisation and the determining activities...