Management - Efficiency and Effectiveness

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A manager, as defined by Bergman, Coulter, Robbins and Stagg (2009), is someone who coordinates and oversees the work of others so that organisational goals can be accomplished. Further to this definition management, which is essentially what mangers do, involves ensuring that work activities are completed efficiently and effectively. There are three specific categorisation models to explain what exactly it is that managers do: •Management Functions (Henry Fayol)

Management Roles (Henry Mintzberg)
Management Skills (Robert L. Katz)
Throughout this assignment reference will be made to Ms Williams, a middle manager working for The National Library of Australia, whom I interviewed in order to examine these aspects of Ms Williams’ work. Ms Williams is the ‘Manager of Offsite Reference Services’ at The National Library, a large organisation within the public sector. In essence Ms Williams is responsible for the close supervision of a team of staff, whom with reference to the library catalogues and databases etc. provide answers to library reference enquiries. Ms William’s must also spend time at several service points throughout the library to provide the public with assistance when required. In this assignment I will be discussing how each of the management models apply to Ms Williams’ work and how they are relevant to achieving efficiency and effectiveness.

Management is almost entirely concerned with getting things done and determining how to get things accomplished although there is a debate over whether more concern should go into low-cost production or complete satisfaction of goals and objectives. These two paths are known as the decisions which separate effectiveness and efficiency. Efficiency and effectiveness are often considered synonyms however when the definitions are examined a distinction between the two can clearly be seen. Effectiveness is ‘doing things right’ meaning conducting the right activities and applying the best strategies for competitive advantage. Efficiency on the other hand is ‘doing things right’ – it defines whether processes are completed using the least resources and in the shortest time possible. After analysing these definitions one can see a clear difference and understand better how trying to balance both efficiency and effectiveness can have major implications for business of all sizes. High performance requires the efficient and effective use of an organisation’s resources through management functions, roles and skills. Ms Williams’ job description, the management of a small team of employees in charge of answering a considerable number of reference enquiries, demands a high level of efficiency and effectiveness as responses must occur proficiently and within a certain time frame.

Henry Fayol, a French industrialist during the early years of the 20th century, proposed that all mangers perform five functions. These classical functions provide clear and discrete methods of classifying the thousands of different activities that mangers carry out and the techniques they use in terms of the functions that perform for the achievement of organisational goals (Carroll & Dennis 1987). Those five functions are: •Planning – Defining goals, establishing strategies and developing plan •Organising – Determining what tasks are to be done, who to do them, how to group tasks, who reports to whom and where decisions are to be made •Leading – Motivating subordinates, influencing individuals or teams, selecting the most effective communication channels and dealing with employee behaviour issues •Controlling – Monitoring actual performance, comparing actual to standard and taking action if needed It has been argued (Carroll & Gillen, 1987 as cited in Lamond, 2003) that Fayol’s functions “still represent the most useful way of conceptualizing the manager’s job.” The way a manger approaches each of these functions, as simple as they may sound, has great importance with all of Fayol’s...
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