The functions of management uniquely describe managers' jobs. The most commonly cited functions of management are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, although some identify additional functions. The functions of management define the process of management as distinct from accounting, finance, marketing, and other business functions. These functions provide a useful way of classifying information about management, and most basic management texts since the 1950s have been organized around a functional framework.
Controlling involves ensuring that performance does not deviate from standards. Controlling consists of three steps, which include establishing performance standards, comparing actual performance against standards, and taking corrective action when necessary. Performance standards are often stated in monetary terms such as revenue, costs, or profits, but may also be stated in other terms, such as units produced, number of defective products, or levels of customer service.
The measurement of performance can be done in several ways, depending on the performance standards, including financial statements, sales reports, production results, customer satisfaction, and formal performance appraisals. Managers at all levels engage in the managerial function of controlling to some degree.
The managerial function of controlling should not be confused with control in the behavioural or manipulative sense. This function does not imply that managers should attempt to control or manipulate the personalities, values, attitudes, or emotions of their subordinates. Instead, this function of management concerns the manager's role in taking necessary actions to ensure that the work-related activities of subordinates are consistent with and contributing toward the accomplishment of organizational and departmental objectives.
Effective controlling requires the existence of plans, since planning provides the necessary performance standards or objectives. Controlling also requires a clear understanding of where responsibility for deviations from standards lies. Two traditional control techniques are the budget and the performance audit. Although controlling is often thought of in terms of financial criteria, managers must also control production/operations processes, procedures for delivery of services, compliance with company policies, and many other activities within the organization.
The management functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling are widely considered to be the best means of describing the manager's job as well as the best way to classify accumulated knowledge about the study of management. Although there have been tremendous changes in the environment faced by managers and the tools used by managers to perform their roles, managers still perform these essential functions.
Characteristics of the Control Process
The control process is cyclical which means it is never finished. Controlling leads to identification of new problems that in turn need to be addressed through establishment of performance standards, measuring performance etc.
Employees often view controlling negatively. By its very nature, controlling often leads to management expecting employee behaviour to change. No matter how positive the changes may be for the organization, employees may still view them negatively.
Control is both anticipatory and retrospective. The process anticipates problems and takes preventive action. With corrective action, the process also follows up on problems.
Ideally, each person in the business views control as his or her responsibility. The organizational culture should prevent a person walking away from a small, easily solvable problem because "that isn't my responsibility." In customer driven businesses,...