Mnagement Functions

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Major Principles or Guides for the Managerial Functions of Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Leading, and Controlling By © Heinz Weihrich and Harold Koontz1

Although a complete set of empirically proven, interrelated principles has not been discovered and codified, experience and observation of managing indicate certain fundamental managerial principles or guides. They not only provide managers with a conceptual scheme but also indicate to scholars areas for research. To be sure, the key abstractions need to be applied with due consideration for the situation—and this is an art. In this appendix, the principles, which perhaps would be more appropriately called guides to management, are organized (as this book is) according to the managerial functions of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling. Each principle is given a number with a letter that represents the type of managerial function.

Major Principles or Guides for Planning The most essential guiding principles for planning are the following.

The Purpose and Nature of Planning The purpose and nature of planning may be summarized by reference to the following principles.

P1. Principle of contribution to objective. The purpose of every plan and all supporting plans is to promote the accomplishment of enterprise objectives. P2. Principle of objectives. If objectives are to be meaningful to people, they must be clear, attainable, and verifiable. P3. Principle of primacy of planning. Planning logically precedes all other managerial functions. P4. Principle of efficiency of plans. The efficiency of a plan is measured by the amount it contributes to purpose and objectives offset by the costs required to formulate and operate it and by unsought consequences.

The Structure of Plans Two major principles dealing with the structure of plans can go far in tying plans together, making supporting plans contribute to major plans and ensuring that plans in one

1 © Heinz Weihrich and Harold Koontz, 2008

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department harmonize with those in another.

P5. Principle of planning premises. The more thoroughly individuals charged with planning understand and agree to utilize consistent planning premises, the more coordinated enterprise planning will be. P6. Principle of the strategy and policy framework. The more strategies and policies are clearly understood and implemented in practice, the more consistent and effective will be the framework of enterprise plans.

The Process of Planning Within the process of planning, there are four principles that help in the development of a practical science of planning.

P7. Principle of the limiting factor. In choosing among alternatives, the more accurately individuals can recognize and allow for factors that are limiting or critical to the attainment of the desired goal, the more easily and accurately they can select the most favorable alternative. P8. The commitment principle. Logical planning should cover a period of time in the future necessary to foresee as well as possible, through a series of actions, the fulfillment of commitments involved in a decision made today. P9. Principle of flexibility. Building flexibility into plans will lessen the danger of losses incurred through unexpected events, but the cost of flexibility should be weighed against its advantages. P10. Principle of navigational change. The more that planning decisions commit individuals to a future path, the more important it is to check on events and expectations periodically and redraw plans as necessary to maintain a course toward a desired goal.

The commitment principle and the principles of flexibility and navigational change are aimed at a contingency approach to planning. Although it makes sense to forecast and draw plans far enough into the future to be reasonably sure of meeting commitments, often it is impossible to do so, or the future is so uncertain that it is too risky to fulfill those commitments. The principle of...
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