Managing is one of the most important human activities. From the time human beings began forming social organizations to accomplish aims and objectives they could not accomplish as individuals, managing has been essential to ensure the coordination of individual efforts. As society continuously relied on group effort, and as many organized groups have become large, the task of managers has been increasing in importance and complexity. Henceforth, managerial theory has become crucial in the way managers manage complex organizations. The central thesis of this paper is that although some managers in different parts of the world could have achieved managerial success without having basic theoretical knowledge in management, it has to be unequivocally emphasized that those managers who have mixed management theory in their day-to-day practice, have had better chances of managing their organizations more efficiently and effectively to achieve both individual and organizational objectives. Therefore, managers of contemporary organizations ought to appreciate the important role they play in their respective organizations if they are to achieve set goals. Secondly, there is need to promote excellence among all persons in organizations, especially among managers themselves. To address these concerns, the paper will proceed along the following spectrum: management will be defined for purposes of conceptual clarity; management objectives, functions, goals, and essentiality, will be highlighted; the importance of managerial skills and the organizational hierarchy will be sketched; the importance of women in the organizational hierarchy will be emphasized; reasons for studying management theory will be enumerated; the different management theories, the core of the paper, will be discussed at length; the 2
significance of management as a practice will be contextualized; and ‘the way forward’ in form of a conclusion will be offered.
Definition of Management
Management is the art, or science, of achieving goals through people. Since managers also supervise, management can be interpreted to mean literally “looking over” – i.e., making sure people do what they are supposed to do. Managers are, therefore, expected to ensure greater productivity or, using the current jargon, ‘continuous improvement’.
More broadly, management is the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together in groups, efficiently accomplish selected aims (Koontz and Weihrich 1990, p. 4). In its expanded form, this basic definition means several things. First, as managers, people carry out the managerial functions of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling. Second, management applies to any kind of organization. Third, management applies to managers at all organizational levels. Fourth, the aim of all managers is the same – to create surplus. Finally, managing is concerned with productivity – this implies effectiveness and efficiency.
Thus, management refers to the development of bureaucracy that derives its importance from the need for strategic planning, co-ordination, directing and controlling of large and complex decision-making process. Essentially, therefore, management entails the acquisition of managerial competence, and effectiveness in the following key areas: problem solving, administration, human resource management, and organizational leadership.
First and foremost, management is about solving problems that keep emerging all the time in the course of an organization struggling to achieve its goals and 3
objectives. Problem solving should be accompanied by problem identification, analysis and the implementation of remedies to managerial problems. Second, administration involves following laid down procedures (although procedures or rules should not be seen as ends in themselves) for the execution, control, communication, delegation and crisis management. Third, human resource management should...
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