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7 October 2011
Reason why control by “exception” is preferable to control by “inspection” in terms of management time utilisation and people motivation
Control is a management function that focuses on the process of monitoring activities to ensure that they are being accomplished as planned; they ensure that plans are effective; they make the organisation effective and efficient and aid in decision-making. The question asked is: Must supervisors spend all their time controlling? Many people do not like to be controlled and do not like to be criticised. Yet that’s what control’s all about. The trick is to emphasize the value of controls to employees and to ensure they understand that it is not to interfere, as long as they are doing their job. Management control should focus on listening to and acting on the recommendations of staff, not checking that they are doing their work properly. One of the essentials of an effective control system is pointing out exceptions at critical points and suggest whether action is to be taken for deviations or not. At what level of detail should controls be applied? If control is too detailed, you drown in information. If control is too high level, it does not provide enough information to make confident, justified decisions. People in charge want a specified amount of control; but they cannot accomplish this without some repercussions. How to gain control without completely alienating every employee who works for you? Compromise is needed – you do not want the staff to feel they cannot be trusted to do their jobs.
Management by Exception is a form of delegation; the supervisor lets things run as long as they fall within prescribed, control limits of performance and when things get out of line, the supervisor steps in. Frederick Taylor is credited with originating this concept . His “exception principle” stated that routine decision making should be handled by lower level managers who report only exceptional cases to higher management. Its principle goal is to free managers of ordinary or insignificant matters that can bog them down. Management by Exception (which is part of Transformational Leadership Theory) is a system of identification and communication that signals to the manager when his attention is most needed ; he needs to concentrate more on the important areas where deviation occurred. The components of MBE are: • Measurement – by measuring past and present performance the manager tries to find out the deviations. • Projection – manager analyses those measurements that are meaningful to the organisational objectives. • Selection – it involves the criteria which the manager will use to follow progress toward the organisations objectives • Observations – it involves measurements of current performance • Comparison – manager makes comparisons of actual and planned performance and identifies required attention • Decision-making – manager prescribes the action that must be taken in order to bring performance control.
The emphasis is on the exception ; because managers do not have the time to physically control all activities, they should place their strategic control devices where those devices can call attention only to the exceptions. An ‘exception system’ ensures that a manager is not overwhelmed by information on variations from standard; it remains silent when his attention is not required. It permits the manager to find the problems that need his action and avoid dealing with those that are better handled by his subordinates. Therefore, it shifts authority for decision making and problem solving downward. This saves time for the recipient of authority – the subordinates no longer have to delay action while awaiting input from above. However, MBE does not mean sitting in office waiting for...
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