January 21, 2018

The Process of Management

Management - Definition

Weihrich and Koontz defined Management and explained it as follows in the tenth edition of their book Management: A Global Perspective (p.4).

"Management is the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together in groups, effectively and  efficiently,  accomplish selected aims." This definition needs to be expanded:

1. As managers, people carry out the managerial functions of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling.
2. Management applies to any kind of organization.
3. It applies to managers at all organizational levels.
4. The aim of all managers is the same: to create a surplus.
5. Managing is concerned with productivity; this implies effectiveness and effciency.

Definition suggested by Narayana Rao

Management of an organization is the process of establishing objectives and goals of the organization periodically, designing the work system and the organization structure, and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together in groups, accomplish their aims and objectives and goals of the organization effectively and efficiently (Narayana Rao). (3rd December 2008, Version 1 of this article)

The above definition was a modification of the definition given by Koontz and O'Donnell.

The definition implies the following.

(i) Management is a process.
(ii) Management applies to every kind of organization, government, profit making, or nonprofit making.
(iii) It applies to managers at all levels in the organization.
(iv) Management is concerned with effectiveness and efficiency.  Effectiveness is producing the product or service the customer wants in business context with the required functional benefits and product attributes at the price he is willing to pay. Efficiency is minimization of resources to produce the saleable output.

Functions of Management or Process of Management

Koontz and O'Donnell classified the functions of management or process of management into PLANNING, ORGANIZING, STAFFING, LEADING AND CONTROLLING.

Management is an art and it is doing things in the light of realities of a situation. The organized knowledge underlying this practice is referred to as science and this body of knowledge can be expressed through principles of management. This is the thought of Koontz and O'Donnell. Principles are identified for each function of management.

Also, the functions of managers provide a useful structure for organizing management knowledge that is expanding with the more and more research being carried out in the  management field under various approaches to study of management. All new ideas, research findings, and techniques can be placed in the classification of  PLANNING, ORGANIZING, STAFFING, LEADING AND CONTROLLING.


Every manager has to select objectives for his enterprise, department, section, unit or group. Based on the objectives he has to set goals for a specific period and make plans that contain ways of reaching the set goals. Planning in general is explained as generating alternatives and selection of the most suitable alternatives from among them for solving a problem. The problem in this context has positive connotation also. How to achieve growth is a problem which has a positive implication only.

Therefore planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and who is to it. Planning bridges the gap from where we are to where we want to be in a desired future.

Planning involves decision making. It is selecting the courses of action that a company or any other enterprise, and every department of it, will follow.

Types of Plans

Managers create various types of plans as part of the planning activity.


Objectives are the ends toward which the activity of an organization is aimed.

Goals represent the rate at which objectives of an organization are achieved. Goals quantify the objective with a time frame. For example, if a country has the objective of switching to unconventional sources of energy, the goals could specified as so many gigawatts of energy by end of year 2012. 
Grand strategies
According to R.N. Anthony strategies result from the processes  of deciding "on objectives of the organization", "on changes in these objectives", "on the resources used to attain these objectives", and "on policies that are to govern the acquisition, use, and disposition of these resources." The main meaning and usefulness of grand strategies are to describe a type of planning program of a broad nature which gives over-all direction to the other and more detailed programs of an enterprise.

The emphasis in grand strategies is on the pattern of basic objectives of the organization and goals and the major policies and plans for achieving them.

The purpose of grand strategy of an enterprise is to determine and communicate, through a system of major objectives and policies, a picture of what kind of enterprise is envisioned. A framework is given in the grand strategy which is a useful plan to guide company thinking.

Koontz and O'Donnell give the opinion that strategy is not a new type of plan actually. It is a program. But the concept of strategy is practically very useful and its importance in guiding detailed planning justify its separation as a different type of plan.

Competitive strategies
Competition exists where two or more persons strive for the same goals under conditions in which not all can gain from them. Competitive strategy is a plan made in the light of the plans of a competitor. The plans are made either with an estimate of plans or competitor or plan is a reaction to the strategic move of competitor either announced or executed.  To estimate the competitor's plans, a manager has to put himself in his competitor's place and develop a set of plans for his competitor, using the knowledge has regarding the objectives and the circumstances in which the competitor is operating. No doubt some industrial espionage will be tried to get an understanding of competitor's plans.

Policies are general statements which guide or channel thinking in decision making of subordinates. Policies delimit an area within which a decision is to be made and assure that the decision will be consistent with and contribute to objectives. Policies tend to predecide issues, and avoid repeated analysis. Polices are based on analysis and once pronounced avoid repeated analysis.

Procedures are plans and they establish a method of handling activities. They specify a chronological sequence of required actions.

A rule is the simplest type of plan. A rule requires that a specific and definite action be taken or not taken with respect to a situation.

A program is a complex of policies, procedures, rules, task assignments assembled to carry out a given course of action. A program is supported by necessary capital and operating budgets.

A budget is a plan for a specific period. We can say it is a period plan. It is goals of a period expressed in terms of resources required and output expected and authorized or agreed by the organization. It is a statement of expected results expressed in numerical terms


Organization as envisaged by Fayol is the plan for material organization and people organization required to achieve the objectives of the organization. It could have been a part of the planning process. But it is a complex step and hence it is given as a separate function. Subsequent to Fayol, in the management text books material organization was not given any attention. All the attention has gone to people organization. This is a shortcoming of the management theory at this stage (2014).

Organizing is explained currently as  the grouping of activities necessary to attain the objectives, the assignment of each grouping to a manager with authority necessary to supervise it,and the provision for coordination horizontally and vertically in the enterprise structure.

Formal Organization and Informal Organization

Formal organization means the intentional structure of roles specified through  a formal organization structure chart.

Informal organization is any joint personal activity without conscious joint purpose, even though contributing to joint results (Chester Barnard).

Important concepts in organizing

1. Principles of span of control
2. Departmentation: By numbers, by time (shifts), by function, by territory, br product, by customer segment, by maketing channels, by process (in manufacturing).
3. Line and staff relationships
4. Delegation


The managerial function of staffing is defined a filling positions in the organization structure through identifying work force requirements, inventorying the people available, recruitment, selection, placement, promotion, appraisal, compensation, and training of people.


The managerial function of leading is defined as the process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically toward the achievement of organizational goals.

Important Concepts

Behavioral model of man
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
McCleland's needs
Vroom's Expectancy Theory of Motivation
Reinforcement theory
Job enlargement
Job enrichment
Styles of leadership
Managerial grid
Situation leadership or contingency theory of leadership


The managerial function of controlling is the measurement and correction of performance in order to make sure that enterprise objectives and plans devised to attain them are accomplished. The control actions include planning once again, reorganization, new staffing decision and leading activities.

Control of overall performance refers to the assessment of higher level managers, managers of departments and profit centers.

Replace Staffing by Resourcing

Prof. Narayana Rao's suggestion in 2010

A Manager's Job is to get results through people and other resources. Hence acquiring all resources (including human resources) is a function of management. - Narayana Rao

The article explaining the suggestion was first published on Knol in 2010.

Koontz and O'Donnell outlined Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing and Controlling as the five functions of management and explained the process of management of these five functions.

In the place of staffing, using the word resourcing, could be a better description of management function at the current stage.

A plan to achieve something (objective) is to be  converted into an organizational plan that requires  resources (facilities and materials) and people. The manager has to acquire these resources to set up the organization to implement his plan. Acquisition of human resources is staffing. But normally in modern business, the manager has to acquire money resources or finance. Then, using capital and finance, he has to  acquire land, buildings, machinery, materials and various other services. Then comes directing and resource allocation (execution).

This article  supports the first lecture of Review of Research in Management

Updated   23 January 2018,  22 July 2014, 4 Feb 2012

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