Management is an extremely popular concept used the world over. Its underlying principle is that helps create a framework for people to work together towards a single unifying purpose or goal. According to Koontz1, “management is an art of getting things done through and with people in formally organized groups”. Its importance stems from the fact that organizations normally have limited resources, and therefore, it is important to maximize those resources by operating as efficiency as possible.
How management is used and utilized, will of course, differ from one organization to another. For example, one organization’s goal may be to provide shelter to people affected by natural disasters - hence, their goal is not essentially monetary. Another organization’s goal may be to sell as many television sets as possible, and therefore, management principles are used to maximize profit and reduce costs as much as possible.
Management is a very flexible and ever changing concept. It can also be extremely simple or extremely complex, depending on countless variables within organizations and the environment in which they operate. Although management has many systematic characteristics, a significant component of it is relativistic as it is focused on social processes and human behavior. What makes it interesting for example, while many of its principles and theoretical underpinnings might work well today, they may become obsolete in the future. Hence, it is continuously changing and adapting to the world around us.
While terms like business management and business administration are commonly used interchangeably, they are fundamentally different in their functions and applicability.
Management is focused on execution. Administration is focused on decision-making.
Management highlights the social aspect of tasks. Administration highlights the technical aspects of tasks.
Management is ‘hands-on’ in its approach. Administration works behind the scenes.
Management is more technical, while administration is more conceptual.
Management is defined by people, their values, opinions, and emotions. Administration is defined by practicality, policies, and public opinion.
Although management is a very broad subject, it can be defined by six distinct and common functions:
Planning. Good management always starts with good planning.
Organizing. It is critical to make sure everyone and everything is ready.
Staffing. Finding the right people makes the difference between success and failure.
Directing. As a manager, you lead by example, and make sure all processes are running smoothly.
Co-ordination. Co-ordination is extremely important in ensuring harmony between groups of people and overlaps with all other functions.
Controlling. If things are not going as planned, or if the objectives are being jeopardized, management principles highlights the need for managers to control and correct the situation as necessary.
Using those functions in a concurrent manner helps organizations and businesses to clearly identify their objectives, find out necessary facts to help with decision making, evaluate all potential alternatives, and executing final decisions. Due to the nature of the managerial process, it is normally conceptualized as a ‘group’ process, where many individuals work together, in-sync, with one collective aim or end result.
Balancing all those functions within an organization, based on the needs and limitations, is both, an art and a science.