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ABC of Management

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The ABC of Management

Module - 1: Table of Contents - Introductory

  1. Title Page - The ABC of Management

  2. Functions of Management

  3. Principles of Management

  4. How study of Management, as a Subject is Important for Indian Conditions Today?

Other Modules Under ABC of Management

  1. Module: 2 -Evolution of Management Thought

  2. Module: 3 - Theories of Motivation

Management is a vast subject that branches into several sub-categories, like "business management", "Organization Management", "Management of Hospitals", "Management of Educational Institutions" etc. Men have learnt management, when they grouped themselves into society and thence into a State to protect and regulate their mutual interests. This has been possible on account of emergence of "leadership" amongst the group and the ability of such "leader" to organize others into obeying what all was needed for their common good. The group's mission and objectives were defined. Codes of ethics and behaviour and responsibility for specific tasks were then assigned to the individuals of the group. Men learnt to manage the institutions of the State, like the "army", revenue collection, the judiciary", "municipal or civic administration" etc. All these systems incorporate essentials of good management.

'ABC of Management' is introducing "management" as a subject for study to those who are not new to the process of "management", but to the academic subject of management. It aims to familiarise you with the various concepts covered in the art and science of modern management, which has grown now into a vast subject covering a wide field of knowledge.

Importance of study Management, as a Subject in our Country

Peter Drucker has stated aptly that "the achievement of business management enables us to promise the abolition of the grinding poverty that has been mankind's lot through ages". This is significantly relevant to conditions in our country. Our country is endowed with huge natural resources and talented technical personnel. But we are still a developing country and large sections of our population live in abject poverty and illiteracy. Amongst the many causes responsible for this state of affairs is the poor management of social, business and other enterprises of our country. Many of our shortcomings and drawbacks will disappear, if we sharpen our management techniques and train efficient, dedicated managers to run our institutions and organizations.

What is Implied by the Word "Manage"

We are all quite familiar with the word "manage" and "management". The literary meanings ascribed to the word "manage" are

  1. "To direct or conduct business affairs",

  2. "To exert control over"

  3. "To direct the affairs or interests of"
  4. "To direct affairs; to carry on business or affairs; to administer"

  5. "To have under control and direction; to conduct; to guide; to administer; to treat; to handle"

  6. "To succeed in accomplishing or achieving, especially with difficulty;"

We know that to manage "something" is to look after its interest; exercise some kind of "control" over the "something" that is being managed, and in the process of such "managing" achieve with due effort some good results, that were aimed in relation to the "something" that is being managed.

When this is known, we can proceed and say, the connected terms

  • The person who look after here "such interest" in the process of "managing" is "the Manager"

  • There should be something to be looked after, we may identify the same as the "managed entity". Normally it represents an inanimate entity, a corporate body, a business venture, social or educational institution or welfare society. Though these are all physically inanimate, legally these are recognised as "legal entities" and these can sue and be sued in their own name. A business concern under propritary ownership (Sole-proprietorship concern) is not deemed distinct from the proprietor in law, but in accountancy and management the business is deemed as a distinct entity from the proprietor. A business can respectively be owned, controlled and managed by different persons.

  • Why to manage or for what purposes to manage? When we ask this question, we get the aims, the objectives or mission or goals for attaining which we venture to manage the "managed entity". A corporate entity does not speak. But its aims, mission and goals are set out in its charter incorporating the body and redefined from time to time by the governing body.

  • How to manage? In answer to this question we start defining the "process of management". We search for "tools of management", or effective devices or application that should serve to carry out the process of management. The processes of management are identified as "Functions of Management" and the tools of management as "Principles of Management". These are dealt with in subsequent chapters.

  • The managed entity possess "resources", i.e. men, material, machines, money, methods etc. The manager secures control of these resources with an attached responsibility for the efficient application or use of these resources for the purpose or to secure the objectives and aims of management.

What is Implied by the Word "Management"

Similarly different literary meanings ascribed to the word "management" are

  • The act, manner, or practice of managing; handling, supervision, or control

  • The person or persons who control or direct a business or other enterprise.(Manager & managed entity)

  • The act or art of managing; the manner of treating, directing, carrying on, or using, for a purpose;(objectives of management)

  • Judicious use of means to accomplish an end; conduct directed by art or address; skillful treatment; (management processes)

The word "management" refers to act of "managing something" and also the "persons who are in control and direct the managing process. Here we will consider the act of managing. The act of managing has to be with reference to some business, or enterprise etc. which we identified as the "managed entity". Further the act of managing has to be towards some defined standards or purpose. We identify this as the "management objectives" or the "goals of the business".

What is not "Management"

Obviously we cannot identify several functions we carry out for the personal satisfaction of our felt needs and personal interest as implying "management". These are done by instinct and self-will . Though we have total control on our selves, if we identify these actions of ours, as "management", we will be integrating the "manager" with the "managed entity". The "manager" and the "managed entity" should be distinct and cannot be the same.

There is however an exception to this observation. While normally several functions that we do on account of our instinct or natural urge do not fall under the substance or meaning of management, but when we start to analyse these functions and through observation and experiment try to optimise results with minimum effort, we enter into the field of management. Thus we may define "time management", when we search for and find ways of achieving more results in smaller units of time, and thus maximise our output per day, or per week etc. Similarly human memory is a gift of nature provided to each individual. But memory has limitations. When we start analysing the systems or behaviour of human memory and experiment and find, how we can optimise on this resource, we come to "Memory Management". Time and Memory are resources endowed to us and we come to deem them as external objects and try to "manage" their best utilisation.

Similarly when we render some personal service to others based on the possession of a specific skill and specialisation that we hold, like a doctor extending medical advice or a chartered accountant extending some advice about investing the savings of another individual, these are merely providing ad-hoc service and do not fall under the definition of management. The individuals, who seek such service take the initiative and approach the "service-provider" and the "service provider" responds, but has no control over the individuals to whom they provide service. The service that is being provided may be a one-time transaction or one-function transaction, while management function carries comprehensive responsibilities and control or access over the resources of the "entity managed", with power to use/utilize the same.

Simple Definitions of Management

Having covered a good ground in understandings the ABC of management and the function "to manage", we may proceed to define 'management' in more concrete terms. We saw earlier that the word 'Management' is referred in our day-to-day usage to the people at the top, who lay down policies and plan future? It also refers to the functions carried out by managers at various levels. Management mainly consists of two things. One is accomplishment of certain tasks and second is the efforts of the people.

Most of the definitions of Management are based on the functions of Management. Obviously Management is what Management should do or what it actually does. Definitions of Management by some of the leading writers on the subject are as under:

  1. Koontz defines management as "The process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together in groups, accomplish efficiently selected aims". He expands it by saying that it is concerned with productivity with the aim of producing surplus, and applies to any kind of organization, at all levels and involves the functions of planning, organising, staffing, leading and controlling.

  2. "It is the art of knowing what you want to do and then seeing it done…. In the best and cheapest way…by securing maximum use of men and machines." (Frederick W. Taylor)

  3. "Management is the distinct process consisting of planning, organising, actuating and controlling, utilising in both science and art, and followed in order to accomplish predetermined objectives."(Terry)

  4. "Management is the accomplishment of results through the efforts of people" (Lawrence Appley)

  5. "Management is a multi purpose organ that manages a business and manages managers and manages workers and work" (Peter Drucker)

So many definitions replete with management jargons will be confusing to you. You need not memorise these definitions. All these definitions deal with the principles and functions of management. It is these principles and functions that are important and which you must understand.

Management theory is a systematic grouping of inter-dependent concepts and principles, which give framework to knowledge. Management concepts are mental images formed by generalizations based on observation of particular instances of the same kind. Facts in day to day life of the manager within the organization are observed, classified, analysed for casual relationship, tested for accuracy, and if found reliable and true are used as principles to predict results in future, for similar or near similar circumstances.

The field of management theory provides means for classifying knowledge. The principles of management are used to give guidelines for designing an organisational structure.

The above definitions broadly bring out the basic functions of Management, which are Objective setting, Planning, organising, communicating controlling and coordinating etc.

  1. Planning with preset objectives-
    Management sets the objective and plans comprehensively to achieve the same. All management activities are object oriented.

  2. Group Involvement-
    Management deals with group involvement. The processes have become complex and need specialization. Formal and informal groups do these tasks in an organised manner in full cooperation with each other and achieve goals set up. Managers deal with these groups and make the results effective. Management directs large number employees doing different jobs, prepares job schedules for them and guides them properly.

  3. Management is a Process-
    Management deals with human effort in a big way. In this sense it is a social process. Managers perform processes to make optimum use of scarce resources. A decision is taken, means and material are brought together, people are gathered to assist in accomplishment of tasks and results are apportioned. Since human effort is involved in a big way, it is a Social process.

  4. Management as a specialization-
    Managers are expected to have general knowledge of all those tasks being performed by those working at different levels. It is generalization and yet unique in required skills, knowledge and practice. It is thus different from all other procedures in other spheres.

  5. It is a System of authority at all levels.
    Right from the Managing Director, down to the supervisor the management techniques are the same. Although the functions are the same, the authority differs. Each one is vested at his level with authority and powers to get work executed through those reporting to them.

  6. Profession-
    Management is now considered as a profession and attracts entry of qualified persons to manage big enterprises.

  7. Management is both art and science
    The concepts, principles, theory of management and its real practice conform that it is both.

Having understood the broad parameters of management, we will proceed to identify "Management Functions" and later "Management Principles" in the following chapters.

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