Nature of Management
Meaning of Management
Management can be defined as the process of coordinating and overseeing resources (human, financial, material, and informational) in order to achieve organizational goals and objectives. This involves planning, organizing, leading, and controlling resources to achieve desired outcomes. Effective management is critical for organizations to succeed in an increasingly complex and competitive global environment.
Scholars have provided various definitions of management over the years. Here are a few examples:
- According to Peter Drucker, a well-known management theorist, “management is a multi-purpose organ that manages a business and manages managers and manages workers and work.” In other words, management involves coordinating and directing the efforts of various stakeholders to achieve organizational goals.
- Henry Fayol, another prominent management theorist, defined management as “to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control.” Fayol believed that management involved a set of functions that needed to be performed in order to achieve organizational goals.
- According to Mary Parker Follett, an early management scholar, “management is the art of getting things done through people.” Follett emphasized the importance of collaboration and teamwork in achieving organizational goals.
- Chester Barnard, a management theorist from the mid-20th century, defined management as “a system of consciously coordinated activities or forces of two or more persons.” Barnard believed that effective management required a shared sense of purpose and cooperation among organizational members.
These definitions illustrate that management involves coordinating and directing resources towards achieving organizational goals. Effective management requires a range of skills, including planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, as well as communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal skills.
Approaches of Management
Management can be understood from two approaches
- Common Approach
- System Approach
A. Common Approach
The common approach to management can be further broken down into three key perspectives:
- Management as a noun: This perspective views management as a set of activities or tasks that are performed by managers within an organization. It emphasizes the importance of the basic functions of management, including planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, and focuses on the practical aspects of managing people and resources.
- Management as a discipline: This perspective views management as an academic discipline that draws on a wide range of theories and principles from other disciplines, including economics, sociology, psychology, and engineering. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the underlying theories and concepts of management, and developing a deep knowledge of the principles and practices of effective management.
- Management as a process: This perspective views management as a continuous process of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, that is aimed at achieving the goals and objectives of the organization. It emphasizes the importance of feedback and adaptation, and recognizes that effective management requires a flexible and dynamic approach that is responsive to changing circumstances.
Overall, the common approach to management provides a useful framework for understanding the principles and practices of effective management. By examining management from these different perspectives, managers can develop a more comprehensive understanding of the role of management in organizations, and the principles and practices that can be used to effectively manage people and resources.
B. System Approach…
Essentials/Nature of Management
The nature of management is complex and multifaceted, involving a range of distinct characteristics and essential elements. Here are some of the key features of management:
- Distinct process: Management is a distinct process that involves planning, organizing, leading, and controlling resources in order to achieve specific goals and objectives.
- Goal-oriented: Management is goal-oriented, with the ultimate aim of achieving organizational objectives and meeting stakeholder expectations.
- Art, science, and profession: Management is both an art and a science, involving a range of technical and interpersonal skills, as well as a profession that requires specialized knowledge and training.
- Group activity: Management is typically a group activity, involving the coordination and direction of the efforts of various stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, customers, and other partners.
- Universal activity: Management is a universal activity that is practiced in all organizations, regardless of size, industry, or geographic location.
- Integration process: Management involves the integration of various resources and activities to achieve desired outcomes, including human, financial, material, and informational resources.
- Separate identity: Management has a separate identity from ownership or other stakeholders and is responsible for ensuring that organizational resources are used effectively and efficiently to achieve desired outcomes.
- Pervasive: Management is pervasive in organizations and affects all aspects of organizational activity, from strategy development to day-to-day operations.
- Tangible and intangible: Management involves both tangible and intangible elements, including the management of physical resources, such as equipment and facilities, as well as human resources, such as skills, knowledge, and motivation.
- Dynamic: Management is dynamic and constantly evolving, requiring managers to adapt to changing circumstances and environments in order to achieve organizational goals and objectives.
Management- a Science, an Art, and a Profession
Management is often described as a science, an art, and a profession. Here are the key points of each of these aspects of management:
|-Management is a social science that draws on theories and concepts from a variety of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, economics, and anthropology.
– Management is evidence-based, relying on data and research to inform decision-making.
– Management seeks to develop general principles and theories that can be applied across different organizational contexts.
|– Management involves the application of knowledge and skills to solve complex problems and achieve specific outcomes.
– Management requires creativity, intuition, and judgment to make decisions in uncertain and dynamic environments.
– Management is a craft that can be developed through practice and experience.
|– Management is a profession that involves a specialized body of knowledge and skills.
– Management requires formal education and training, as well as ongoing professional development.
– Management is subject to professional standards and codes of ethics.
Overall, management is a multifaceted discipline that involves both scientific and artistic aspects, as well as a professional identity. Effective management requires a deep understanding of organizational dynamics, as well as the ability to apply knowledge and skills in a practical and effective manner to achieve desired outcomes.
A. Management as a Science
Management can be considered a science because it involves the application of systematic and rigorous methods to understand and solve complex organizational problems. The scientific approach to management emphasizes the use of data, research, and empirical evidence to support decision-making and problem-solving.
According to Frederick Winslow Taylor, “Scientific management means the substitution of exact scientific investigations and knowledge for the old individual judgment or opinion in all matters relating to the handling of men, machines, and materials.”
Here are some aspects that help to understand management as a science:
- The use of scientific methods: Management as a science emphasizes the use of scientific methods to understand organizational behavior and performance. This involves the collection and analysis of data, the development of hypotheses and theories, and the testing of those theories through empirical research.
- The development of theories and models: Management as a science involves the development of theories and models to explain and predict organizational behavior and performance. These theories and models provide a framework for understanding how organizations operate and how managers can influence organizational outcomes.
- The use of quantitative methods: Management as a science emphasizes the use of quantitative methods to measure and analyze organizational performance. This involves the use of statistical methods to analyze data and identify patterns and trends, as well as the use of modeling and simulation techniques to predict organizational outcomes.
- The emphasis on evidence-based decision-making: Management as a science emphasizes the importance of evidence-based decision-making, using data and research to inform decisions and evaluate the effectiveness of management practices.
- The importance of replication and verification: Management as a science emphasizes the importance of replication and verification in research, ensuring that findings are robust and can be replicated across different contexts.
Overall, the scientific approach to management provides a systematic and rigorous approach to understanding and solving complex organizational problems. It emphasizes the importance of data, research, and evidence-based decision-making, and provides a foundation for developing theories and models that can inform management practice.
B. Management as an Art
Management can also be considered an art, as it involves the application of creativity, intuition, and judgment to solve complex problems and achieve specific outcomes.
- According to Henri Fayol, “Management is an art, as it involves the application of certain principles and techniques that require personal skill and creativity to achieve success.”
- Mary Parker Follett views management as “an art of getting things done through people, requiring an understanding of human behavior and motivation, and the ability to communicate effectively and inspire others.”
Here are some of the characteristics of art that justify this aspect of management:
- Creativity: Art is often associated with creativity, and management requires creative thinking to develop innovative solutions to problems and challenges.
- Intuition: Like art, management involves the use of intuition, or a “gut feeling,” to make decisions in uncertain and dynamic environments.
- Personal skill and style: Management as an art involves the application of personal skill and style to achieve specific outcomes. Different managers may have different approaches to management, just as different artists have different styles and techniques.
- Experience-based: Management as an art is experience-based, with managers developing their skills and expertise through practice and experience.
- Flexibility: Art and management both require flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and environments.
- Individual expression: Management as an art allows for individual expression, as managers apply their own unique style and approach to achieve desired outcomes.
Overall, the art of management emphasizes the importance of creativity, intuition, personal skill and style, experience, flexibility, and individual expression in solving complex organizational problems and achieving desired outcomes. While management as a science focuses on evidence-based decision-making and the use of systematic methods, management as an art recognizes the importance of personal creativity and judgment in achieving success.
C. Management as a Profession
Management can be considered a profession, as it involves a specialized body of knowledge and skills, formal education and training, and ongoing professional development
- According to Peter Drucker, “Management is a profession that requires formal education and training, as well as the development of specialized knowledge and skills, to achieve the best possible outcomes for an organization.”
- Mary Parker Follett views management as “a profession that requires an understanding of human behavior and motivation, as well as the ability to communicate effectively and inspire others.”
There are several different bases upon which management can be recognized as a profession. Here are some of the key ones:
- Specialized knowledge and skills: Management requires specialized knowledge and skills that are developed through formal education and training. This includes knowledge of management theory, business principles, and industry-specific practices.
- Formal education and training: Management as a profession requires formal education and training, such as a degree in business or management, to develop the necessary knowledge and skills.
- Professional standards and codes of ethics: Management is subject to professional standards and codes of ethics that provide guidelines for ethical conduct and professional behavior.
- Certification and licensure: Some aspects of management, such as project management or human resource management, may require certification or licensure to demonstrate professional competence.
- Ongoing professional development: Management as a profession requires ongoing professional development to stay current with industry trends, best practices, and new technologies.
- Professional associations: Management as a profession has professional associations, such as the Project Management Institute or the Society for Human Resource Management, which provide networking opportunities, training and certification programs, and other resources for professional development.
- Accountability: Management as a profession involves a high level of accountability, as managers are responsible for making decisions that can have significant impacts on their organizations and stakeholders.
Overall, recognizing management as a profession emphasizes the importance of specialized knowledge and skills, ethical behavior and accountability, ongoing professional development, and recognition and support from professional associations. These bases provide a framework for the ongoing development and improvement of management practices and ensure that managers have the necessary knowledge and skills to make effective decisions and achieve organizational goals.
Key Management Functions
The key management functions consist of the management process, which is a cycle that includes planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Here’s a brief overview of each function:
- Planning: This involves setting goals and objectives for the organization and developing a strategy to achieve them. It includes identifying the resources needed, assessing risks, and developing contingency plans.
- Organizing: This involves structuring the organization to achieve the goals and objectives set in the planning phase. It includes designing the organizational structure, allocating resources, and establishing communication channels.
- Leading: This involves inspiring and motivating employees to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization. It includes communicating the vision and goals of the organization, providing guidance and direction to employees, and creating a positive work culture.
- Controlling: This involves monitoring and evaluating the performance of the organization to ensure that it is meeting its goals and objectives. It includes establishing performance metrics, analyzing data, and taking corrective action as necessary.
In addition to these four functions, there are two more functions that are often included in the management process:
- Staffing: This involves recruiting, hiring, and training employees to ensure that the organization has the necessary talent and skills to achieve its goals and objectives.
- Coordinating: This involves ensuring that all the different parts of the organization are working together to achieve the goals and objectives set in the planning phase. It includes establishing communication channels and integrating the work of different departments and teams.
Overall, the management process involves a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, with staffing and coordinating playing important supporting roles. Effective management requires a deep understanding of each of these functions and the ability to apply them in a practical and effective manner to achieve desired outcomes.
Levels of Management
The term “level of management” refers to the hierarchical positions within an organization, with each level having a specific set of responsibilities and authority. There are typically three levels of management in most organizations, which include:
- Top-level management: This includes executives and senior managers who are responsible for setting the overall direction and strategy of the organization. They make major decisions about the organization’s goals, policies, and procedures, and are accountable to the board of directors or owners.
- Middle-level management: This includes managers who are responsible for implementing the plans and strategies set by top-level management. They oversee the work of lower-level managers and ensure that the organization is meeting its goals and objectives. They also serve as a liaison between top-level management and front-line employees.
- Front-line management: This includes supervisors and team leaders who are responsible for overseeing the work of front-line employees. They are responsible for implementing the policies and procedures set by middle-level management and ensuring that work is done efficiently and effectively.
In addition to these three levels, some organizations may also have a fourth level of management, which includes functional or departmental managers. These managers are responsible for overseeing a specific function or department within the organization, such as human resources or finance.
|Level of Management
|Examples of Job Titles
|Set overall direction and strategy for organization, make major decisions, ensure organization meets goals and objectives
|Conceptual and strategic thinking, leadership, communication, financial management
|CEO, CFO, COO, President, Vice President
|Implement strategies and goals set by top-level management, coordinate activities of different departments or teams, manage and develop employees
|Technical and interpersonal skills, communication, problem-solving, decision-making
|Director, Manager, Department Head
|Direct and supervise employees in day-to-day activities, ensure quality and productivity, manage resources, enforce policies and procedures
|Technical skills related to specific tasks, communication, interpersonal skills, attention to detail
|Supervisor, Team Leader, Shift Manager
Each level of management has a specific set of responsibilities and authority, with top-level management having the most authority and responsibility and front-line management having the least. Effective management requires a deep understanding of the responsibilities and challenges of each level of management and the ability to coordinate and align the efforts of all levels to achieve organizational goals and objectives.
Key Function of Top Level Management
Top-level management, also known as executive management, is responsible for setting the overall direction and strategy of an organization. The key functions of top-level management include:
- Setting organizational goals and objectives: Top-level management is responsible for setting the long-term goals and objectives of the organization, and developing a strategy to achieve them. They must consider the organization’s mission, vision, and values, as well as external factors such as competition and market trends.
- Developing and implementing strategy: Top-level management must develop and implement a strategy to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives. This may involve making decisions about resource allocation, investment, and new product or service development.
- Ensuring financial performance: Top-level management is responsible for ensuring that the organization is financially stable and profitable. They must monitor financial performance, set budgets and targets, and make strategic decisions to improve financial outcomes.
- Managing stakeholders: Top-level management must manage relationships with stakeholders, including shareholders, investors, customers, employees, and the wider community. They must balance the interests of these stakeholders and ensure that the organization is acting ethically and responsibly.
- Leading and managing the organization: Top-level management must lead and manage the organization, setting the tone for the culture and values of the organization. They must also recruit and manage senior managers, and ensure that the organization has the necessary talent and resources to achieve its goals and objectives.
Overall, the key functions of top-level management involve setting the overall direction and strategy of the organization, managing relationships with stakeholders, and ensuring that the organization is financially stable and profitable. Effective top-level management is critical for the success of an organization, as it provides the vision, leadership, and direction needed to achieve long-term success.
Key Function of Middle Level Management
Middle-level management is responsible for implementing the strategies and goals set by top-level management, coordinating the activities of different departments or teams, and communicating with both top-level management and lower-level management. The key functions of middle-level management include:
- Translating top-level goals into actionable plans: Middle-level management must translate the overall goals and strategies set by top-level management into actionable plans for their specific department or function. They must consider the resources and constraints of their department or function, and develop plans that are aligned with the overall goals and strategies of the organization.
- Coordinating activities across departments or teams: Middle-level management must coordinate the activities of different departments or teams within the organization to ensure that everyone is working towards common goals. They must facilitate communication and collaboration between different teams and ensure that everyone is aware of the organization’s overall goals and objectives.
- Managing and developing employees: Middle-level management is responsible for managing and developing employees within their department or function. This includes recruiting, training, and developing employees, setting performance standards, and providing feedback and coaching.
- Ensuring quality and efficiency: Middle-level management must ensure that work within their department or function is completed to a high standard and in an efficient manner. They must identify opportunities to improve processes and workflows, and ensure that employees are following best practices and company policies.
- Communicating with top-level and lower-level management: Middle-level management must communicate regularly with top-level management about their department or function’s performance, as well as any challenges or opportunities that arise. They must also communicate with lower-level management to ensure that everyone is aware of the overall goals and objectives of the organization.
Overall, effective middle-level management is critical for ensuring that the organization is executing its strategies and achieving its goals and objectives. Middle-level managers must be able to translate top-level goals into actionable plans, coordinate activities across departments or teams, manage and develop employees, ensure quality and efficiency, and communicate effectively with both top-level and lower-level management.
Key Function of Low Level Management
Low-level management, also known as operational or supervisory management, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization. The key functions of low-level management include:
- Directing and supervising employees: Low-level managers are responsible for directing and supervising employees in their day-to-day activities. This includes setting work schedules, assigning tasks, and monitoring performance.
- Ensuring quality and productivity: Low-level managers are responsible for ensuring that work is completed on time and to a high standard. They must monitor productivity and quality, and take corrective action as necessary.
- Managing resources: Low-level managers are responsible for managing resources such as equipment, materials, and supplies, and ensuring that they are being used effectively and efficiently.
- Communicating with middle-level management: Low-level managers must communicate with middle-level management about the progress of their teams, and about any issues or challenges that arise.
- Enforcing policies and procedures: Low-level managers are responsible for ensuring that their teams are following company policies and procedures, and for enforcing disciplinary action if necessary.
Overall, the key functions of low-level management involve directing and supervising employees, ensuring quality and productivity, managing resources, communicating with middle-level management, and enforcing policies and procedures. Effective low-level management is critical for the success of an organization, as it ensures that day-to-day operations are running smoothly and that employees are working efficiently and effectively.
Requirement of Skill by Levels of Management
The requirement of skills by levels of management refers to the different skills and competencies that are needed at each level of the organizational hierarchy. As managers move up the hierarchy, the skills they need to be effective change. Here’s an overview of the skills required at each level of management:
- Conceptual skills: These skills involve the ability to think strategically and understand complex ideas and relationships. Top-level managers require high levels of conceptual skills, as they are responsible for setting the overall direction and strategy of the organization. Middle-level managers also require high levels of conceptual skills, as they must understand how their department or team fits into the overall organization. Low-level managers require lower to medium levels of conceptual skills, as they are focused on the day-to-day operations of the organization.
- Human relations skills: These skills involve the ability to communicate effectively, build relationships, and work well with others. All levels of management require high levels of human relations skills, as they must interact with employees, customers, and stakeholders.
- Technical skills: These skills involve the ability to perform specific tasks or functions. Top-level managers require lower to medium levels of technical skills, as they are not directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the organization. Middle-level managers require medium levels of technical skills, as they must understand the technical aspects of their department or team. Low-level managers require high levels of technical skills, as they are responsible for performing specific tasks and overseeing the work of employees.
Overall, effective management at all levels requires a combination of conceptual, human relations, and technical skills. Each level of management has its own unique requirements for these skills, based on the specific responsibilities and functions of the role.
Difference between Levels of Management
Here’s a table that outlines the differences between the three levels of management based on the criteria you provided:
|Types of skills required
|Technical and interpersonal skills
|Conceptual and strategic skills
|Involvement in policy activities
|Implementation of policies and procedures developed by top-level management
|Implementation of policies and procedures developed by top-level management and development of policies and procedures for the department
|Development of overall organizational policies and strategies
|Department or team level
|Department or division level
|Area of activity
|Coordination of departments or teams
|Setting overall direction and strategy
|Size in terms of number of people covered
|Small to medium-sized teams
|Medium to large-sized teams
|Evaluation of performance
|Individual and team performance
|Nature of activity
|Operational and tactical
|Operational and tactical with some strategic responsibilities
|Strategic and visionary
Overall, the differences between the levels of management are based on the skills required, the level of involvement in policy activities, the scope and area of activity, the size of the team or organization, the evaluation of performance, and the nature of the activities performed. By understanding these differences, organizations can ensure that they are hiring and developing managers with the right skills and competencies for their role, and that they are providing the necessary support and resources to enable managers to perform their roles effectively.