What is Management?
Management is essential for an organized life and necessary to run all types of management. Good management is the backbone of successful organizations. Managing life means getting things done to achieve life’s objectives and managing an organization means getting things done with and through other people to achieve its objectives.
Whether management is an art or science, will continue to be a subject of debate. However, most management thinkers agree that some form of formal academic management background helps in managing successfully. Practically, all CEO’s are university graduates. Hence, the reason for including business degree programs in all academic institutions.
Management is a set of principles relating to the functions of planning, organizing, directing and controlling, and the application of these principles in harnessing physical, financial, human and informational resources efficiently and effectively to achieve organizational goals.
Definition of Management
Many management thinkers have defined management in their own ways. For example, Van Fleet and Peterson define management, ‘as a set of activities directed at the efficient and effective utilization of resources in the pursuit of one or more goals.’
Megginson, Mosley and Pietri define management as ‘working with human, financial and physical resources to achieve organizational objectives by performing the planning, organizing, leading and controlling functions‘.
Kreitner’s definition of management:
‘Management is a problem-solving process of effectively achieving organizational objectives through the efficient use of scarce resources in a changing environment.’
According to F.W. Taylor, ‘Management is an art of knowing what to do, when to do and see that it is done in the best and cheapest way‘.
According to Harold Koontz, ‘Management is an art of getting things done through and with the people in formally organized groups. It is an art of creating an environment in which people can perform and individuals and can co-operate towards attainment of group goals.‘
A leader has certain inherent qualities and traits which assist him in playing a directing role and wielding commanding influence which others. Leadership is an integral part of management and plays a vital role in managerial operations, while management is an integral component of technical as well as social processes.
The practice of management is as old as human civilization. However, the study of management in a systematic and scientific way as a distinct body of knowledge is only of recent origin.
Management in some form or another is an integral part of living and is essential wherever human efforts are to be undertaken to achieve desired objectives. The basic ingredients of management are always at play, whether we manage our lives or our business.
For example, let us look at the managerial role of a simple housewife and how she uses the managerial ingredients in managing the home. First, she appraises her household and its needs. She forecasts the needs of the household for a period of a week or a month or longer. She takes stock of her resources and any constraints on these resources.
She plans and organizes her resources to obtain the maximum benefits out of these resources. She monitors and controls the household budget and expenses and other activities.
In a large household, she divides the work among other members and coordinates their activities. She encourages and motivates them to do their best in completing their activities. She is always in search of improve, mention goals, resources and in means to attain these goals. These ingredients, generally, are the basic functions of management.
Management can be defined in detail in the following categories :
- Management as a Process
- Management as an Activity
- Management as a Discipline
- Management as a Group
- Management as a Science
- Management as an Art
- Management as a Profession
The concept of management is as old as the human race itself. The concept of ‘family’ itself required that life be organized and resources of food are apportioned in a manner so as to maximize the utility of such resources. Taking proper steps to safeguard the family from attacks by wild animals, planning on where to go fishing and hunting and whom to go with, organizing these groups into chiefs and hunting and fishing bands where chiefs gave directions, and so on, are all subtle ingredients of management and organization.
A study of various people around the world shows good examples of organizational structures and organizational evolution over the years. A village open market in a tribe and a large department store in a modern city serves the same needs in a similar fashion, which is putting things together that people need.
While the tribal organization was simple in nature, the modern organization is much more sophisticated and complex with many technological innovations. However, the basic form of management and organizational structure seem to have existed since the beginning of an organized human activity.
Even the recorded history shows the application of some current management techniques as far back as 5000 BC. when the ancient Sumerians used written records in assisting governmental operations. The Egyptian pyramids, built as early as 3000 BC., required the organized efforts of over 1,00,000 workers.
It would be natural to assume that all functions of modern management, namely, planning, organizing, directing and controlling played a significant role in the construction of these monuments. Similarly, the early civilization of India bears witness to organized living.
Management, as a system, is not only an essential element of an organized society but also an integral part of life when we talk about managing our lives. Managing life is not much different from managing an organization and this ‘art’ of management has been with us from time immemorial. Just as a well-managed life is much better organized, goal-oriented and successful, ‘good’ management of an organization makes the difference between the success and the failure of the organization.
Perhaps, the importance of management was highlighted by the late President of the United States, John F. Kennedy when he said that, the role of management in our society is critical in human progress. It serves to identify a great need of our time: to improve standards of living for all people through the effective utilization of human and material sources.
Similarly, Peter F. Drucker, a noted management authority has emphasized the importance of management to social living. He proclaimed nearly 25 years ago that, ‘effective management was becoming the main resource of developed nations and that it was the most needed resource for developing nations.’
A manager’s job is highly crucial to the success of any organization. The more complex the organization, the more crucial it is to the manager’s role in it. A good manager makes things happen. The importance of management in any organization was emphasized by Professor Leonard R. Sayles in his address to a group of management development specialists, as follows:
‘We must find ways of convincing society as a whole, and those who train managers in particular, that the real leadership problems of our institutions-the getting things done, the implementation, the evolving of a consensus, the making of the right decisions at the right time with the right people is where the action is.
Although we as a society haven’t learned to give much credit to managers, I hope we can move toward recognizing that managerial and leadership jobs are among the most critical tasks of our society. As such, they deserve the professional status that we give to more traditional fields of knowledge.’