Control Function in Management and Leadership

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What is the control function of management?

The control function of management entails verification of whether everything runs in conformity with the strategy and policies that the organization adopts, the instructions that have been issued, and the established principles. With effective control in place, an organization optimizes the use of its resources so that it can achieve its goals and objectives (Newstrom & Davis, 1993). The control function of management ensures that deviations in actual performance from the standard performance are measured.

In the process, the causes of such deviations are established and corrective measures are adopted. Controlling is a systematic process that checks actual performance against the set standards and ensures adequate progress. Business managers have to continually take reading to be sure that the business is on the right path.

Controlling is intended to facilitate coordination as well as aiding in planning. It should be an end function that only features once the performance has conformed to the laid down plans (Hofstede, 1977). It is a dynamic process that involves a review of methods, implying that changes have to be made whenever there is a need. Finally, controlling is related to planning because they draw meaning from each other in management cycles. Each of them presupposes the other.

An example of the control function of management was observed in Apple when Steve Jobs was still the corporation’s CEO. Being a leader of one of the most successful companies in the world is not an easy feat, however, Steve Jobs made it look so by having effective control of Apple, Inc. Jobs achieved success by working together with his team while still playing an integral part in product research and development, spotting opportunities and giving the corporation a competitive advantage. When he returned to Apple as CEO in 1997 after being ousted in 1985, Jobs ensured that the company set realistic goals, employed only the best, and coordinated the various managerial processes. Consequently, his arrival at Apple saw great sales, an increase in stock prices, and overall success.

Why does the controlling function of management have a negative connotation?

The controlling function of management has negative connotations because some management scholars argue that organizations keep changing in nature and management control should also be averse with the wind of change. Some people have argued that management should not have any kind of control as it is supposed to support employees’ efforts so that they become fully productive in whatever tasks they are assigned to do by organizations and communities.

Some people even argue that controlling is counterproductive to an organization’s management together with its employees. Yet a few people do not like the phrase ‘management control’ since according to them the phrase is a negative connotation as it sounds dominating and forceful. A proposal that the phrase is replaced by the term coordinating has been flouted.

The controlling function of management has also had a negative connotation because some managers have literally adopted the ‘control’ function to exercise extreme authority over their subjects. These leaders have adopted a top-down approach where lower cadre employees are supposed to follow orders and instructions from the management without question, leading many employees to view the control function of management as a form of tyranny.

How is the controlling function of management evolving?

Because the complex nature of businesses and the development of technologies are happening at a faster rate, the control functions of business managers have also kept evolving. Changes in the control function of management have been occasioned by changes in organizations.

Types of control systems

There are three main forms of organizational control systems. First is feedforward control, sometimes called preventive control, which aims to identify and lessen the effects of divergences from the standards when they occur. This control system enables the management to prevent disasters such as labor shortage and shortage of raw materials before they occur. However, this system can be quite expensive to maintain if the organization is to be ready for any problems.

The second control system, known as concurrent control, is characterized by the monitoring of ongoing staff activities to make certain that they conform to the quality standards. The success of this control depends on the type of performance standards, policies, and regulations for monitoring staff conduct and behaviors. The ultimate goal of this control is to ensure that work activities give the wanted results. Although it may result in improvement of output quality, this control may lower staff morale as most experienced workers prefer to work alone without being monitored constantly.

Feedback control entails reviewing information to establish whether staff output meets the set standards. For instance, if an organization has set to increase its profitability by 5 percent, then the output from each staff must reflect this goal. Feedback control is important in ensuring the business attains its goals, however, by the time the manager has the information about staff activities, any potential problems or damages will have occurred.

My organization uses the control processes in numerous ways. For instance, feedforward control is used to mitigate risks during business processes, concurrent control is used to motivate workers into achieving the set goals, while feedback control is used to review the organization’s performance and identify an area that requires improvements.

Using the hypothetical organization describe which leadership style(s) will be most effective in the organization

Seniors at Home food service can make use of a variety of leadership styles like the participative style where the leader brings one or more members of the organization on board to assist in decision-making processes. They determine what should be done and how it should be done. However, the leader should have the final say in decision-making (Lewin et al, 1939). In this way, members of the organization develop a feeling that they are indeed valued by the firm. It is effective especially when the input of the individual members is sought because the management cannot have autonomy in ownership of knowledge.

This leadership style helps management to arrive at better decisions. Another leadership style that can be used by this organization is the delegative style where members of the organizations are allowed to make decisions but the leadership is liable to all the decisions that have been made (Gomez-Mejia et al, 2008). However, members should be capable of analyzing situations and come to a conclusion about what should be done and how it should be executed. A leader must not do everything for himself and should therefore undertake to delegate responsibilities. This style is very effective when the leadership fully trusts the members’ capabilities.

What should my contribution [to the organization] be as a manager?

As a manager, I am entitled to creating opportunities for the organization I am working for and undertaking to explore change initiatives both within the company and within the external environment. The quality of the company’s products has to be enhanced and productivity improved. I have to ensure that there are effective communication channels and that teamwork is encouraged within the organization. Staff morale has to be enhanced. Customer satisfaction is supposed to be my core concern as well as the existing business opportunities. Other issues of concern to me should be our competitors and changes that take place within the industry, and how these changes can affect the performance of the company.

What results have to be achieved to make a difference?

That results in that have to be achieved to make a difference lies in the manager’s capability to align initiatives of change from within the organization to the changes that take place in the external environment (Lewin et al, 1939). Managers have to deeply understand the vision and policies of the organization and long-term achievements should be given credence as opposed to short term goals. Managers should come up with clear plans with specific goals that they intend to achieve and exhibit determination in discharging their responsibilities.


I strongly feel that I am an innovator because I have a compelling vision and subscribe to a belief that I have to be part of the better things to come and freely volunteers to contribute to opinions and ideas that can make this dream be realized. I tend to articulate my vision with a lot of enthusiasm and passion. I am also opportunity oriented and filled with a lot of optimism. I am always caught in seeking ways of doing things better and am never scared by new things and ideas. I have a knack for sensing opportunities and making effective use of them. I am self-disciplined and know that one has to work hard to achieve results. I am passionate about whatever I do and what I believe in.


I consider myself a strategist because I am in a position to cope with failure and understand what it feels like to fail. This helps me because it is not possible to achieve your ambitions at all times. I am passionate about whatever it is that I do for the organization I work for and I do not just do something for the sake of it. I am also adaptable to different scenarios that arise. Finally, I am charismatic with excellent communication skills that help me to communicate effectively with my peers and juniors.


I have a strong feeling that I have the characteristics of a consultant because I am capable of taking a non-emotional look at issues that stem from my decision-making processes.

Reference List

Gomez-Mejia, L. R. David B. B. and Robert L. C. (2008). Management: People, Performance, Change, 3rd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Hofstede, G. (1977). Culture and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Lewin, K., LIippit, R., and White, R. K. (1939). Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created social climates. Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 271-301.

Newstrom, J. W. & Davis, K. (1993). Organization behavior: Human behavior in work. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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