Four Functions of Management and Their Development

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Introduction

Throughout history, management has evolved from management by intuition to a rational, logical, scientifically based functional process. Several different functions have been distinguished by specialists, as well as their various classification criteria. The management function is traditionally understood as a specific type of activity carried out with special techniques and methods, as well as the corresponding organization of work (Conkright, 2015). As Conkright (2015) notes, there were five elements of management introduced by Fayol,” later reduced to what we now refer to as the four functions of management: “planning, organizing, leading, and controlling” (para. 3). The recognition and success of Henri Fayol are based on a deep systemic approach to the management of the organization.

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Planning

One of the main conditions for the successful activity of an organization is the coordination of actions of managers in an organization. They must complement each other and lead to one goal – the goal of the company, expressed in long-term and operational plans (Carroll & Gillen, 2019). The process of building a plan provides not only the possibility of making adjustments and changes but also brings flexibility concerning external factors such as political or economic conditions. Planning is a pivotal function of communication management, requiring unique and high qualifications of managers and executors. Organizations need planning that is consistent, accurate, and flexible. Planning is designed to give confidence that the objectives of each part of the organization are interrelated. The leader needs creative thinking, and the ability to understand subordinates’ ideas and anticipate options for developing the situation.

Scheduling technology is well developed and is in constant use. Based on the firm’s mission and the basic principles, answering the question “Why?” strategic goals are formulated, indicating what to do in general. Then they are concretized to tasks and those – to specific tasks. Further, the necessary resources are calculated – material, financial, personnel, and time. If necessary, tasks and goals are revised regularly. (Carroll & Gillen, 2019) The result is a realistic plan. It is essential that contingency reserves are envisaged and well thought out.

Organizing

This function is related to the distribution of responsibilities and authorities in the process of management. Based on the importance of this feature, Fayol formulated several principles for managers (Fayol, 2016). First of all, rational preparation and implementation of the plan are necessary. In addition, human and material structures must be consistent with the company’s goals, resources, and general policy. Moreover, it is of great importance to create a unified hierarchy, communication channels, and conditions for effective personnel selection. The manager needs to formulate the list of responsibilities clearly and provide the necessary support for initiatives. In addition, managers need to practice fair remuneration for the services offered, and sanctions in case of mistakes and non-conformances. It is also worth adhering to the rule that individual interests should be subordinated to general ones. This function is responsible for creating an organizational structure that will make it possible to carry out activities in an optimal way; there should be a clear definition and delegation of responsibility to provide adequate decisions within the organization.

Leading

Here the management is carried out in a narrow, specialized incarnation, which Fayol called “direct” (Fayol, 2016). The leader must not only make decisions but also “work” with the staff. He believed that a manager needs to monitor the correspondence of the position to the employee’s skills and experience, fight incompetence, but, at the same time, protect staff from administrative mistakes, and provide an opportunity to improve their qualifications and learn. In addition, the management of motivation is essential here, which ensures the activity, the interest of personnel in the results of activities, as well as continuous growth of labor productivity.

The team consists of those people with whom the manager works daily. High professionalism and responsibility of team members, coordination of their work, and mutual support ensure success (Conkright, 2015). Conversely, poor team selection can make even the strongest manager helpless. If orders are not executed, letters are lost, and meetings are disrupted due to the negligence of employees who are entrusted with organizing them, then it is impossible to expect effective work from the company.

Building a team is one of the most important things to be performed by a manager since it is their primary work tool. When changing jobs, a manager often “drags” their team along with them. The psychological compatibility of team members is of great importance (Conkright, 2015). There should be no random people in it. The occurrence of quarrels and discord in the team dramatically reduces its effectiveness. Therefore, it is advisable to remove the instigators of the quarrel from the team, even if their professionalism is high.

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Managers must take care of their team members, help them in various situations, maintain positive motivation concerning the team, applying both moral and material incentives. The team must be friendly. However, it is helpful to maintain some distance between team members so that friendships do not interfere with business. That is why it is usually not recommended to include relatives and childhood friends in the team, since it is difficult for them to separate business relationships from personal ones.

Controlling

Even though Fayol was a supporter of the fight against excessive control, red tape, and bureaucracy, he emphasized this function, noting the importance of balancing the intervention of the manager and the independence of the executor (Fayol, 2016). First of all, it is necessary to monitor compliance with deadlines, control deviations from the master plan of communication policy, and avoid inactivity and waste of resources. The manager is responsible for monitoring the implementation of previously adopted decisions, not only included in the plan but also operational, and current. Part of the control is carried out during meetings and the signing of documents. Nevertheless, this is not enough: when planning their work, the manager should provide regular checks on the activities of their subordinates. Both formal reports, appraisals, assessments, and informal conversations can be applied.

Conclusion

Fayol combined the ideas of Taylor’s multifunctional administration and the old principle of one-person management, as a result of which he received a new management scheme, which later became the basis of modern organization theory. Historically, these functions have meant a fundamental step forward. The functions described by Fayol in 1916 in the book “General and Industrial Management” are an integral part of the current concept of management theory. Later, these functions were generalized to four that are most often found in modern management literature.

First, this is planning, which includes selecting goals and an action plan to achieve them. Second, it is an organization, with the support of which tasks are distributed between specific departments or employees and the introduction of interaction between them. The third is management, which aims to motivate performers to carry out planned actions and achieve established goals. Finally, the fourth function is control, which is contained in the ratio of actually achieved results to those that were initially planned. The functions at different levels of the management system play an essential role in developing a business enterprise. Their theoretical study and practical adaptation make it possible to improve the functional responsibilities of managers.

References

Fayol, H. (2016). General and industrial management. Ravenio Books.

Carroll, S. J., & Gillen, D. J. (2019). Are the classical management functions useful in describing managerial work?. In Managerial Work (pp. 291-304). Routledge.

Conkright, T. A. (2015). Using the four functions of management for sustainable employee engagement. Performance Improvement, 54(8), 15-21.

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