Managers usually have vital roles within an organization that are paramount to its success. However, managers have unique responsibilities and are considered to be the backbone of any organization and utmost necessity in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture within an organization. Managers provide an organization with some sense of direction in terms of defining the mission and vision to be focused on by the organization. Managers are the main people within an organization that looks specifically at the individual’s performance. Managers within an organization do the planning for most of the sectors such as financial, marketing of products, policy formulation, and control of the major assets. They also exercise their power on any issue arising, such as the decision making processes. In addition, they build industry standards for the company products, set systems running and document procedures that guide other employees within the company. The Managers in an organization are responsible for building the large workforce and human resources within the company. These Managers also inspire, mentor, set examples, innovate and revolutionize all the employees within the organization in order to achieve the best from them and also achieve the organization goals and objectives (Maundy, 2001). This paper is going to take a critical look at management functions and assessing the impact of taking a technical approach in carrying out these core functions.
In any particular organization, the management has four core functions that it is supposed to underperform. These core activities ensure that the company operations and run well and the goals of the company are achieved. The four functions of management that are important in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture that will ensure an organization achieves its vision and mission are namely; planning, organizing, leading and controlling. All these functions of management centre on the application of leadership and managerial knowledge required in an organization for the proper running of the organization and at the same time ensuring that the relation among the workforce is healthy (Hill and Jones, 2001).
This is the process of developing the company’s mission and defining specific methods of accomplishing it. It can be from a broader or narrow perspective, depending on the scope of the goal (Maundy, 2001). Planning comes in a number of ways since all sectors in a company require some form of planning in order to stick to what has been planned. First, there is financial planning which entails the budgeting allocations for all the projects being undertaken within the company. It also includes setting and monitoring the financial spending of an organization in view of auditing any misappropriation of funds. Provision of benefits, compensations and salaries are also taken care of at this stage. Another section of the company that needs planning is the policy formulation section. This is critical in that as a profit-making company, strategies must be placed correctly to counter marketing issues such as competition from companies that manufacture the same product and the production of counterfeit products, which affects the company’s reputation. Local policy development creation and implementation come hand in hand with policy planning. Human resource planning is crucial to achieving the best from employees. Planning its recruitment, hiring, evaluating, training and maintaining the calibre of the workers in a company is important, ensuring that skilled and technical staff are employed in the company who are capable of handling the implementing the company upgrading projects. (Maundy, 2001)
Organizing is how the internal structure of the company is set. It generally focuses on the division, coordination of activities and how tasks are controlled within the company.
General company procedure demands good organization from the leaders and managers. In a company, the management is responsible for organizing the annual general meetings that bring together all the stakeholders on board. They also organize daily and monthly meetings within the specific affiliate subsidiaries when an issue arises. Proper organization of a meeting or how a project will be conducted results in a successful project (Maundy, 2001).
Leadership is also described as directing people to do specific duties by influencing their personal behaviour through incentives and motivation, teamwork, individual dynamics and discipline. The core purpose of leadership is to channel all the employees’ behaviour towards attaining the company’s objectives (Sparrow and Hilltop, 1994). Leadership is thus essential in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture within a company. Leading does not necessarily come from who is in power but from any individual who provides information and suggestions on the way forward. Decision making within a company rests on the shoulders of the managers and leaders in a company (Sparrow and Hilltop, 1994).
Decision making within organizations rests on the shoulders of the managers and leaders in the institution, who usually take risks whenever an issue that requires to be addressed arises. Leading aims at bringing change in an organization. It also involves giving inspiration to people. In leadership, there is a lot of motivation that is carried out. In any job, there comes a time when one feels like giving up; the drive to work is not there. At such moments employees need to be motivated to work. Leading is quite interpersonal in nature. It is not just the manager in an organization that is supposed to lead. It can even exist between employees. It has to do with mutual influence (Campbell et al. 1970).
Controlling is a sequential process that considers the establishment of performance standards that are in line with the company’s goals and objectives. It deals with the measurement, monitoring and reporting the actual performance level of the company and finally recommending the necessary actions that should be taken on board to rectify any misconception. Handy (1985) points out that, for any company to achieve its best, properly instituted control measures should be put in place in order to have the thing done the way it is supposed to. Managers are supposed to control almost every aspect of the company’s activities (Handy, 1985).
This is where there is setting, communication and application of the performance standards of employees or people. When mechanisms to monitor employee’s activities are put in place and the corrective action applied, then the control can be termed as effective. The manager normally observes what is happening in the organization and compares it with what was initially planned to happen. If what is happening is not as per what was supposed to happen, then corrective action is taken such that those below the standard required standard attain this standard (Handy, 1985).
Management as a technical activity
However, management practices are undergoing changes, and many organizations are moving from vertical management to horizontal management to more effective; this is more or less moving from function direction to process direction. Total quality management is one of the directions that the management is taking. These changes are made to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the work process in an organization in order for the organization to achieve and even surpass its goals and at the same time meet the ever-changing demands of customers (Sparrow and Hilltop, 1994).
Technical management involves so many practices that are carried out in an organization. Technical management is usually incorporated in the human resource management department. This is usually very connected to the organization’s objectives. In technical management, there are expectations that the outcome will be specific. It also involves the transfer of technology within the organization. This includes programs that are going to mentor the employees in the organization (Handy, 1985).
Some of the objectives of technical management include the employees and the stakeholder at large gaining a completive advantage. There are also instances when it is done to increase the innovation levels of the employees. Of course, this means that the performance of the employees is really improved. In technical management, sharing of knowledge is really encouraged. To simplify this process, technological advancement has been incorporated in organizations. This knowledge is accumulated and also applied in the organization. Through this, the employees become very knowledgeable, and their intellectual capacity improved. Technical management can be approached in various ways. One of the approaches is Techno-centric. This is where technology is used in the organization to pass on knowledge (Handy, 1985).
Management as a technical activity neglects social relations in management
Management is a social activity as it involves interacting with employees on a daily basis, getting involved in their activities and directing and managing them. As Handy (1985) states, as a manager, you are supposed to create an atmosphere of social cohesiveness in an organization, it is important that the manager creates an organizational culture and climate that promotes social relations in the organization by making the workers feel like a family and have a sense of belonging to the organization. However, with the technical approach of management, the employees in the organization are neglected as individuals and the attention is focused on the technical ability of the employee. Yet, in order for the management to create a social working relationship, the management has to practice the following (Handy, 1985).
- Poor employee relation
- Employee motivation
- Employee recognition
Poor employee relations
Employees relations is those policies and daily practices that are concerned with the regulation and management of individual and team relationships within the organization. Essentially, employee relations are centred on the ability to resolve and prevent conflicts that involve either an individual or the teams in the organization, which directly affect work situations and performance. Efficient communication ensures that information is passed to the employees in order to allow them to understand better the company’s goals and objectives. Most employee relations managers uphold the responsibility of handling grievances, individual code of conduct while in the office, evaluation of employee performance and counselling programs. Sound employee relations are based on participation and effective communication for both the management and the employees.
When management is taken as a technical activity, it fails to enhance good employee’s relations in the organization and create a social atmosphere that supposed to be in an organization (Handy, 1985).
To be able to be successful in the current global and domestic markets, motivation for an organisation’s workforce is key to realizing competitive advantage. Management, therefore, has the ultimate function of retaining good staff members who are the main drivers of the organisation. It takes a considerable amount of time to train an individual to attain better standards for any specific duty. To lose such an employee at any stage of the production process is suicidal for the organisation. Specific emphasis is therefore taken into account to make sure that such employees are kept for as long as they are required (Thomson and Rampton, 2003).
Better conditions for service and financial rewards are examples of measures applied to motivate employees within the organisation, while in some, it could be in terms of annual leave, insurance or shorter working periods. Most organizations who have undertaken management as a technical activity, however, have failed in this section. Management should provide information that is useful in the making of decisions for the organizations with regard to balancing the number of wages to be paid to employees and the actual financial situations for the companies (Bonoma & Zaltman, 1981).
Management aspects have also become a source of inspiration for many employees who have dedicated all their energies, skills and their power to the success of the organisation. This means that the organisation owes its employees better treatment and encouragement. Management has a great impact on employee satisfaction and performance. It is therefore important that Management look for convenient, cost-conscious and appreciated ways of motivation in order to build a dynamic, committed and successful workforce that will result in better productivity and profitability for the organisation. This aspect is not well achieved when the technical approach of management is undertaken. (Thomson and Rampton, 2003)
Employee recognition, which is basically an instrument that strengthens and compensates the most significant products that the employees have created for the organization, is regarded as another improving organizational climate. Studies show that a management system that takes a technical approach does not effectively recognize the efforts of an employee. However, for an effective social atmosphere in an organization, the management should have an employee recognition structure that is made simple, instant, and effectively supportive to the employees and the organization at large. Under this, the management team can ensure that a principle for performance is established, involving the rewardable behaviour of the employees. Thus all of them should be entitled to recognition by the hospital. This recognition structure should normally supply the employees with specific information about the behaviour they are being rewarded for. The social aspect in an organization can not be enhanced when the employees feel neglected in their performance. The aspect of where the management is taken as a technical aspect fails to enhance the social aspect in the organization (Legge, 1989).
Management is very important in any business organization. Managers need to put in place control systems that will enhance efficiency in an organization. Managers have diverse roles that they have to accomplish in an organization. The core roles include planning, organizing, leadership and controlling. It is important that the necessary steps have to be taken to ensure that the management achieves its core activities. However, when management is taken as a technical activity, it fails to address the social aspect of the organization. Since if the management is taken as a technical activity, then it fails to improve the employee’s relations, motivation and recognition. Yet, these are the main aspects in improving the social relationships in an organization.
Bonoma, T, & Zaltman, G (1981): Psychology for Management. Boston: Kent
Campbell, J, et al (1970): Managerial behaviour; Performance and effectiveness New York: McGraw-Hill.
Dopson, S and Stewart, R (1990): What is happening to middle management?’ British Journal of Management
Gowler, D., & Legge, K. (1983): The meaning of management and the management of meaning: A view from anthropology. In M. Earl (Ed.), Perspectives on management: A multidisciplinary analysis: Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Handy, C.B. (1985): Understanding Organizations, 3rd Edition, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books,
Hill, C. W and Jones, G. R (2001): Strategic Management; Houghton Mifflin Handy.
Keat, R., & Abercrombie, N. (1990): (Eds.). Enterprise culture; London: Routledge,
Legge, K. (1989): Human resource management: A critical analysis. In J. Storey (Ed.); new perspectives on human resource management; London: Routledge,
Maundy, L. (2001): An Introduction to Human to Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice: Macmillan, Palgrave.
Rampton, L. (2003): Human Resource Management. Melbourne press, New York.
Sparrow, P. and Hilltop, J. (1994): European Human Resource Management in Transition: Prentice Hall, New York
Thomson, C. and Rampton, L. (2003): Human Resource Management. Melbourne press, New York