Functions of Management

Principle & Practice of Management

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Functions of Management

All the managers have to perform certain Management Functions in an organization to get the things moving. But there is never complete agreement among experts on what Management Functions should be included in the management process. However, Koontz and O’Donnell’s classification of Management Functions is best of all and is widely accepted. According to them, “Management Functions are planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling.”

Management Functions


Planning is an indispensable function of management determining the objectives to be achieved and the course of action to be followed to achieve them. It is a mental process requiring the use of intellectual faculties, foresight, and sound judgment.
Planning virtually pervades the entire gamut of managerial activity. This function is performed by managers at all levels. The managers at the top level in an organization devote more time on planning as compared to the managers at the lower levels.
Planning includes:
1. determination of objectives,
2. forecasting,
3. search for alternative courses of action and their evaluation,
4. drawing policies and procedures, and
5. budgeting.
Planning is a prerequisite for doing anything. Planning is a pervasive, continuous and never ending activity. It leads to more effective and faster achievements in any organization and enhances the ability of the organization to adapt to future eventualities.


Organizing involves identification and grouping the activities to be performed and dividing them among the individuals and creating authority and responsibility relationships among them. The process of organizing involves the following steps:
1. Determination of objectives;
2. Division of activities;
3. Fitting individuals to specific jobs; and
4. Developing relationship in terms of authorities and responsibilities.
Organizing can be viewed as a bridge connecting the conceptual ideas developed in creating and planning to the specific means for accomplishing these ideas. Organizing contributes to the efficiency of an organization.


The staffing function has assumed great importance these days because of rapid advancement of technology, increasing the size of organizations and complicated behavior of human beings. The managerial function of staffing includes manning the organizational structure through proper and effective selection process, appraisal and the development of personnel to fill the roles designed into the structure.
The staffing function involves:
1. Proper recruitment and selection of the people;
2. Fixing remuneration;
3. Training and developing selected people to discharge organizational function; and
4. Appraisal of personnel.
Every manager is continuously engaged in performing the staffing function. Although some elementary functions like keeping the inventory of personnel, advertising for jobs, calling candidates etc. are assigned to Personnel Department. The manager performs the duties of job analysis, job description, appraisal of performance, etc. In short, the staffing function can be viewed as an all-pervasive Management Functions.


Directing is that part of the management process which actuates the organization members to work efficiently and effectively for the attainment of organizational objectives. Planning, organizing, and staffing are merely preparations of the work, the work actually starts when managers start performing the direct functions. The direction is the interpersonal aspect of management which deals directly with influencing, guiding, supervising and motivating the subordinates for the accomplishment of the pre-determined objectives.
According to Joseph Massie, “Directing concerns the total manner in which a manager influences the actions of subordinates.
It is the final action of a manager in getting others to act after all the preparations have been completed.” It consists of four subfunctions:
1. Communication: It is the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another. A successful manager should develop an effective system of communication so that he may issue instructions and receive the reactions of the subordinates and motivate them.
2. Leadership: It is the process by which a manager guides and influences the work of his subordinates.
3. Motivation: Motivation means inspiring the subordinates to zealously work towards accomplishment and achievement of organizational goods and objectives.


Controlling is visualizing that actual performance is guided towards expected performance. It is the measurement and appraisal of the activities performed by the subordinates in order to make sure that the objectives and the plans devised to attain them are being accomplished. Controlling involves following:
1. fixing appropriate standards,
2. measurement of actual performance,
3. comparing actual and planned performance,
4. finding variances between the two and reasons for the variance, and
5. taking corrective actions.
Control keeps a check on other functions for ensuring successful functioning management. The most notable feature is that it is forward-looking. A manager cannot control the past but can avoid mistakes in the future by taking actions in the light of past experiences.
The above functions may give an impression that these sections are independent compartments. Management is a continuous process involving the interaction of all functions and departments. These functions are being performed simultaneously and repeatedly. The purpose of separating the functions of management is to ensure that sufficient attention will be paid to each of them. The Management Functions are universal. A manager has to perform these functions in the organization, whatever the level of the manager or the objective of the organization. Some people raise the question which Management Functions is more important than others. The importance of the functions will vary from task to task but they are all important and necessary in accomplishing any organizational goal.