Define the term management

Management is always practiced in every organisation and is identified as a timeless human discipline by Peter Drucker, Father of Modern Management. Job of a manager and the concept of management are always interrelated. There are four basic and important management functions which involve planning, organising, leading and controlling. Additional to a manager’s job, are the roles played by them as such the interpersonal, informational and decisional roles with different subroles. A successful organisation reflects a good management with a group of great employees. In this assignment, I will further discuss about the functions and roles of a manager.

An interesting way of looking at management is an art of getting things done through people stated by one pioneer of management ideas (Kinicki and Williams, 2008). In general, management can be defined as a set of activities directed at an organisation’s resources to achieve an organisational goal effectively and efficiently (Davidson et al. 2009). Effectiveness is achieving an organisational objective whereas efficiency is getting work done with minimum resources. Stated above is the more traditional way of defining management. Today, management is seen in a broader perspective that focuses more on leadership skills such as establishing and communicating visions and goals and guiding others to accomplish (McNamara, 2010). It is not a change in the four basic management functions by Henri Fayol but re-emphasizing of certain aspects of management that is very useful in the industry today.

According to Kreitnar (2009, p.4), a manager is someone who works with and through people by coordinating their work to accomplish goals, and is not about personal achievement but an organisation. Planning, organizing, leading and controlling are the four basic managerial functions which then planning and organizing will be discussed in details.

The first managerial function is planning. As Samson and Daft (2009) states that planning is setting goals for future organisational performance and deciding on task and resources needed to achieve it. Decision making is also a part of planning process which involves selecting a course of action from a set of alternatives (Davidson et al. 2009, p.253). Planning is the best way to improve an organisations work performance as it gives a direction for employees in order for them to work hard to accomplish the goal. For example, Beverly

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Honig, managing director of Melbourne-based professional service provider Honeylight Enterprise, is a very successful manager who values planning (Samson and Daft, 2009, p.14).

Williams (2008) believes that well-planned companies will have larger profits and faster growth in compare with companies that do not plan.

Next is organising which is defined as arranging and structuring work to accomplish the organisation goals (Robbins et al., 2009, p.342) with coordinating activities and resources in a company. As Dubrin (2006) also points out that another major aspect of organizing is grouping people into various departments as well as the importance of staffing function that is work specialisation to ensure availability of human resources to achieve organisation goals. Back then, Robbins et al. (2009) states that by the 1960s there is a point that human diseconomies occurred from work specialisation and found out that employees that are given a variety of work will achieve higher output and greater employee satisfaction. As for today, managers still see work specialisation as an important element but not as a source of ever-increasing productivity. For example, McDonalds uses high work specialisation to make and sell its fast food products efficiently. But on the other hand, Ford Australia and Hallmark have successfully broadened scope of jobs and reduced work specialisation (Robbins et al. 2009, p.343). Therefore, it is very important to know the company well and organise it on what benefits the company most.

Management roles are specific categories of managerial behaviour developed by Henry Mintzberg, which can be group into three categories: interpersonal, informational and decisional. Each of these roles represents the activities managers undertake to accomplish the basic functions of management (Samson and Daft, 2009).

In interpersonal roles, managers have to interact with people in their work units (Kinicki and Williams, 2008) which include figurehead, leader and liaison role. Managers as a leader have to motivate and encourage workers to achieve organisational objectives (Williams, 2008). For example, in the Flight Global website shows that Dato’ Tony Fernandes is the CEO where anyone in Air Asia can just come up to, exchange ‘high-five’ and gives suggestion. This shows that he is a leader that communicates well with staff that in a way of motivating and leading them.

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Managers do not only spend most of their time with face-to-face communication with others but they do spend time obtaining and sharing information with their subordinates (Williams, 2008) as – monitor, disseminator and spokesperson role. Managers play the role of

a disseminator by constantly providing important information to employees (Kinicki and Williams, 2008). For instance in Starbucks, president and CEO Jim Donald will start its day by making calls to partners in worldwide Starbucks stores (Michelli, 2007). This will enable managers to share daily information and enhance communication.

Last but not least are decisional roles, is where managers use information to make decisions to solve problems or take advantage of opportunities (Kinicki and Williams, 2008) which includes entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator and negotiator. An entrepreneur role is a manager who searches and its environments for opportunities and initiates improvement projects (Robbins et. al, 2009, p.14). Bill Gates is the founder, chairman and CEO Microsoft Corporation who created software programmes and is picked as ‘Entrepreneur of the Millenium’ by Entrepreneur Magazine website in 1999.

Today, with development of new advanced information technologies (IT) – it gives managers more access to better information and this will improve their capability to plan, organise, lead and control. Better technologies developed also enabled managers to carry out their roles effectively. We can see it through how Wal-mart, with technologies can now have nationwide conferences of top managers and individual stores as well as using the Internet to provide up-to-date training programme for employees which benefits their organisation (Jones and George, 2003).

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After research and the study of management from different management intelligence, it is essential for a manger to possess the basic functions and managerial roles. One must also have the knowledge in management, current issues as well as technology and it has to be constantly improved as knowledge has its power for opportunities and development of a business. The foremost important, will still be the effective communication of a manager both orally and written. The ability to communicate will result in good human relations and building goodwill of a company which attracts more customers and provide a positive working environment. A quote from Peter Drucker states that, ‘one does not manage people. The task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of each individual.’ (Hutton and Holbeche, 2007, p.19) that is what a job of a manager today.


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