Functions of Management

The four functions of management (planning, controlling, organizing, and leading) influence effective organizational performance and productivity. The organization selected for analysis is an import/export company. For this company, planning is crucial as it determines strategic directions and activities. In the import/export company, planning consumes prime resources and transforms them into approaches that are intended to improve the quality of service provided. Managers who are assigned the task of planning, have scheduled appropriate time, and have been provided with appropriate knowledge or information need resources such as good lighting, software, hardware, and support staff. Such resources help assure staff members that the undertaking to which they have been assigned will be achieved. The identification and appointment of a strategic planning team or task force are responsibilities that should be given careful thought (Drejer, 2002). Other than the facilitator and the superintendent of schools, the people selected to be on the strategic planning team are the most important persons in the process. They should be drawn from all segments of the personnel roster so a representative group of opinion leaders from the staff is involved. Central office personnel, building administrators, members from the teaching staff, and classified personnel should be enlisted. Strategic planning and information flow from the “top down,” and operational functions and information flow from the “bottom up.” The strategic planning team should be composed of persons who reflect the “strategic” and “operational” levels of involvement and responsibilities (Daft, 2003). In the strategic planning process, there is also a need to enlist community opinion leaders who have an interest in education and community development. When identifying opinion leaders in the community, there is a tendency to draw heavily upon the power brokers. While it is advisable, even essential, to draw upon the power brokers, opinion leaders from the ranks of the community that may not be represented among the power figures should also be enlisted (Levy and Merry, 1986).

The leading function of management allows the import/export company to motivate and inspire employees. Leadership, buttressed by organizational ability, good judgment, sensitivity to the needs and wishes of individuals, good communication, decisiveness, and enthusiasm, is the most important ingredient or skill demonstrated by the administrator. Leading needs to be cast in a vision and belief that things can be improved. Vision is used by true leaders to harness the emotional and psychological resources in an organization (Levy and Merry, 1986). Vision sharpens values, commitment, and aspirations. For many superintendents of schools, strategic planning has been seen as a protracted form of long-range planning with the added steps of environmental scanning. Some leaders have, however, understood the potential of strategic planning to bring about organizational renewal.

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The organizing function of management allows the company to manage its internal resources and marketing activities. The manager who demonstrates the ability to communicate and deal effectively with all socioeconomic groups in a community is more likely to enlist key figures from all walks of life on the strategic planning team. The selection of the team becomes crucial not only during the strategic process but also later in the total effort when acceptance and approval of the strategic plan are sought. Organizing should be appointed once the goals of the strategic plan have been established. One team may be assigned to each goal to develop a plan for its accomplishment. Since staff members may desire to work on goals that interest them and that are in their area of expertise, volunteers can be invited to help fill the ranks of operational planning teams. Organizing teams should have a designated chairperson, and team members should be instructed in the planning process to be used in developing plans (Daft, 2003).

The control function of management aims to ensure that all processes and procedures are performed by established goals and objectives. In the import/export company, each team should be given a specific charge or set of instructions and a time for submitting plans. The control function is not expected to implement its plans, but the team should develop a plan in which measurable outcomes are specified that are consistent with the mission and the goals of the strategic plan (Drejer, 2002). The specific steps to be completed in the operational plan should be specified, the criteria for assessment indicated, the sequence of activities outlined, and a listing of prime resource needs identified, including a cost-benefit analysis. When all operational plans of the goals established in the strategic planning process have been completed, they are taken to the board of education for approval and final budget allocations. Each control function should be given a specific charge or set of instructions and a time for submitting plans. The operational planning team is not expected to implement its plans, but the team should develop a plan in which measurable outcomes are specified that are consistent with the mission and the goals of the strategic plan (Levy and Merry, 1986). The rationale is to generate strategic thinking, or a strategic set of mind, among the stakeholders, to provide information or data upon which decisions can be made, and to establish a common base of understanding and agreement and, ultimately, ownership upon which subsequent planning steps. will be built. The environment can be changing so rapidly that it is difficult to keep abreast of the currents and eddies, which in turn can influence the institution. Consequently, incoming data must be monitored and, if judged essential, assimilated into the strategic analysis. Incoming data can come in just about any form and at any time. Such data can be positive and constructive, with a potential for being capitalized upon, or it can pose a threat or obstruction that will have to have contended within the planning process.

References

Daft, R. L. (2003). Organizational Theory and Design. 9th Edition. South-Western college Pub; 8 edition.

Drejer, A. 2002, Strategic Management and Core Competencies: Theory and application. Quorum Books.

Levy, A., Merry, U. (1986). Organizational Transformation: Approaches, Strategies, theories. Praeger Publishers.

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