What is Management ?

Definition of Management

The term ‘management’ encompasses an array of different functions undertaken to accomplish a task successfully. In the simplest of terms, management is all about ‘getting things done’. However, it is the way and the process of how one achieves ones target or goals and it is in this respect that management is considered an art and a science as well.

The term management may be recently defined, but it existed at a time when men started learning the art of organizing, strategizing (during wars) and/or simply planning. At the core of it, management was quintessentially considered as an art of ‘managing men’ and hence the term “manage-men-T.”

At the roots, management evolved when the definition of knowledge became practically skewed rather than being plain ‘rational’. In some way, Rousseau (1972) pointed out “A real knowledge of things may be a good thing in itself, but the knowledge of men and their opinions is better, for in human society.”

And much later, management scholar, Peter Drucker (1993) defined management as “Supplying knowledge to find out how existing knowledge can best be applied to produce results is, in effect, what we mean by management. But knowledge is now also being applied systematically and purposefully to determine what new knowledge is needed, whether it is feasible, and what has to be done to make knowledge effective. It is being applied, in other words, to systematic innovation.” (Drucker, 1993)

From the above two definitions, it is clear that management is a creative as well as a systematic flow of knowledge that can be applied to produce results by using human as well as other resources in an effective way. Management has not been limited to managing human resource; management today has been segregated into various branches like financial management, strategic management, operations management, time management, crisis management, marketing management etc. Each of these is a separate branch that is being handled by managers who specialize in these fields.

Today the importance of management from an organization’s point of view has increased multifold. It is only through effective management that companies are developing and executing their business’s policies and strategies to maximize their profits and provide with the best of products and services.

Management today combines creative, business, organizational, analytical and other skills to produce effective goal-oriented results! Some of the key functions in management includes learning to delegate, planning and organizing, communicating clearly, controlling situations, motivating employees, adapting to change, constantly innovating and thinking of new ideas, building a good team and delivering results which are not just figure -bound but results that also focus on overall growth and development.
Management focuses on the entire organization from both a short and a long-term perspective. Management is the managerial process of forming a strategic vision, setting objectives, crafting a strategy and then implementing and executing the strategy.

Management goes beyond the organization’s internal operations to include the industry and the general environment. The key emphasis is on issues related to environmental scanning and industry analysis, appraisal of current and future competitors, assessment of core competencies, strategic control and the effective allocation of organizational resources.

In general terms, there are two approaches to management:

-The Industrial Organization Approach: This approach is based on economic theory which deals with issues like competitive rivalry, resource allocation, economies of scale. This approach to management assumes rationality, self interested behavior, profit maximization.

– The Sociological Approach: This approach deals primarily with human interactions. It assumes rationality, satisfying behavior, profit sub-optimality.

Management theories can also be divided into two sets. One is the set that concentrates mainly on efficiency and another is the set that concentrates mainly on effectiveness. Efficiency is about doing things the right way. It involves eliminating waste and optimizing processes. Effectiveness is about doing the right things.

A good management style is a blend of both efficiency and effectiveness. There is no point in acting efficiently if what you are doing will not have the desired effect.

Management techniques can be viewed as either bottom-up, top-down, or collaborative processes.

In India, largely the top down approach is popular. In the top-down approach, the management makes the decisions, which the employees have no choice but to accept. On the other hand, in the bottom-up approach, employees submit proposals to their managers who, in turn, funnel the best ideas further up the organization. However the bottom up approach is not a very popular approach in India as most of the Indian businesses are family run businesses.