Q. Discuss the functions of management

Definition of the Word Functions and Management

  • First we have the word management; management is the process undertaken by one or more individuals to coordinate the activities of others to achieve results not achievable by one individual acting alone.
  • Secondly we have the word function defined as a purpose of a person doing something; to fulfill or perform  a function  etc. generally, we have the function of management e.g. planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing and controlling; and they are discussed as follows:-

Planning as a Function

It is the basic process by which we see our goals and determined the means to achieve them. It defines the future state of the department or organization. It also bridges where we are and where we want to go. It involves setting missions objectives and actions to be attained.

 Planning Characteristics or Features.

a)     Objectives: – This specifies the future conditions that a manager hopes to achieve.

b)     Actions:- These are means or specific activities  planned to achieve the objectives

c)      Forecast: – A manager can not plan without giving consideration to the future events and factors that effect what will be possible to accomplish.

d)     Resources: – These are constraints on the course of action. A plan specifies all kinds and amounts of resources required, as well as the potential resources and allocation of these resources of action.

Work Plan / Implementation 

A plan includes ways and means to implement the intended actions. It involves the assignment and direction of workers to carry on the plan.

Importance of Planning

  •  To co-ordinate the effort

The individuals and groups work must be co-ordinated and planning is an important technique for achieving the co-ordinated efforts.

  • Preparing for change

Effective plan allows room for change by preparing those to be affected by the change and the implementers of the change.

  • Developing performance standards/setting

As plans are implemented specific set targets in the plans must be realized if performance is to be rated as good.

  •  Developing managers: – It involves high levels of intellectual activities because those who plan must be able to deal with abstract and uncertain ideas and information. Therefore, they must think about the present and the future and show their relationships. That enhances their analytical ability.
  • Source of funding

Plans are used by the donors and other financiers to determine the projects that they intend to finance. They are used by the organizations to source for funding better plans easily attracts the funding.

  • Budgeting

Individual department will normally prepare their departmental plans which have the costing part, which alternatively can be taken by the organization in order to prepare the master budget. This is realized by adding up the budgets of different departments within the organization.

The principles of planning

The following are the principles of planning

  • Take time to plan  don’t be in hurry
  • Planning can be in either way bottom to top approaches  or top to bottom approaches
  • Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Evaluation

Types of Plans

  • Strategic plan:- long range plans made by top level managers and give guide lines  to other  plans
  • Operational plan:- plans made by  the departmental manager, and  affect day to day  running  of those  departments
  • Policies: – general statements or understanding that guides the thinking in decision making.
  • Procedures: – Plan that establishes a required method of handling future activities. They are chronological sequence of required actions.
  • Budgets: – It is a plan statement for a given period of time in future exposed in financial terms. It shows revenues and expenditures to be undertaken. Budget is never violated easily without the management’s interventions.

Steps in Planning

a)    Environmental Analysis

An accurate examination of an organization strength and weaknesses is appreciated. It assists in the formulation plan that will be achievable

b)    Setting Objectives

  • § Specifies  the expected results and indicates the end points
  • § It shows  where we want to be and what we want to  accomplish and when

c)     Consider the planning premises

The environment or place where the plans to be executed is prepared. It helps to reduce implementation problems

d)    Evaluate the alternative courses

This is where an evaluation is done to identify the most fruitful, applicable, and cost effective and less risk alternatives are taken

e)    Selecting  course of action

Making a choice on which course of action to take. Is where the plan of action is adopted.

f)      Formulating The Supporting Plans

Getting items and facilities to help in the implementation of the plan e.g. buying of equipment materials, hiring and training of workers etc.

g)     Preparation  of the Budgets

It implicates the overall costs for the plan where the resources will be got and how they will be allocated or used.


  1. Planning is costly and time consuming process. Time is required when forecasting is done but sometimes there is limited time and the outcome is hard to implement.
  2. It is a future oriented activity based on forecast. There is unreliable and inadequate data.
  3. Planning rigid due to internal inflexibility which in turn reduced personal initiative and freedom and causes delay in decision making. Internal inflexibility includes:-

a)     Rigid policies

b)     Procedure and limited resources

  1. External factors beyond the control of an organization  affects its planning process the factors  includes:-
  • Governmental  control and legislation
  • Technological changes
  • pressure etc
  1. Planning fails due to incorrect plans being formulated because of lack of commitment delegation and excessive reliance on past experiences.

How to Overcome Planning Problems/ Challenges

  1. Set realistic and achievable goals
  2. Communicate the assumption on which plans are formulated to all departments and people.
  3. Encourage participation of all stakeholders so as to ensure  their rights commitment
  4. Ensure their proper coordination of the plans
  5. Reconcile both short and long term plans
  6. Consider the company’s financial position
  7. Encourage creativity in planning. Creativity helps  to identify the best alternatives
  8. Reduce the levels of internal flexibility so that changes in the environment can be considered.


Definition: – is a process of identifying, grouped activities, assigned activities, an d provide the authority with necessary to carry out the activities or

  • Is the process of identifying the overall tasks and responsibilities to be performed in an organization and then put together those that are similar to form a department? Therefore, an organizational structure refers to the forms of department.

Principles of Organizing

  • Unity of objectives
  • The principle of continuity
  • The principle of flexibility
  • The principle of simplicity
  • The principle of delegation
  • The principle of unity of command
  • The scalar principle
  • The principle of span of  control

Factors influencing the span of control or management

  1. The manger’s personality
  2. Manager’s capability
  3. Subordinate’s capability
  4. Fatigue tolerance
  5. Non-supervisory activities
  6. Similarity of activities
  7. Location
  1. 1.     Functional Structure

This is where a department is named from the function it executes e.g. marketing, human resource, purchasing, examinations etc.

Advantages of functional structures

a)  It leads to specialization

b)  It reduces conflicts within  the organization

c)   It leads to better utilization of resources

d)  Career and promotion paths are created

e)  It reduces confusion to the sorted out by different departments

Disadvantages of functional structure

a)  Departments might deviate from organizational goals and act independently

b)  Decision making  takes a long time(if somebody is not there)

c)   There is lack of co-ordination

d)  Specialization can lead  breakdown particularly if one department   is not functioning

e)  There are functional conflicts especially if departments are competing for scarce resources.

 Product-Line Structure

This is where a department is named after a particular product particularly in a company where more than one product is produced e.g. coca-cola company has many departments

a)      Fanta- Department

b)     Coke – Department

c)      Krest- Department

d)     Sprite Department

 Advantages of Product Line Structure

  1. There is good coordination within a specific product group
  2. It leads to innovation and creativity  that they keep improving on the product
  3. There are fewer communication problems
  4. It enables product groups to concentrate on their products and improve on quality and  marketing
  5. It leads in specialization of men  and machines

 Disadvantages of product line structures

a)     If one product lets down a consumer , all other products will be rejected

b)     Wastages level are high due to duplication of resources , for instance, each section having a marketing manager and advertise differently

c)      Inefficiency  b one division lead many cause the whole production line to come down

d)     It is difficult to maintain coordination among the product area.

  1. 3.     Geographical  Based Structure

Goods and services are provided over a wide area and a communication channel justifies this form of departmentation. It is where more branches are opened within more geographical location.

  1. 4.     Matrix Organic Structure

Departments contribute few workers who are located for away from the office to the site where the project is taking place unit it is completed. It is common in NGOs and project related organizations

CEO                                                                                                                 Head Office

HRM Production          Finance           Marketing       Design

3                                     3                          3                      3


The Project Manager Coordinates the projects and is the accounting officer and departments directly to the CEO. The workers for the project reports to their departmental heads

The Project Manager provides the technical expertise and ensures the success of the project

Customer based structures

This is a structure prepared with particular clients in mind. It is common in service industry e.g. hospital, hotels and automobiles firms.

 Advantages of Customer Based Structure

  1. It offers personalized services
  2. They satisfy  the customers’ need
  3. It is easy to get feedback which enables an organization to make necessary changes

 Disadvantages of customers based structure

  1. If  the customer rejects the product because of its quality the entire organization is threatened.
  2. It is costly to implement because specialized departments have to be set up
  3. It requires only specialized and skilled workers.


It is transferring of authority from supervisors to the subordinate. It is where power is dispersed and shared.

Advantages of Decentralization

  1. It speeds up the decision making
  2. It echelons (top management) are left free to plan and strategize
  3. It enables  for multi-skilled and development of junior staff

Disadvantages of Decentralization

  1. There is lack of consistency because more people are involved in decision making
  2. Customers are not subjected to the  treatment
  3. There is misallocation of resources especially of controls are not established.
  4. Senior  managements must do a lot of  coordination to avoid units working contrary to the organizations goal


It is concentration of power in the hands of a few people. It takes place in bureaucratic structure. (Authority is legal and given-comes with the position) Authority -is bestowed on an individual and it’s legal. It is aright in a position to give orders and expect the orders to be obeyed.

Power-it’s the ability to influence behavior of others and it’s not given but rather it is acquired.

Forms/Basis of Power

  1. Coercion Power– is executed  by causing fear and threatening  e.g. a thug having a gun
  2. Reward Power– people’s behavior are influenced through reward in incentives
  3. Legitimate power-Power that comes from one’s position e.g.  D.O’s manager etc.
  4. Expert power– it is exercised through one’s knowledge, skills and expertise e.g. doctor, engineers etc.
  5. Referent power – Where one identifies with a person who has desirable resources traits that is good and feared.


Controlling is to find out whether there are deviations sot that a corrective action is taken to ensure every thing is on course or done, measuring performance against objectives determining causes of deviation and taking corrective action where necessary

Characteristics of Controlling

It is forward   looking.

  • It seeks to correct the future actions happening in tan organization. It is based experience of control which guides the  future actions of  a manager

It is a continuous process

  • It’s where the organization continually evaluate  its systems  in terms of targets, objectives , goals and so forth to find  out if everything  is fine.

It is a Management Function

  • It is only carried out by managers because it involves taking corrective action which includes, mobilizing for additional resources, employment of new staff, changes in the company’s operations. These are issues that not delegated.

It is carried at all levels

  • Managers are irrespective of their level carry out controlling. This is so because they have targets and objectives that they are pursuing. They often ensure an operation in their areas of jurisdiction is smoothly running according to plan.

Steps to be followed in Controlling

  1. 1.     Establishment of the standard:-

–          Cost standards

–          Physical  standards

–          Capital standards

–          Intangible  standards

This is a basis measurement of performance which can be in quantitative and non-quantitative terms. A standard is a bench mark on which results are measured. There are many standards that can be made including:-

  1. 2.      Measurement of Performance

It is the measurement of the actual performance in order to know what has happened or what is likely to happen. The measurement can be done through observation of the workers performance. It can also be in terms of reports, charts and any management summaries. Its purpose is find out of there is anything a miss at the earliest time possible.

  1. 3.     Comparison of the actual performance with the standards

This is funding out what was set out at the beginning of the controlling period in terms of targets and objectives and what has been realized at the end of the period.

  1. 4.     Finding Out  For Deviations

While comparing the actual and the standards performance, any deviations are identified. A positive deviation means the targets were surpassed and the management requires identifying the contributing factors, so that everything can be maintained. A negative deviation means that the target set out were not realized and therefore a corrective action must be undertaken in orders to put everything back in course. This would include transfers of workers to other departments, re-doing the plans and increasing the funding of the project.

  1. 5.     Importance of controlling

–          It is a basis for the future action because the planning is based on what has happened in the past.

–          It helps to reduce  possibility of the result not conforming  to the set standards

–          It helps  in facilitating of coordination because everything  is set out clearly in the procedures

–          It simplifies the  supervision   for the necessary

–          It is a form of delegation within  the organizations


Definition: It is employment of the right type of worker in a department or an organization.

Steps of Staffing Process

Job Analysis

Definition: Is the process of identifying the overall tasks, activities and responsibilities within an organization. This helps to picture out the type of person to perform those tasks.

Uses of Job Analysis

–          It’s  used in employment

–          It’s used in fixing salaries

–          It’s sued to identify those to undergo training

–          It’s used to identify  those to be promoted

–          It’s sued in identify the workers who have no respect to the policies , procedures and methods

–          It’s a basis for merging developments


a)     When  the workers give conflicting information about their tasks, a job analyst  is forced to use guess work

b)     It requires  a lot of time to cover all jobs which is always lacking

c)      If there is change in management the job analysis results may be rejected and therefore a waste to an organization

d)     When workers do not co-operate with the job analysis then information will be given rendering the result in effective.

Categories of Staff or Workers

–          Permanent workers or permanent  and pensionable

–          Temporary  workers

–          Casual workers

–          Retrenchment workers

–          Retired workers

–          The deceased dependants

Is determining human resources, needs and recruiting selecting, training and developing human resources.

–          Once the organization recruitment activities have succeeded in attracting sufficient numbers of relevant applicants from the external Labour Market, the aim of the subsequent selection activities is to identify the most suitable applicants and persuade them to join the organization. Even in time of high unemployment, selection is very much a two way process, with the candidate assessing the organization well as the other way round. From the organizations point of view, selection is just as much as selling operation as the initiation recruitment.

–          Advertisement of the job opportunities   or vacancies in the newspapers and internet or media

–          The  salient   features of the selection process are:

a)     The application details(forms, CVs and letters)

b)     The interviews and

c)      Selection test, where applicable and other supporting evidence, such as references.

The relationship between these features can be shown dramatically as in figure below

Salient features of the selection process. The key stages in the selection process are:-

–          Sifting  through application forms or CVs

–          Drawing up a shortlist of candidates

–          Inviting  these candidates for interviews

–          Conducting interviews(supported by tests where appropriate)

–          Making a decision about choice of candidates

–          Making an attractive offer and confirming it

–          Writing to unsuccessful candidates

–          Notifying appropriate managers of decisions

Surfing Applications

–    Applications for jobs arrive in four ways:-

ü  Individuals turn up in person

ü  An application  form is returned by post or email

ü  A letter of application is sent

ü  A CV (curriculum vitae) is submitted.

–    Applications are usually sorted in the following ways:-

Applications are divided into three groups:-

ü  Clearly suitable

ü  Possible

ü  Unsuitable

Clearly suitable applicants are called for interview. Possible contenders are held temporarily in reserve, while unsuitable applicants are rejected. If the numbers accepting the invitation for interview are disappointing, then some of the possible contenders may be invited.


  1. George Terry and Stephen G. Franklin

Principles of Management, (AITB, Delhi) 1998

  1.  Arthur G. Berden Management, Dryolen Press, New York, 1993
  2. Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Edition By Michael Armstrong
  3. Personal and Human Resources  Management 5th Edition  by G. A. Cole

Posted on March 2, 2012, in Categorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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