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Understanding Issues In Organizational Behavior

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The Four Functions of Management

Management is creative problem solving achieved using the four functions of management: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Organizing these four functions results in the competitive advantage a business may need in order to succeed. The result is the achievement of the company's missions and goals through the effective use of the organization's resources.

Planning is the ongoing process of developing the business' mission and objectives and determining how they will be accomplished (Erven, 2007). The difference between a successful and unsuccessful manager can be traced back to effective planning. Planning is like a blueprint for businesses. It is the first tool of the four functions and the other three functions can all be traced back to planning. They cannot be achieved until the plans and goals are in place and clearly defined. There are many examples of planning including: strategic planning (vision, mission), business planning, project planning, staffing planning, advertising and promotions planning, etc. (McNamara, 2007). Strategic planning is where the organization's strategies are determined using a 3 question process. Where are we now? Where do we want to be? How do we get there? (Erven, 2007). Answering these questions defines the business, the basic actions needed to be taken, and identifies the weaknesses and strengths. Strengths can be exploited and become the base of the mission and objectives of the company. Weaknesses can limit accomplishments and business growth. Both need to be addressed during the planning stage of the foundation of the business will be weak. Planning is essential to all levels of management, however, the technicalities vary at each level.

Organizing is establishing the internal organizational structure of the business (Erven, 2007). This entails gathering and coordinating all the resources necessary to achieve the organization's goals: human, financial, physical, informational. Manager's decisions should reflect the mission, objectives, goals, and tactics when developing the organizational structure and distributing authority. Under the function of organization, managers decide the division of labor, the delegation of authority, departmentation, span of control, and coordination (Erven, 2007). Management must make these decisions in any organization with more than 2 people. Division of labor is concerned with the relationships among tasks and the authority to complete these tasks. Delegation of authority is the distribution of authority, or power, freeing the manager for higher priority activities but not from responsibility or accountability. The chains of command must be clearly defined. Departmentation is grouping jobs underneath one manager based on planning, coordination, and control. How large the department is depends on the size of the company and the number of people reporting to a single manager. Coordination is the departments, employees, and managers working together effectively and productively. Staffing is another piece of the function of organizing. To be effective in staffing managers must first truly understand themselves: their method of work, type of people the want working underneath them, etc. Managers must know the business they work for completely in order to find the perfect match and do not just hire anyone to fill the position. Creating an effective and informational interview process is essential to finding the most qualified candidate for the job.

Leading, simply put, is establishing direction and influencing people to follow that direction (McNamara, 2007). The purpose is accomplishing the mission and objectives while helping the employees accomplish their career objectives. This is accomplished by directing, or channeling, the behavior of all employees towards those goals. Leading is also sometimes referred to as influencing, directing, coaching, motivating, interpersonal relations, and human relations (Erven, 2007). Gemmy Allen says, "A leader can be a manager, but a manager is not necessarily a leader" (1998). Leading is persuading, inspiring, influencing, and motivating employees to achieve the goals of the organization and of their own. Managers must lead by example. Removing barriers of communication, providing positive as well as negative feedback, and channeling the communication where it needs to go are all parts of the leading function of management and help motivate employees to believe in and follow their managers. Performance appraisals are quite effective in any organization however, a manager cannot be afraid to discipline as well. Failure

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