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Management is the act of directing and controlling a group of people for the purpose of coordinating and harmonizing the group towards accomplishing a goal beyond the scope of individual effort. Management encompasses the deployment and manipulation of human resources, financial resources, technological resources, and natural resources. Management can also refer to the person or people who perform the act of management.
The verb Manage comes from the Italian maneggiare (to handle — especially a horse), which in turn derives from the Latin manus (hand). The French word mesnagement (later ménagement) influenced the development in meaning of the English word management in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Functions of management
Management operates through various functions, often classified as planning, organizing, leading/motivating and controlling.
- Planning: deciding what needs to happen in the future (today, next week, next month, next year, over the next five years, etc.) and generating plans for action.
- Organizing: making optimum use of the resources required to enable the successful carrying out of plans.
- Leading/Motivating: exhibiting skills in these areas for getting others to play an effective part in achieving plans.
- Controlling: monitoring — checking progress against plans, which may need modification based on feedback.
Mary Parker Follett (1868–1933), who wrote on the topic in the early twentieth century, defined management as "the art of getting things done through people".  One can also think of management functionally, as the action of measuring a quantity on a regular basis and of adjusting some initial plan; or as the actions taken to reach one's intended goal. This applies even in situations where planning does not take place. From this perspective, Frenchman Henri Fayol  considers management to consist of five functions:
Some people, however, find this definition, while useful, far too narrow. The phrase "management is what managers do" occurs widely, suggesting the difficulty of defining management, the shifting nature of definitions, and the connection of managerial practices with the existence of a managerial cadre or class.
One habit of thought regards management as equivalent to "business administration", although this then excludes management in places outside commerce, as for example in charities and in the public sector. Nonetheless, many people refer to university departments which teach management as "business schools", and some institutions (such as the Harvard Business School) use that name.
Speakers of English may also use the term "management" or "the management" as a collective word describing the managers of an organization, for example of a corporation.
Difficulties arise in tracing the history of management. Some see it (by definition) as a late modern (in the sense of late modernity) conceptualization. On those terms it cannot have a pre-modern history, only harbingers (such as stewards). Others, however, detect management-like activities in the pre-modern past. Some writers trace the development of management-thought back to Sumerian traders and to the builders of the pyramids of ancient Egypt. Slave-owners through the centuries faced the problems of exploiting/motivating a dependent but sometimes unenthusiastic or recalcitrant workforce, but many pre-industrial enterprises, given their small scale, did not feel compelled to face the issues of management systematically. However, innovations such as the spread of Hindu-Arabic numerals (5th to 15th centuries) and the codification of double-entry book-keeping (1494) provided tools for management assessment, planning and control.
Given the scale of most commercial operations and the lack of mechanized record-keeping and recording before the industrial revolution, it made sense for most owners of enterprises in those times to carry out management functions by and for themselves. But with growing size and complexity of organizations, the split between owners (individuals, industrial dynasties or groups of shareholders) and day-to-day managers (independent specialists in planning and control) gradually became more common.
Some argue that modern management as a discipline began as an off-shoot of economics in the 19th century. Classical economists such as Adam Smith (1723 - 1790) and John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873) provided a theoretical background to resource-allocation, production, and pricing issues. About the same time, innovators like Eli Whitney (1765 - 1825), James Watt (1736 - 1819), and Matthew Boulton (1728 - 1809) developed elements of technical production such as standardization, quality-control procedures, cost-accounting, interchangeability of parts, and work-planning. Many of these aspects of management existed in the pre-1861 slave-based sector of the US economy. That environment saw 4 million people, as the contemporary usages had it, "managed" in profitable quasi-mass production.
By the late 19th century, marginal economists Alfred Marshall (1842 - 1924) and Léon Walras (1834 - 1910) and others introduced a new layer of complexity to the theoretical underpinnings of management. Joseph Wharton offered the first tertiary-level course in management in 1881.
By about 1900 one finds managers trying to place their theories on what they regarded as a thoroughly scientific basis (see scientism for the purported limits of this belief). Examples include Henry R. Towne's Science of management in the 1890s, Frederick Winslow Taylor's Scientific management (1911), Frank and Lillian Gilbreth's Applied motion study (1917), and Henry L. Gantt's charts (1910s). J. Duncan wrote the first college management textbook in 1911. In 1912 Yoichi Ueno introduced Taylorism to Japan and became first management consultant of the "Japanese-management style". His son Ichiro Ueno pioneered Japanese quality-assurance.
The first comprehensive theories of management appeared around 1920. The Harvard Business School invented the Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) in 1921. People like Henri Fayol (1841 - 1925) and Alexander Church described the various branches of management and their inter-relationships. In the early 20th century, people like Ordway Tead (1891 - 1973), Walter Scott and J. Mooney applied the principles of psychology to management, while other writers, such as Elton Mayo (1880 - 1949), Mary Parker Follett (1868 - 1933), Chester Barnard (1886 - 1961), Max Weber (1864 - 1920), Rensis Likert (1903 - 1981), and Chris Argyris (1923 - ) approached the phenomenon of management from a sociological perspective.
Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005) wrote one of the earliest books on applied management: Concept of the Corporation (published in 1946). It resulted from Alfred Sloan (chairman of General Motors until 1956) commissioning a study of the organisation. Drucker went on to write 39 books, many in the same vein.
H. Dodge, Ronald Fisher (1890 - 1962), and Thornton C. Fry introduced statistical techniques into management-studies. In the 1940s, Patrick Blackett combined these statistical theories with microeconomic theory and gave birth to the science of operations research. Operations research, sometimes known as "management science" (but distinct from Taylor's scientific management), attempts to take a scientific approach to solving management problems, particularly in the areas of logistics and operations.
Some of the more recent developments include the theory of constraints, management by objectives, reengineering, and various information-technology-driven theories such as agile software development, as well as group management theories such as Cog's Ladder.
As the general recognition of managers as a class solidified during the 20th century and gave perceived practitioners of the art/science of management a certain amount of prestige, so the way opened for popularised systems of management ideas to peddle their wares. In this context many management fads may have had more to do with pop psychology than with scientific theories of management.
Towards the end of the 20th century, business management came to consist of six separate branches, namely:
- Human resource management
- Operations management or production management
- Strategic management
- Marketing management
- Financial management
- Information technology management responsible for management information systems
In the 21st century observers find it increasingly difficult to subdivide management into functional categories in this way. More and more processes simultaneously involve several categories. Instead, one tends to think in terms of the various processes, tasks, and objects subject to management.
Branches of management theory also exist relating to nonprofits and to government: such as public administration, public management, and educational management. Further, management programs related to civil-society organizations have also spawned programs in nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship.
As one consequence, workplace democracy has become both more common, and more advocated, in some places distributing all management functions among the workers, each of whom takes on a portion of the work. However, these models predate any current political issue, and may occur more naturally than does a command hierarchy. All management to some degree embraces democratic principles in that in the long term workers must give majority support to management; otherwise they leave to find other work, or go on strike. Hence management has started to become less based on the conceptualisation of classical military command-and-control, and more about facilitation and support of collaborative activity, utilizing principles such as those of human interaction management to deal with the complexities of human interaction. Indeed, the concept of Ubiquitous command-and-control posits such a transformation for 21st century military management.
Nature of managerial work
In for-profit work, management has as its primary function the satisfaction of a range of stakeholders. This typically involves making a profit (for the shareholders), creating valued products at a reasonable cost (for customers), and providing rewarding employment opportunities (for employees). In nonprofit management, add the importance of keeping the faith of donors. In most models of management/governance, shareholders vote for the board of directors, and the board then hires senior management. Some organizations have experimented with other methods (such as employee-voting models) of selecting or reviewing managers; but this occurs only very rarely.
In the public sector of countries constituted as representative democracies, voters elect politicians to public office. Such politicians hire many managers and administrators, and in some countries like the United States of America political appointees lose their jobs on the election of a new president/governor/mayor. Some 2500 people serve at the pleasure of the United States Chief Executive, including all of the top US government executives.
Public, private, and voluntary sectors place different demands on managers, but all must retain the faith of those who select them (if they wish to retain their jobs), retain the faith of those people that fund the organization, and retain the faith of those who work for the organization. If they fail to convince employees of the advantages of staying rather than leaving, they may tip the organization into a downward spiral of hiring, training, firing, and recruiting. Management also has the task of innovating and of improving the functioning of organizations.
The importance of control
At least two perspectives on role of control exist:
- Top management expects to control everything, making all decisions, while middle and lower managers implement decisions, and production workers operate only as instructed
- Top management does not decide the "right" way to do something, and lower-level staff become involved in decision-making processes.
- Some companies use "slopey shoulder syndrome" style management, where people will take credit for when things go right. However when things go wrong they will pass the blame and responsibility to people either below or adjacent in the company structure.
There are at least two dimensions to the structural relationships between managers and the managed:
- Number of levels of hierarchy
- Span of control at each level of hierarchy; how many people report to a manager of a given level?
Matrix management, however, breaks the strict relationship between manager and managed; a given specialist may report, on different projects, to different managers. A useful distinction made in many military organization is that a function or person will have separate administrative and operational chains of command. Administrative management is responsible for individual training, performance reviews, career planning, etc. Operational management is oriented to the task, not the individual.
The management of a large organisation may have three, or many more levels:
- Senior management (or "top management" or "upper management")
- Middle management
- Low-level management, such as Supervisors and Team leaders; such people are also "working management" who carry out some of the work as well as directing others to perform other parts
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Vocational Business: Training, Developing and Motivating People by Richard Barrett - Business & Economics - 2003. - Page 51.
- Administration industrielle et générale - prévoyance organisation - commandement, coordination – contrôle, Paris : Dunod, 1966
- Administrative incompetence
- Collaborative methodologies
- Corporate governance
- Design management
- Engineering management
- Futures Studies
- Knowledge visualization
- Management consulting
- Management development
- Management fad
- Management styles
- Management Technology
- Managing upwards
- Middle management
- Music management
- Organizational studies
- Organizational empowerment
- Predictive analytics
- Public administration
- Scientific management
- Senior management
- Social entrepreneurship
- Virtual management
- Peter Drucker's management by objectives
- Eliyahu M. Goldratt's theory of constraints
- Pointy Haired Boss — a negative stereotype of managers
- List of marketing topics
- List of human resource management topics
- List of economics topics
- List of finance topics
- List of accounting topics
- List of information technology management topics
- List of production topics
- List of business law topics
- List of business ethics, political economy, and philosophy of business topics
- List of business theorists
- List of economists
- List of corporate leaders
- List of companies