WHAT IS MANAGEMENT?
If you were to look up the definition of management in ten different management
textbooks, you would find definitions that vary a bit but also have common themes.
like to define management as “getting things (tasks and goals) done by working with and through
people and other organizational resources.”
Like other definitions, this definition implies:
1. Management is a process, i.e. it is an activity that is ongoing and continuous; it is
not something that is ever completely done.
2. Management focuses on accomplishing organizational goals.
3. Management entails the use of human and other organizational resources.
Management occurs largely in organizations.
An organization can be defined as a group of two
or more people who band together deliberately in a system of relationships to accomplish a
common purpose or common goals.
There are many different kinds of organizations:
firms, military organizations, religious organizations (in fact, the Catholic Church is one of the
oldest organizations in the world), social organizations, political organizations, etc., etc.
of what we cover in this course can be applied to all of these different kinds of organizations.
Management may differ from organization to organization; management also differs from level
to level within a given organization.
It is not adequate to just define the word “management”—because the word is used to refer to at
least three different things.
Those people who have the official authority and responsibility in the
The body of knowledge.
Each of these is discussed below.
Management: The Activity
The activities that make up management have been a matter of debate for many years.
however, agreement that management activities include planning, organizing, directing/leading,
These activities were initially suggested—though in a somewhat different form
—by Henri Fayol, a French mining engineer, who suggested that management entails planning,
organizing, coordinating, commanding, and controlling.
Over the years, the coordinating and
commanding functions have been combined into what is now referred to as directing/leading.
Fayol also laid out 14 principles of administrative management (these will be discussed in the
Evolution of Management Thought handout).
Since management scholars now agree that planning, organizing, directing/leading, and
controlling are the four basic management functions, it is necessary to make sure that we
understand what each of these functions entails.
is the management function that
entails determining organizational goals and the means for achieving those goals.
occurs at a number of different levels in organizations and in various time horizons.
planning is a type of top-level planning decision that focuses on the long-term direction of the