Management is a broad subject in the academic field. Students who take up this subject in college or whatever academic level goes through various topics. Management is a term that refers to the act of working, with and through other individuals, to attain the goals of both the company and its employees. Management entails four fundamental activities, which comprise leading, planning, organizing, and controlling (Daft, 2012). Managers are classified into two groups: according to their level and area of work. According to level, there are three types of managers, which include first-line managers, middle managers, and top managers. According to areas, there are managers in different areas of marketing, finance, human resources, and operations. A manager requires conceptual skills, human skills and technical skills, in order to perform his or her job effectively (Williams, 2010).
The manager’s job has been affected greatly by dramatic changes in the modern workplace. These changes include advancement in technology, globalization, changing social values, changes in the labour force, as well as other environmental shifts. These changes imply application of the modern needs and special competencies to deal with problems in the turbulent times. The new workplace is different from the old workplace in a number of ways. For instance, the old workplace was characterized by routine, definite tasks, and identical control procedures. However, in the new workplace, work is not only flowing but flexible (Griffin, 2012). Work is often performed virtually, with modern mangers having to supervise employees who do not have to come to the office physically. These changes have forced managers to have new management competencies. They had to change their approach in organizing, directing and motivating workers (Daft, 2012). Modern employees have adopted an empowering leadership style in which employees have little supervision. In addition, managers now tie the success of the company not only to one individual, but also to all stakeholders in the organization including customers, as well as other companies. This has obliged them to work collaboratively with other lower level and middle-level employees in the company in order to attain the company’s goals (Williams, 2010).
The management field may be more than a century old, but management ideas and practices have been in application from the start of recorded history. Management ideas began in the era of Sumerians in 5000 B.C.E who invented recordkeeping, as well as the Egyptians in their skills in building pyramids. However, modern management evolved from a classical perspective of management, which took a rational, scientific approach to management. This perspective sought to make organizations efficient in operating machines (Griffin, 2012). Scientific management is a branch of the classical perspective that focuses on scientifically determined changes in management practices as the remedy to ameliorating labour output. This management style is attributed to Frederick Taylor. Max Weber introduced another branch of classical management perspective known as bureaucratic management, which focuses on management on an impersonal, logical ground via elements such as clearly defined authority, formal recordkeeping, as well as the distinction between ownership and management (Daft, 2012).
Another branch of the classical perspective of management is administrative management, which emphasizes on the entire organization instead of individual employees and outlines the management functions. One of the great contributors to this management perspective is Henry Fayol. Another management perspective is humanistic perspective. It focuses on the significance of comprehending human behaviours, needs and attitudes in the workplace. Several writers, as well as theoretical movements, precipitated this management perspective. One of the movements was industrial psychology, which applied psychological concepts in industrial settings (Griffin, 2012). Another movement, which saw the rise of the humanistic perspective in management, was the human relations movement. It proposed that employees respond to the social setting of the workplace. This movement assumed that the manager’s concern for the employees was important for increasing their satisfaction, which could, consequently, lead to increased performance. Two of the major writers who advanced this movement were Abraham, through his hierarchy of needs, and Douglas McGregor, through the assumptions of his theory X and Y (Williams, 2010).
Another management approach is the behavioural sciences approach, which borrows a lot from psychology, sociology, as well as the entire discipline of the social sciences, with the aim of developing theories concerning human behaviour and relations in an organizational context. Other management perspectives include quantitative perspective, which became popular during the Second World War (Griffin, 2012). It uses mathematics, statistical techniques, and computer technology to enable decision-making, especially for sophisticated problems. More recent trends in the evolution of management thinking include systems thinking, which focuses on the changing interactions among the elements of an organization, as well as total quality management, which emphasizes on the entire organization in delivering quality to customers (Daft, 2012).
Learning about management also entails studying organizations. Organizations do not exist in a vacuum. They have both an external and an internal environment. The external environment of an organization has two layers namely the general environment and the task environment (Griffin, 2012). The task environment of the organization comprises of the competitors, the regulators, the customers, suppliers, and strategic partners. The general environment of the organization comprises of different dimensions such as technological, political-legal, economic, social-cultural, and international dimensions. The organization’s internal environment comprises of the owners of the company, employees, physical environment, the board of directors, and the corporate culture (Williams, 2010).
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Corporate, or organizational culture, refers to those set of values, beliefs, ways of conducting oneself, and attitudes that help the stakeholders of the company understand what the company stands for, how it operates, and what it regards important. Corporate culture is crucial in shaping managerial behaviour. It determines the feel of the organization. For instance, the corporate culture of Microsoft is an organization whose employees dress casually and work for long hours. The same culture is not essentially found throughout the whole organization (Griffin, 2012). The culture of one department such as sales and marketing may be different from that of human resources. Corporate culture is often derived from the founder of the company. In addition, corporate culture is also determined by shared experiences and corporate success. Managers have long realized the significance of corporate culture in an organization. In order to manage organizational culture effectively, managers ought to understand the current organizational culture, and determine whether it should be upheld or altered (Daft, 2012).
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As mentioned earlier, one of the core functions of a manager is planning. The process of planning entails determining managerial strategy and goal setting. Managerial strategy assumes the long-term goals and objectives of the organization, which entails determining how resources will be allocated. The strategic management process consists of two major responsibilities (Williams, 2010). These are strategy formulation and strategy implementation. Strategy formulation entails assessing existing strategies, organization, and environment in order to create new strategies and strategic plans that can enable the organization to compete effectively in the future (Griffin, 2012). Strategic implementation entails acting upon the strategies developed and evaluating the results. Strategic management helps the organization in various ways such as ensuring the company uses resources effectively, producing high quality goods, development of new products, getting market shares, and making a positive contribution to society (Williams, 2010). Among the four major functions of managers, planning is the most crucial assignment. However, planning in the modern turbulent world of business is controversial. Managers today adopt innovative planning strategies to cope up with the changing world of business. They use approaches such as contingency plans, scenario bulling, and crisis planning (Griffin, 2012).
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Most successful organizations today owe their success, not to great business ideas, but to their employees. Employees should have the appropriate skills for their job, and above all, be motivated. This is the reason the field of management entails theories of motivating employees. There are different theories that have been put forth on how to motivate workers. One of the theories is reinforcement theory. This theory holds that positive reinforcement can motivate employees by offering rewards for high performance. It also holds that there should be negative reinforcement in order to discourage poor performance (Daft, 2012). Another motivation theory is the goal-setting theory advanced by Edwin Locke. This theory holds that task goal can be highly motivating if they are properly set and if managed well. Other theories of motivation include Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, McGregor’s Theory X and Y, theory Z, expectancy theory, and equity theory. In general terms, employees are motivated by making their job interesting, providing clear performance objectives, supporting their performance efforts, providing judicious performance feedback, and rewarding their performance (Griffin, 2012).
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The management discipline also introduces students to organizational behaviour, which deals with groups and teams. A team is a distinctive variety of task group. There are different types of teams in the workplace. They include functional, virtual, self-managed, cross-functional, and problem-solving teams (Williams, 2010). All these teams are formed to perform various functions. Teams are formed through various stages. The first stage is known as the forming stage and usually entails getting acquainted with each other. The second stage is known as storming stage and entails the development of decision-making (Griffin, 2012). The next stage is known as the norming stage, whereby members set the rules of operation. The next stage is performing stage and here, members show how they attain results together. The last stage is known as adjourning stage, whereby members disintegrate to their initial roles. An effective size of a team consists of three to an upper limit of sixteen members. However, twelve is the appropriate largest size of a team that can enable close interaction among all members. There are various factors that cause conflicts among team members. These include free riding, bad apples effect and lack of trust (Daft, 2012).
The content of the management revolves around the functions of managers. One of the major functions of managers is decision-making. Indeed, all other functions are anchored on this function because they entail making decisions at one phase or another (Williams, 2010). The decision is the act of consciously choosing from among alternative courses of action. This gives rise to managerial decision-making. In addition, the modern manager is faced with an increasing diversity in the workplace. Changing trends in the workplace include advancement in technology, global legislative trends outlawing discrimination against women or minorities in the workforce. This has obliged managers to adopt policies and strategies that put into consideration the diverse workforce (Daft, 2012).
Apart from managing diversity, management also puts into consideration managing human resources. Management of human resources effectively requires understanding all of the human resource policies and practices that make up an organization’s human resource management as well as the interconnections that relate the parts of that system together (Williams, 2010). Since management of human resources is rather complex, it requires cooperation among human resource professionals, line managers, and other workers. Management of human resources also entails an in-depth analysis of the organization’s environments and how those environments influence the company (Griffin, 2012). There are different activities for managing human resource. They include offering benefits and services, conducting performance management, recruiting and replacing employees, appreciating unionization and collective bargaining, and training and developing a competitive labour force. In conclusion, the human resource is the engine of the company, and as such, the success of all other activities of the company depends on how human resource is managed.