Friday, January 20, 2012



Management’ is not a new word, we often hear it in general conversations and reads it in newspapers and in journals. If a student says that she is doing ‘Business Management’ as her field of student, we naturally end by assuming she is into managing the business. In a way we often do not give importance to the authenticity of the word ‘Management’, and link it with other profound words like financial, agricultural, disaster, waste, forest etc so to become financial management, agricultural management and disaster management, these and many more.  So, before starting off with what management is good for, let us make a comprehensive attempt to what definition or meaning will be suited for ‘Management’, other than the layman’s understanding of management; comprising of planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization.

What is Management? : A Brief View


No standard terminology has yet been evolved in this field as would satisfy everyone. If we have to make an attempt as to what this term mean then we have to look into wherein it is use. Management, is a process made up of definite functions within the framework of an organized unit, however management is often used synonymously with administration and organisation. But, administration is not so much of an internal process like management and organisation is just one function of management. The objective of the management is to achieve desired goal, and it is not doing things but getting things done, and if we have to agree upon the definition of G.R. Terry (1956) then, “Management is the accomplishing of predetermined objective through the efforts of other people.”[1]

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management says that, “Management means, in the last analysis, the substitution of thought for brawn and muscle, of knowledge for folklore and superstition, and of cooperation for force...”[2]  To understand it more elaborately let us look into the main characteristics of what management is, it is universal in a sense that no matter what the enterprise is management has become an integral part from business to public sphere, it requires team work and that is obvious for it cannot sustain in isolation, and management is a process.

Henri Fayol who was one of the most influential contributors of modern concepts of management considers management to consist of six functions: forecasting, planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling.  So, we can say that management is the sum total of a means of achieving a desired goal and it requires co-ordination and it encourages logical thinking rather than doing something with force and muscle. Management is also defined as human action, including design, to encourage the production of fruitful outcomes from a system.


Why Management? : The benefits of Management


Management is not just about managing private or public enterprise, it can disseminate into the minutest of sphere like managing a home, or activities related with one’s own day to day affair. However, when we talk about management we tend to focus only on what the performances of public and private enterprises ought to be. Anyway, in both the cases management is not just to be achieved in theory but also in practice, through management skills like technical, political, conceptual, interpersonal and diagnostic skills.


Furthermore, responsible performance of the public service means that management provides direction for administrative effort by working with and through those institutional devices which exist to express the will of a democratic society. An arbitrary and irresponsible administration can hardly fill the bill in modern times and that is why administration today has to be democratic and responsible, and not bureaucratic and irresponsible.  ‘Good government’ has been the goal ever since the times of Plato and Aristotle, but throughout history, the term has been differently interpreted, whatever it is management is considered as one of the key ingredient for achieving good governance. In business enterprises, the personality of the managers, the relations of the workers which form the labour force and various other factors helps in proper process of management.

Management with accountability and responsibility is something which is to strive for, moreover participative management which is the latest trend in management circles, tends to mean, to  increase the degree of ‘we’ feeling or cohesiveness that participants have with their organization, provide the participants with an overall organizational point of view instead of the traditionally ore narrow departmental point of view, decrease the amount of conflict, hostility, and cut-throat competition among the participants, increase the individual’s understanding of each other which leads to increased tolerance and patience towards others, increase the individual’s free expression of his personality which results in an employee who sticks with the organisation; and develop a work climate as a result of the other tendencies in which the subordinates find opportunity to be more creative and to come up with ideas beneficial to the organization. It should however, be remembered that participative management is no easy formula to solve all employer-employee tangling problems. Its successful introduction in an organization depends, on factors like the nature of organization, the personnel policies of the organization, and the altitude of top management towards it.


Management is needed for the success of planning, policies and programmes. Many countries had achieved success in economic policies through proper management, co-ordination in various level and co-operation. So, from the above lines we can see that the management is required in various fields and its essentiality is varied.


A snippet of Management for greater welfare

“The heart of administration is the management of Programmes designed to serve the general welfare.” Paul H. Appleby.

If we go by the above definition then, in a more boarder sense, management does ot confine itself to a formal institution but looks into community level affairs, like managing natural resources belonging to a set of people or so. That is the reason why water, wasteland etc had been brought under the urgency for better management. In the village level, there are certain institutions which look into the management process in various areas. Management should not be individualistic in approach but should keep into consideration what benefit it will give to the greater whole, that way management could aim at the welfare of the people which in turn could result in achieving set goals, for two heads are better than one. For if there is a shared responsibility, then it will be easy for the management to be carried out and not when there is aloofness among people and their community.

That way management takes into consideration the general welfare, and the general welfare is in fact the catalyst of management, where policies and programmes are designed and shaped to meet the requirements of the general welfare, that way management should be carried out with a mission, vision, objective, policy and strategy so that it will not go haywire.


For Gullick the true goal of effective management is to make the conduct of affairs technically sound, politically responsible, publicly acceptable, professionally approved and socially constructive. If so then Gandhi, for many reasons here in his country and in aboard, is considered as management guru whether for his dynamic leadership and leadership style which was ‘people centric’, the way he organized mass movement for instance the Dandi march, is something the business leaders look into for the managerial skills.[3]

And management does not only mean managing a big co-operate business house or an enterprise but management is needed even in micro level like household, a home maker can chart out in detail what good management means to her and the definition which she might say may be different from what professional and managers could have said; however management is a board word and we cannot narrow down its meaning just by settling it with what a group of people thinks it to be. The greater question is what good does management does, the answer of which lies in the fact that it helps in proper co-ordination, arrangement of tasks and leveling the right amount of energy where it is required. Without proper management things will go hassle puzzle, which could not lead to achieving an objective. But, whatever may be the case, management should take into account the general welfare.

Interestingly, management has been seen in the background of the works of great writers like Sun Tzu, Chanakya, Adam Smith and in 20th century in the writings of Fredrick Winslow Taylor, Henry R. Towne, and even in 21st century its importance has been seen in various functional categories, in this way we can conclude that the strive for better management is still in the hunt and its goodness does not cease to extinct. Lastly, management should move with an objective, which Peter Drucker had popularized by the term “management by objectives” in his 1954 much celebrated book ‘The Practice of Management’ where in the essence of managements are goal settings, choosing course of actions and decision making. Such objectives make management to run smoothly, though certain other factors might also be responsible.




[1] Terry. G.R., Principles of Management, Illinois, Richard D. Irwin. Inc., 1956,p.18.

[3] › Business.