Nature of Management

Meaning and Definition of Management

The term management is composed of ‘manage-men-t’, which means ‘managing men tactfully’. Management is about achieving goals by using people and resources. It deals with complex situations and finds a balance between new ideas and stability, taking risks for potential rewards, and considering both short-term gains and long-term sustainability. In today’s globalized world with advanced technology and fast changes, management is an important practice that helps organizations function effectively worldwide. Management is the backbone of any organization.


To be effective, management involves organizing tasks and resources to match objectives, leading and motivating teams, and controlling progress through monitoring and taking corrective actions. It is important for managers to be adaptable as they operate in a constantly changing environment, tackling challenges and seizing opportunities. This dynamic process is crucial for businesses and institutions as it shapes their direction and determines their level of success.

According to Henry Fayol, “Management is the process by which cooperative group directs actions towards common goals.”

According to George R. Terry, “Management is a distinct process consisting of planning, organizing, activating, and controlling activities to determine and accomplish stated objectives by the use of human beings and other resources.”

Perspectives of Management Study

A. Management as an Activity

In the perspective of management as an activity, it involves several key components:

i. Communicating Information: Management involves the exchange of information among individuals and teams within an organization. Clear communication ensures that everyone understands their roles, tasks, and objectives. Effective communication also facilitates the flow of ideas, feedback, and instructions, enhancing coordination and productivity.

ii. Decision Making: Decision making is a crucial activity in management. Managers analyze information, assess options, and make choices that guide the organization toward its goals. These decisions range from strategic choices that shape the overall direction of the company to operational decisions that impact day-to-day activities.

iii. Interpersonal Relations: Interpersonal relations refer to the interactions between people within the organization. Managers build relationships with their teams, peers, and superiors, fostering teamwork, cooperation, and a positive work environment. Effective interpersonal skills are essential for motivating employees, resolving conflicts, and creating a cohesive organizational culture.

B. Management as a Process

In the perspective of management as a process, it is viewed as a series of ongoing steps:

i. Social Process: Management is a social process because it involves people working together to achieve common objectives. It’s not just about individual actions but about collaborating as a group to coordinate efforts, share knowledge, and achieve shared goals. This social aspect emphasizes the importance of effective communication, teamwork, and understanding within the organization.

ii. Integrating Process: Management serves as an integrating process by aligning various functions and activities within the organization. It brings together different departments, resources, and efforts to work harmoniously toward the organization’s objectives. This integration ensures that activities are coordinated, and resources are optimized for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

iii. Continuous Process: Management is a continuous process that doesn’t have an endpoint. It involves a cycle of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, followed by evaluation and adjustments. Organizations operate in dynamic environments, and management must constantly adapt to changes, refine strategies, and respond to challenges to maintain competitiveness and achieve sustainable success.

C. Management as a Discipline

In the perspective of management as a discipline, it is seen as a field of knowledge and study:

Management is considered a distinct area of study and practice, encompassing theories, principles, and techniques that guide the effective and efficient organization of resources to achieve organizational goals. It draws from various disciplines such as economics, psychology, sociology, and engineering to develop frameworks and tools for decision-making, problem-solving, and leadership. As a discipline, management offers systematic approaches to address challenges across industries and sectors.

Management education involves formal learning in academic institutions, where students gain knowledge about management concepts, theories, and practices. This education equips individuals with the skills needed to analyze complex situations, make informed decisions, and lead teams effectively. Management as a discipline aims to enhance organizational performance by providing structured methods for planning, organizing, leading, and controlling activities.

D. Management as a Group

In the perspective of management as a group, it highlights the collective efforts and roles within an organization:

Management involves individuals working together within a group structure to achieve common objectives. The group comprises managers at different levels, each responsible for specific tasks and areas of the organization. These managers collaborate to ensure that the organization’s activities are coordinated and aligned with its goals.

The concept of management as a group underscores the importance of teamwork, collaboration, and communication among managers. Each manager contributes expertise in their respective areas, and together, they make decisions that guide the organization’s direction. This group dynamic emphasizes the sharing of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to drive the organization’s success.

Essentials/ Features/ Characteristics of Management

1. Goal Oriented

Management is goal-oriented, meaning it revolves around setting and achieving specific objectives. These objectives guide the actions and decisions of managers and employees. Goals provide direction, focus efforts, and serve as a basis for measuring success. For example, a company might set a goal to increase its market share by 10% within a year, which drives the entire organization’s activities toward achieving this target.

2. Universal Activity

Management is a universal activity applicable to all types of organizations, regardless of their size, industry, or purpose. Whether it’s a small business, a non-profit organization, a government agency, or a multinational corporation, effective management practices are essential to achieve desired outcomes. This universality highlights the importance of management in various contexts and sectors.

3. Social Process

Management is inherently a social process because it involves interactions among people. Managers work with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders to achieve goals. Effective communication, teamwork, and interpersonal skills are vital for successful management. This social aspect emphasizes collaboration, understanding, and building positive relationships within an organization.

4. Dynamic Activity

Management operates in a dynamic environment where changes are constant. Businesses face evolving markets, technology advancements, economic shifts, and societal changes. Managers must adapt their strategies and decisions to address these fluctuations. The ability to be flexible and responsive is essential to navigate the dynamic nature of business environments.

5. Group Activity

Management is a group activity that involves the coordination of efforts among individuals within an organization. Managers lead teams, allocate resources, and ensure that everyone is working together toward common goals. Effective teamwork and collaboration enhance productivity and create a sense of shared responsibility for achieving outcomes.

6. Distinct Process

Management follows a specific process involving planning, organizing, leading, and controlling activities. Planning involves setting goals and developing strategies. Organizing structures tasks and resources. Leading guides and motivates individuals. Controlling monitors progress and ensures alignment with objectives. This distinct process provides a structured framework for achieving goals systematically.

7. Multidisciplinary in Nature

Management draws from various disciplines such as economics, psychology, sociology, and more. It integrates knowledge and techniques from these fields to address complex challenges. For instance, understanding economic principles helps managers make informed financial decisions, while insights from psychology aid in effective leadership and team management.

Management as Science, Art, and Profession

Management is a multidimensional discipline that can be interpreted as a science, an art, or a profession. Each viewpoint reveals a different aspect of management’s rich fabric. The diverse dimensions of management illuminate its complexity and significance in the dynamic world of business and organizations, from the systematic application of principles in a scientific manner to the creative finesse of artistic decision-making and the ethical commitment of a recognized profession.

A. Management as a Science

Viewing management as a science suggests that it follows a systematic and organized approach, utilizing principles, theories, and methodologies to analyze and solve problems within an organization. It involves the application of knowledge and empirical evidence to make informed decisions, predict outcomes, and enhance organizational effectiveness. Here are four points that illustrate how management is a science, along with examples:

1. Systematic Body of Knowledge: Management is based on a systematic body of knowledge that includes established principles, theories, and best practices. Just as scientific fields have theories that guide understanding and experimentation, management has theories that help predict how certain actions may impact an organization. For example, the Theory of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in management explains how addressing employee needs can improve motivation and productivity.

2. Application of Principles: Like other sciences, management applies principles to solve problems and make decisions. Managers analyze situations, identify relevant principles, and use them to develop strategies. For instance, the principle of “span of control” suggests that there’s an optimal number of subordinates a manager can effectively supervise. By applying this principle, an organization can structure its hierarchy for optimal efficiency and communication.

3. Experimentation and Observation: Management employs experimentation and observation to test hypotheses and gather data. Just as scientists conduct experiments to validate theories, managers can experiment with new strategies or processes to determine their effectiveness. For example, a retail store might experiment with different layouts to observe how they impact customer traffic and sales.

4. Predictive Capability: One hallmark of a science is its ability to predict outcomes based on established principles. Management, too, can predict the potential outcomes of certain decisions or strategies using empirical evidence and data analysis. For instance, a marketing manager can use historical data to predict the success of a new advertising campaign by analyzing previous campaigns’ performance metrics.

B. Management as an Art

Considering management as an art emphasizes its creative and skillful aspects, where managers utilize their expertise, intuition, and experience to address unique challenges and achieve organizational goals. Similar to artists who craft unique works using their skills and imagination, managers use their abilities to navigate complex situations and bring about desired outcomes. Here are four points that illustrate how management is an art, along with examples:

1. Creative Application of Skills: Management involves the creative application of skills to solve real-world problems. Just as artists apply their skills to create distinct artworks, managers apply their expertise to make decisions that suit the specific needs of their organization. For instance, a project manager creatively allocates resources and adjusts timelines to ensure the successful completion of a project, much like an artist bringing together different elements to craft a masterpiece.

2. Individual Expression: Like artists who express their unique visions through their work, managers express their individual approaches through their decisions and strategies. While principles and theories guide management, the way those principles are implemented can vary based on a manager’s personal style. For example, two different managers might use distinct leadership styles to motivate their teams, reflecting their unique approaches.

3. Practical Knowledge and Experience: Artists hone their craft through practice and experience, and similarly, managers develop their skills through practical application and learning from their experiences. Experienced managers draw on their insights from previous situations to navigate current challenges effectively. An experienced sales manager, for instance, might use past customer interactions to negotiate a successful deal.

4. Intuitive Decision Making: Artistic endeavors often involve intuition and instinct, and management shares this aspect. Managers make decisions based on a combination of analytical reasoning and their intuition developed over time. Just as an artist might rely on a “gut feeling” to choose colors for a painting, a manager might make a strategic decision based on their intuitive sense of the situation’s dynamics.

C. Management as a Profession

Viewing management as a profession emphasizes its status as a distinct occupation that requires specialized education, ethical standards, and a commitment to serve the best interests of clients or organizations. Professionals adhere to a code of conduct and continuously develop their skills to provide high-quality services. Here are four points that illustrate how management can be seen as a profession, along with examples:

1. Specialized Education and Training: Professions often demand specialized education and training, and management is no exception. Many managers pursue formal education, such as business degrees or management certifications, to gain knowledge in areas like organizational behavior, finance, and strategic planning. This education equips them with the expertise needed to make informed decisions and lead effectively.

2. Code of Ethics: Professionalism is often associated with a code of ethics that guides practitioners’ behavior. Management also adheres to ethical standards that ensure managers act in the best interests of their organizations and stakeholders. For example, managers are expected to maintain transparency, avoid conflicts of interest, and prioritize the welfare of their employees.

3. Continuous Professional Development: Professionals engage in continuous learning to stay updated with the latest industry trends and advancements. Similarly, managers participate in workshops, seminars, and training programs to enhance their skills and keep up with evolving business practices. This commitment to learning ensures that managers remain effective and relevant in their roles.

4. Client-Centered Approach: Many professions focus on serving the needs of clients, and management shares this perspective. Managers work to meet the needs of their organizations, stakeholders, and customers. For instance, a project manager ensures that a project is completed on time and within budget, satisfying the needs of both the organization and the client.

Key Functions of Management

1. Planning: Planning is the initial and foundational function of management. It involves setting organizational goals and objectives, identifying the steps needed to achieve them, and formulating strategies to guide decision-making. Planning provides direction and clarity, helping managers allocate resources effectively and prioritize tasks. For example, a retail business might plan for a new product launch by setting sales targets, determining production schedules, and developing marketing strategies.

2. Organizing: Organizing involves arranging and structuring resources, tasks, and people to achieve the established goals. It includes designing the organizational structure, defining roles and responsibilities, and creating a framework for coordination and communication. Organizing ensures that resources are allocated efficiently and that individuals work together cohesively. For instance, a project manager organizes team members, assigns specific tasks, and establishes reporting relationships to ensure a project’s smooth execution.

3. Staffing: Staffing entails recruiting, selecting, training, and developing the right individuals to fill various roles within the organization. It ensures that the organization has a capable workforce to achieve its objectives. Staffing also involves determining the optimal number of employees, assessing their skills, and addressing their professional growth. An example of staffing is when a human resources manager hires new employees who possess the skills required to support the company’s expansion.

4. Leading: Leading encompasses various aspects of managing people. It involves providing supervision, motivating employees, demonstrating effective leadership, facilitating communication, and coordinating activities. Supervision ensures that tasks are performed correctly, while motivation encourages employees to contribute their best efforts. Leadership sets the vision and guides the team toward achieving it. Effective communication and coordination foster collaboration and prevent misunderstandings. For instance, a team leader may use motivational techniques to boost employee morale during a challenging project.

5. Controlling: Controlling involves monitoring and measuring performance against established standards and objectives. It ensures that activities are on track and deviations are identified early. If discrepancies arise, corrective actions are taken to bring performance back in line with the desired outcomes. Controlling also involves evaluating the effectiveness of plans and strategies and making necessary adjustments. For example, a manufacturing manager monitors production processes to ensure products meet quality standards and takes corrective actions if defects are detected.

Levels of Management

The levels of management refer to the hierarchical layers within an organization, each with specific roles, responsibilities, and authority. These levels play a vital role in the delegation of tasks, decision-making, and overall coordination of activities. The three primary levels of management are Top/Superior, Middle/Mediator, and Lower/Subordinate/Bottom.

1. Top/Superior Management

At the top level of management, also known as superior management, are the executives who hold the highest positions within the organization. They are responsible for setting the overall vision, mission, and strategic direction of the organization. Their decisions have a broad impact and influence the entire organization. Top management focuses on long-term planning, policy-making, and establishing organizational goals. Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Presidents, and Vice Presidents often comprise this level.

They are concerned with major decisions such as mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships that shape the organization’s future. The major functions of Top Level Management are:

  • Setting organizational goals and direction
  • Formulating strategies and policies
  • Decision-making for long-term planning
  • Ensuring overall organizational effectiveness
  • Establishing relationships with stakeholders

2. Middle/Mediator Management

The middle level of management, often referred to as mediator management, bridges the gap between the top and lower levels. This layer includes department heads, divisional managers, and regional directors. Middle managers translate the strategic goals set by top management into specific plans and actions for their departments or units. They are responsible for implementing strategies, coordinating teams, and ensuring that activities align with the organization’s objectives.

Middle managers play a pivotal role in communication, as they relay information from top management to lower levels and vice versa. For instance, a Marketing Manager would develop strategies based on the company’s overall marketing goals and communicate them to their team. The major functions of Middle Level Management are:

  • Translating strategic goals into actionable plans
  • Coordinating and supervising department activities
  • Managing resources and budgets
  • Facilitating communication between top and lower levels
  • Implementing policies and strategies

3. Lower/Subordinate/Bottom Management

The lower level of management, also known as subordinate or bottom management, consists of supervisors, team leaders, and front-line managers. These managers oversee the daily operational activities of their teams or departments. They are directly involved in executing plans, allocating resources, and supervising employees. Bottom managers ensure that tasks are carried out efficiently, maintain discipline, and address day-to-day challenges. They play a critical role in implementing decisions and maintaining productivity.

For example, a Shift Supervisor in a manufacturing plant ensures that production targets are met, quality standards are maintained, and employees follow safety protocols. The major functions of Lower Level Management are:

  • Supervising day-to-day operations
  • Assigning tasks to employees
  • Monitoring performance and productivity
  • Providing training and guidance to employees
  • Ensuring adherence to policies and procedures

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