Managerial Functions

We also look at the importance of managerial functions in improving the quality of work for the employees and organisations. We will also look at the benefits or dangers of performing these functions effectively or ineffectively. 2. 0 MANAGERS The term ‘Manager’is defined as “somebody who is responsible for directing and controlling the work and staff of a business, or of a department within it” (Encarta Dictionary 2009). ‘Managers appear in every organization, at least inorganisations that want to succeed’. (Benowitz 2001)They make things happen in a business, they are responsible for the success and failures of the company.

There are different types of managers depending on the organization. Even though these differences are vast, all managers fall under one of the following categories. 2. 1 Top Level Managersalso referred to as Executive Managers. Their job is to ensure thesmooth running of theorganisation a whole. They make long-term decision about the overall direction of theorganisation and setup the objectives, policies and strategies for it. They must be future oriented because they deal with uncertainty and highly competitive conditions. They also have to deal with the environment outside of the organization.

Job titles common in this category include, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), President, Vice President, and Chief Operations Officer. 2. 2 Middle Level Managers, like the name suggest; sites between the Top-Level Managers and the Low-Level Managers also referred to as the First-Line Managers. They take the plans and strategies formulated by the top level and give to the First-Line Managers. They develop and implement action plans consistent with company objectives such as increase productivity and market presence. They are in charge of large department or divisions consisting of several units.

Common titles in this category include, Branch Manager, Plant Manager, director of works etc. 2. 3 Low level Managers or first-line Managers; these are team leader, supervisors, or foremen in charge of workers who does the actual hands-on work. They ensure that workers work according to the company laid down procedure. They make sure produced items are to specific requirement and the right quality. In short, they are involved in ensuring that the day-to-day activities of the organisation are completed. They mostly spend their managerial time on implementation. 3. 0 MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS

It is very difficult to define what managers do in an organization; this is primarily because they are so many types of managers who perform different function in differentorganisations. However they are a number of activities are all managers must perform no matter what the type or size of the company in what of part of the business they work. Henry Fayol, a French Mining engineer was the first to outlinethe four basic functions that every manager performs on a daily basis. The manager might be the president of a multi-cooperation organization, or the dean of students at a university or even a supervisor of a water utility company.

All will do the four basic functions. Source: TheManagement Process,(Williams 2007, p. 14) 3. 1 Planning “A successfulorganisation is the one that has a clear plan” (Quinn 2010). Planning, which is the first of the four basic and the primary function of management is setting goals and deciding how to achieve them, or as (Benowitz 2001) puts it, “these are stepsthat involves mapping out exactly how to achieve a particular goal”. Every manager needs to set up goals in advance for theorganisation or department he or she is responsible for and decide best ways and means of achieving those goals.

For instance, this can be to improve emerald extraction in a gemstone mining company; thatis, improvingthe time and quality of the stones extracted from the ground. To achieve that a manager can decide to use underground mining or open pit mining. He also has to decide if using a crasher or explosives to deal with hard rocks. In this scenario, planning could involve the type of machinery that would best suit the type of operations required, the type of work force required, the qualifications and skills of employees, the number of shifts eeded to complete the task effectively and so on. Planning is very cardinal to the success of every organisation or business. According to (Burrow, Kleindl & Ever 2004, p. 272) it involves analysing information available and making decision about what needs to be done. Planning is complex and difficult due to levels of uncertainty and risks involved. Planning is divided into three parts depending with the levels of management. Strategic planning which is done by top-level managers.

Then there is Tactical planning done by middle level managers and lastly operational planning done by low level or first-line managers. All these need to be done in conjunction with one another to effectively and efficiently achieve the goals set by the organization. 3. 2Organising After a plan has been put in place, it is time to organize work force into departments and assign specific task or tasks for each department to do. This is referred to as organisationalstructure; it involves division of labour, deciding who will be doing what and when and for how long.

For instance the human resources department will be in-charge of staffing and all employee related affairs while the sales department will handle all sales related issues of the organization. Managers determine which departments are required, how many people are to be employed in each department and what task each department will be performing in conformity with the organisational goals. Organizing also deals with establishing line of authority or in other words, the chain of command. Manager need to create organisationalhierarchy stating who is top and whom to report to.

This is essential and important in creating order in the organization. Managers also organize and allocate company ororganisational resources e. g. raw materials, tools, capital and personnel to the departments to ensure a well-organized and smooth operation of the entire organization. 3. 3 Leading or Directing Leading is the third of the four basic functions; it is considered the life-spark of the organisation because it is the one that sets in motion the activities desired by the organization. Planning andorganisation becomes irrelevant if leading function does not take effect or take place.

It involves formulating a clear vision for all employees to follow, employees will only work effectively if they understand what the company is trying to achieve. A manager needs to lead or direct the employees to the goals of the company or organization, by communicating and supervising them. Leading also means motivating employees so that they attain a high level of efficiency and commitment. Being a good manager means guiding the employees, encouraging then to do better, and offering them incentives and rewards when they perform above standard.

It also involves training, assisting and solving problems with the employees. In short “leading is establishing direction and influencing others to follow that direction”. (Benowitz 2001). Leading is required at every level of the organization. Every manager needs to provide guidance and inspiration to its subordinates. 3. 4 Controlling The last of the basic management functions is called controlling; in this function, managers evaluate the performance of the organisation against the goals set. This is necessary so that actions can be put in place to correct a negative or to improve on the current performance.

By monitoring progress and performance, a manager can easily adapt to changes and uncertainty, he can detect irregularities and errors in the process and also detect opportunities when present. Controlling is done though setting standards for the goalsthen comparedwith current performance based on written reports, observations, communication and interactions with employees involved in the process. If any deviation from the original plan is detected, a corrective action is to be put in place before it gets out of hand.

Performance appraisal, project evaluation and personal evaluation are some of the tools managers use to control or monitor progress’ conformity with the standards. 3. 5 Staffing Other researchers and authors have included staffing as part of the basic functions. An author like (Benowitz 2001, p. 5)is among those that have included it to make the make basic function. Staffing function is the placing of right quality of people in the right place within the organization. Managers through the human resources manager in large organisations usually do this.

Due to increase inorganisational sizes, advancement in technology and the complexity of human behavior, staffing has become a very important function in most of the organisations. This involves effective selection, development of personnel skills and training employees to fit a specific task that requires to be done by the management. 4. 0 MODERN MANAGEMENT FUNCTION The four functions of the managers suggested by Henry Foal are classified as classic functions. Modern scholars have amplified these four functions to include decision-making, staffing, communication and to make a total of eight modern Management functions. . 0 BENEFITS OF EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT Organisations and businesses benefit greatly from managers who understand the basic functions and are able to implement them effectively. Different management function has its own benefits if properly done. 5. 1 Clear Vision Since planning begins with determining objectives or goals of the organization, it defines the purpose, for which each activity is to be undertaken, this results in organisational personnel understanding and seeing the objectives more clearly and working towards achieving that. 5. 2 Coordination

Every worker and every department work toward a common goal, there is an integrated effort though out the organisation to achieve the stated goal. Top-level managers ensure that departments they supervise work in harmony to move in line with the vision of the organization. Co-ordination among department is vital for a successful business or organization. For instance, there has to be proper coordination between workshop and the mining department in that workshop services and repairs machinery which the mining department uses in mining operations.

Coordination as to when and which machine needs to be serviced. 5. 3 Organisational Order Proper planning also brings about order in the organisation because managers provide a guide for an action to be undertaken to accomplish certain objectives. Employees know in advance, what is expected of them which removing all forms of confusion, which comes about when many people from different background, work together. Planning also improves the moral of workers if they know of the incentives of working extra hard. 5. 4 Provides Alternative Action

Planning also, helps reduce future uncertainty because managers can provide alternative course of action in case of change in the original blueprint due to unexpected turn of events. 5. 5 Proper Resource Management Resources are well managed when an organisation or business is well organized. Raw materials are given to the right department that knows how to use them to produce the required output. Misuse of resources is reduced when the right people handle the right resources. This in turn helps theorganisation in terms of cost saving. 5. 6 Right Work Force

Selecting employees for departments based on qualifications, skills and experience helps put the right people on the right job. This reduces on the amount of errors likely to occur when performing a required task. 5. 7 Hierarchy of Authority An organisation with a proper hierarchy of authority is always working in harmony. It is human nature to give commands, thus if no authority is put in place, everyone would want to tell the other what to do. 6. 0 DANGERS OF INEFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT Bad Managers can easily sink theorganisation or business to the ground, 6. 1 Confusion

It is easy for employees to achieve maximum efficiency if they understand the role they play in reaching the goals set by the organization. Without a clear goal and a well-defined job description, employees tend to be confused which results in under performance. 6. 2 Stress of Employees When a manager does not implement the leading function well, employees feel uncared for and this causes stress and unwillingness to perform. Employees tend to lose interest in achieving the goals of the organization. Instead, they tend to look out for their own interests only. 6. 3 Demotivated Employees

Lack of proper incentives demotivates employees, when employees are not motivated they are not likely to take up extra jobs or work extra hours for the benefit of the organization. They will likely work as little as they can safely work. 6. 4 Misuse of Valuable resources When a wrong person is assigned to a specific job, he/she will not put the resources like raw materials or tools to better use, this will cost the organisation a lot of time and money. Luck of commitment by unsatisfied employees will also result in misuse oforganisational resources, as they do not consider themselves being a part of the success of that organization. . 5 Miscommunication When employees are scared of their manager there is always a lack of understanding, Even if instructions are not clear, an employee will not ask and will likely end up making mistakes while performing his assignment. 6. 6 Company Loses When leading function is not proper used, the company loses time and money through court cases by employees, theft by unsatisfied employees and down time due to ‘sick off’ permissions by uncommitted employees. 6. 7 Poor Quality Products When there is lack of control or monitor of set goals, companies tend to produce low quality products.

Corrective actions are done when it is too late which sometime result in closers of organisations. 7. 0 MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS IN ZAMBIAN FIRMS Everyorganisation needs a manager or managers and Zambian firms are no exception, some organisations have excelled due to good management while others have closed because of bad management. A good example of companies that have expended since its inception isZambeef. When it started it was only dealing in meat products and was only based in a few towns in Zambian, but now its outlets are found in every inch of the country and outside of

Zambia. It has also gone into shoe making, restaurants, leather productions and the list goes on Other Companies though still exiting experiences many problems due to bad management. For instance, Grizzly Mining, which has employed many unskilled workers, faces costly loses of resources due to improper use of resources. Most employees are unhappy with management and management has been losing the little skilled workers to other companies due to mismanagement. Most workers would rather work for a different company with less pay then work with bad managers.


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