Home Career Guide What is Management? Definition | Functions | Concept

What is Management? Definition | Functions | Concept

What is Management? Here are the various definitions of Management as we take a look at its numerous functions and concept in any organization.

When human beings are born into life, they grow up to participate in various activities.

Some people actually initiate activities and lead others to join them while others play the role of followers.

One will find that some activities are rather concrete while others may appear abstract.

Management happens to belong to this last group – abstract.

What is Management?

Although abstract, management is aptly perceived to be the most integrating force behind all man’s activities.

This characteristic thus makes it the most complex, embracing comprehensive and taxing.

In the study of economics, we learn that all resources that man needs to work with are scarce (with the possible exception of air while one dwells within certain atmospheric strata).

These resources, broadly speaking, refer to the three M’s, that is Man, Material and Money.

When these three M’s are dissected, they may of course, expand into more M’s.

It is the duty of Management to integrate and utilize these scarce M’s to make man’s life rather enjoyable by supplying human wants and needs, be it in the form of money, leisure hours, finished products, emotional satisfaction etc in the most efficient way.

It is thus conclusive that what management is all about is ‘human satisfaction’

Human satisfaction cannot be expected to descend on people, it is only possible when certain factors or elements are identified and judiciously utilized.

These elements includes objectives, ideas and resources.

Whether mentioned or not, it must be realized that human beings (people) constitute the central core of this concept which George Terry simply refers to as PIRO (People, Ideas, Resources and Objectives).

The Manager has to work with these factors the most important of which is people. Thus, the manager must be capable of cultivating a conceptual thinking.

He has to determine the objectives to be met, answer the question f=of what resources to allocate, rank matters in terms of priorities, determine sequences and timing of activities, analyze problems and pose alternative solutions.

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Definition of Management

Various school of thoughts have variously defined management at various times.

Each intended meaning will depend on the usage, the level of understanding, the beliefs and the viewpoints of the individual.

Even in developing nations, the word ‘management’ is so loosely used that one must readily agree that there is no single universally acceptable meaning for it.

For example, in Nigeria, if you meet a friend in the street, and after exchanging greetings, happen to ask him ‘How are you’?

You would not be surprised to hear him/her answer “I deh manage” This seems another way of saying ‘Things are alright’.

This however, is not to conclude that management has lost its meaning but rather to highlight the importance of the word.

A more logical meaning of management may refer to a special field of learning – a discipline.

In schools, colleges and universities today, it is not uncommon to hear students say that they are studying or specializing in ‘Management’.

It is equally noteworthy to observe that in very recent years, management is fast acquiring another meaning which relates to standards of carefulness required under certain circumstances.

This idea is eloquently portrayed when we hear such remarks as ‘The patient lost his life because he was mismanaged’. The implication is that, proper care was not taken over the patient.

All the above cases illustrate the fact that the word ‘Management’ is plagued with different meaning.

There is, of course occasional argument that management is not something that can be taught or learned within the walls of a university.

Management Concepts and Skills

‘Managers are born and not made’ is a common quotation that has gained grounds over the years.

This emphasized the importance of experience and ability to make on-the-spot decisions based on intuition and common sense over formal theoretical learning.

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The claim is that, managers are men of action, and not of thought or philosophy.

Management, it is said is an art and not science. There are however, fundamental truths in all these statements.

But these truths do not call for undue exaggeration.

Yes! Management cannot be totally learned from books in the classroom.

Experience is a necessary ingredient. Behind every art, there must be some application of science.

Therefore, for management to succeed, a mixture of science is indispensable. In this context, it is obvious that formal training in management must not be disregarded.

Experience has shown a lot of difference between ‘trained managers’ and the ‘unpolished self-made managers’

With formal training comes the benefit of ‘accumulated knowledge, interpreted experience and the application of research findings’ thus enabling the manager to minimize his risks and uncertainty, and reduce his errors of judgement.

To serve our purpose in this work, we shall see management and define it as a process of getting things done by using a group of people to achieve a set objective.

It is, therefore, the process by which people (managers) ‘create, direct, maintain and operate purposive organizations through systematic, co-operate human effort’ – Darlton E. Mc Farland: Management: Principles and Practice (page 6)

As a process, management therefore implies many thing. It is dynamic thus defying rigid formula and orthodoxy.

It denotes activity that continues through varying spans of time; changes are likely to invading organizational life since the process is on-going.

LAstly, it implies that the manager may be able to control and direct the nature and rate of change within the organization up to a certain extent.

The management process is predicted on the various interactions of people that make up the organization.

Management Skills

Those who hold managerial positions at various levels are responsible for directing, influencing, motivating, guiding and controlling the performance of the subordinates as they work together towards achieving the corporate objective.

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This means that the managerial behaviour should be goal-centered.

The process begins with problem definition and recognition which is referred to as Perception. This is followed by plan development.

Action will follow the plan, and results will be checked against the plan by means of a feed-back loop.

It is this checking that will dictate and justify further planning and/or changes.

Management involves many inter-relationships of people, hence the process is largely social in nature. This is not to say that non-human elements are not important.

Examples of this nature include financial assets, machinery, physical equipment, technology, etc.

It is the human effort (Management) that harnesses the non-human resources into production and thus supplies people with the necessities of life.

We need not forget that management process equally involves formulating and solving problems.

At one time, management must prevent certain problem. At another, it must cause certain problems to occur at the right time and place.

And yet in a third instance management must try to solve critical problems irrespective of their sources.

This analysis in effect points to one important fact, that the prices of management is not really as easy as depicted. By and large, it is absolutely inconceivable to even think of the process of Management that is devoid of social nature since all management ultimately functions through people.

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