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By peter gachui

Who is a manager and what is management environment?

Organizations are of different types and we all belong to one form of organization or the other. We are members of a family, church, club, society, fellowship, school, college, etc. These organizations are different in many ways for instance in size, structure, membership and ownership.

That notwithstanding, these organizations has certain things in common.

These include:

  • They must have a goal or purpose.
  • Have leaders or managers who will help the organization to achieve its goals.
  • Have program and method that will be used to achieve the goals.
  • Have plans that are developed to ensure the effectiveness of the goals.

The study of management concerns itself with the study of the work of managers and their performance. It examines how organizations are managed to ensure that their goals are achieved.

Defining management

Management has been defined in a number of ways. Different authors have used different perspectives to define management owing to its complex nature. Nevertheless, none of these definitions has been universally accepted as the right one.

So all these definitions are seen as working definitions. One of the simplest definitions of management was developed by Mary Parker Follet. In her definition, she looked at management as "the art of getting things done through people." In other words, managers can only achieve the goals of their organizations through the people in those organizations. They arrange the tasks and allocate duties so that the goals of the organization can be achieved.

Other definitions of management suggest that it's the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the efforts of organizational members in order to use all the resources of the organization to achieve organizational goals.

Hence management can be seen as a systematic way of coordinating the activities of the organizational members with the aim of utilizing all the resources of the organization to achieve the goals of the organization.

Another definition of management looks at management as the process of grouping organizational material and human resource activities together and then directing them to use organizational resources efficiently and effectively so as to achieve the organizational and individual goals.

Management work therefore is complex in nature and requires interpersonal skills to get people involved. Managers perform varied activities which may be done concurrently or may need to be changed frequently.

Types of Managers

Managers are classified by their level in the organization and by their functional areas. There are different types of managers who perform various tasks and have different responsibilities and authority based on these classifications.

Management based on levels

Using this classification, three types of managers have been identified.

a) First Line Managers

First line managers are the mangers who work directly with operating employees. They direct and supervise the activities of these employees. First line Managers is the lowest management level in any organization.

b) Middle Managers

These are the managers who work under the top managers implementing the strategies from the top while supervising the activities of the first line managers. They include managers such as the divisional managers, plant managers and operational.

c) Top Managers

Top managers are the managers who develop the strategies for the entire organization. They normally represent the organization to the external world for example to the government, community and others outside the organization. They bare different titles depending on the organization structure. Some are called company secretary, chief executive officer, company president, etc.

Management by functional areas

The second classification of managers is in terms of their functional areas. These include functional areas such as finance, operations, marketing, human resources, production, etc.

a) Marketing

Marketing managers oversee the marketing function of the organization. They are responsible for advising on market segmentation and targeting, consumer trends and wants, pricing, product development, promoting and distributing the firm's products and services. They normally conduct marketing research to gather the relevant marketing information.

b) Operations

They are responsible for all operations in the organization ranging from product development, production control, and inventory control and plant layout.

c) Finance Managers

Financial managers superintend all monetary activities in the organization. They plan and implement the budget, manage investment and account for all the financial assets of the firm. They are responsible for providing and maintaining financial information in the organization.

d) Human Resource Managers

These are the managers whose responsibility is to plan, recruit and maintain adequate human resources in the organization. They assess future human resource needs, conduct performance appraisal and ensure that the various legal requirements are adhered to.

Management functions

Management functions are the diverse activities executed by managers in realization of their managerial tasks. They mostly fall into any of the following functions.

a) Planning

This is the art of determining the organizational goals and developing the best strategies for achieving those goals. Plans are instrumental in:

  1. Obtaining and committing the resources required to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization.
  2. Monitoring of progress towards the achievement of goals and objectives.
  3. Taking corrective action in case of deviation from the plans in the process of achieving goals and objectives.

b) Leading

The leading function helps the managers to give direction and guidance towards the achievement of the organizational goals. Managers fulfil this function through the provision of the right leadership, motivation and effective communication to all its stakeholders.

c) Organizing

This is a very important function of management. It puts structure to the organization, developing jobs and roles and assigning responsibility and authority to various positions in the organization. It answers questions such as what are the jobs to be done, who is to do these jobs, how are these jobs to be grouped and how many people are to do the jobs? It also assigns authority to each manager in order to supervise the activities of the employees under him.

d) Controling

Controlling function is a managerial function that monitors the performance of the organization in relation to the achievement of set goals and objectives. The function determines the measurement tools to be used as well as corrective actions to be taken in case of deviation from the plans.

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