6.2 What Do Managers Do?

You’ll accomplish this task through management: the process of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. A plan enables you to take your business concept beyond the idea stage. It does not, however, get the work done. You have to organize things if you want your plan to become a reality. You have to put people and other resources in place to make things happen. And because your note-taking venture is supposed to be better off with you in charge, you need to be a leader who can motivate your people to do well. Finally, to know whether things are in fact going well, you’ll have to control your operations—that is, measure the results and compare them with the results that you laid out in your plan. Figure 6.3: The Role of Planning gives you a good idea of the interrelationship between planning and the other functions that managers perform.

Nine red and blue cogs, all labeled with different business stakeholders. Listed from top to bottom: owners, employees, service users, managers, funders, shareholders, suppliers, policy makers, and customers.
Figure 6.3: The Role of Planning

Functions of Management

If you visit any small or large company, not-for-profit organization, or government agency, you’ll find managers doing the same things you’d be doing to run your note-taking business—planning, organizing, directing, and controlling. In the rest of the chapter, we’ll look at these four interrelated functions in detail.

Key Takeaways

  • Managers plan, organize, direct, and control resources to achieve specific goals.
  • In planning, they set goals and determine the best way to achieve them.
  • Organizing means allocating resources (people, equipment, and money) to carry out the company’s plans.
  • Directing is the process of providing focus for employees and motivating them to achieve organizational goals.
  • Controlling involves comparing actual to expected performance and taking corrective action when necessary.

Exercise

Consider the things that the principal of your old high school had to do to ensure that the school met the needs of its students. Identify these activities and group them by the four functions of management: planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.

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Foundations of Business by Manika Avasthi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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