What is Management?

Introduction to Project Management
Handout – Management Fundamentals
Page 1 of 3
What is Management?
A manager is someone who works with and through others by coordinating their work activities in
order to accomplish organizational goals.
Management is the process of coordinating work activities so that they are completed efficiently and
effectively with and through other people. Efficiency means getting the most output from the least
amount of inputs, i.e. doing things rights. Effectiveness means completing those work activities that
will help the organization reach its defined goals i.e. doing the right things.
Functions of Management
Managers create and maintain an internal environment, commonly called the organization, so that
others can work efficiently in it. Henry Fayol asserted that a manager's job consists of planning,
organizing, leading, and controlling the resources of the organization. These resources include people,
jobs or positions, technology, facilities and equipment, materials and supplies, information, and
money. Managers work in a dynamic environment and must anticipate and adapt to challenges.
The job of every manager involves what is known as the functions of management: planning,
organizing, leading, and controlling. These functions are goal-directed, interrelated and interdependent.
Planning involves devising a systematic process for attaining the objectives of the organization. It
prepares the organization for the future. Defining goals, establishing strategies for achieving those
goals and developing tactics to integrate and coordinate activities.
Organizing involves arranging the necessary resources to carry out the plan. It is the process of
creating structure, establishing relationships, and allocating resources to accomplish the goals of
the organization. It involves determining what tasks are to be done, who is to do them, how the
tasks are to be grouped, who reports to whom, where decisions are to be made.
Leading involves the guiding, directing, and overseeing of employees to achieve organizational
goals. Influencing individuals or teams as they work, selecting the most effective communication
channels and dealing with employee behaviour issues.
Controlling involves verifying that actual performance matches the plan. This is achieved by
monitoring activities. If performance results do not match the plan, corrective action is taken.
Introduction to Project Management
Handout – Management Fundamentals
Page 2 of 3
Management Levels
The extent to which managers perform the functions outlined above, varies by level in the management
hierarchy. The typical organization may be generally divided into top, middle, and lower managerial
Top managers (Executive/Strategic Managers) spend most of their time on the functions of
planning and organizing. The top manager determines the mission and sets the goals for the
organization. His or her primary function is long-range planning. Top management is
accountable for the overall management and direction of the organization. They may carry such
titles as Prime minister, President, CEO etc.
Middle management implements the objectives and goals set by top management. They
manage the work of lower level managers. They may carry such titles as department head, plant
manager etc.
Line management, the lowest management level, directs the actual work of the organization at
the operating level. They work closely with the employees who produce the actual products or
Key Management Roles
Henry Mintzberg, in a study of managers at work concluded that they performed ten distinct, yet
interrelated, roles which he grouped as: interpersonal, informational, and decisional.
Interpersonal Roles :– Managerial roles that involve dealing with people and other duties that are
ceremonial i.e. being a leader, figurehead and liaison.
Informational Roles :– This involves the receipt, collection and dissemination of information, it
involves being a spokesperson and a monitor.
Decisional Roles :– Managers are decision makers, they are required to make choices. This
involves them being entrepreneurs, disturbance handlers, resource allocator and negotiators.
The informational roles link all managerial work together. The interpersonal roles ensure that
information is provided. The decisional roles make significant use of the information.
Introduction to Project Management
Handout – Management Fundamentals
Page 3 of 3
Key Management Skills
In order to perform the functions of management and to assume multiple roles, managers must be
skilled. Robert Katz identified three managerial skills that are essential to successful management:
technical, human, and conceptual.
Technical skill involves process or technique knowledge and proficiency. Managers use the
processes, techniques and tools of a specific area. This is particularly important for line level
mangers. Technical skill deal with things.
Human skill involves the ability to interact effectively with people. Managers interact and
cooperate with employees. Human skill is concerned with people.
Conceptual skill involves the formulation of ideas. Managers understand abstract relationships,
develop ideas, and solve problems creatively. Conceptual skills have to do with ideas.
A manager's level in the organization determines the relative importance of possessing technical,
human, and conceptual skills. Top level managers need conceptual skills in order to view the
organization as a whole. Conceptual skills are used in planning and dealing with ideas and
abstractions. Technical skills are needed to manage their area of specialty. All levels of management
need human skills in order to interact and communicate with other people successfully.
It is important to note that the work of management does not occur in a vacuum but rather in a dynamic
environment. A system is an environment composed of interrelated components. They may be open or
closed. Open systems interact with their environment whilst Closed systems have limited interaction
with their environment.
Major Management Theories
Modern management practice has its roots in the following three (3) theories
Classical Theories (Bureaucratic, Administrative & Scientific) are concerned with achieving
efficiency in work processes and in the organization structure.
Behavioural/Human Theories are concerned with the people factor in organizations.
Systems and Contingency Theories are concerned with integrating various approaches to the
management environment.
Major Management Theorists
The following theorists have made significant contributions to the study of management:
Robert Katz, Henry Mintzberg, Henry Fayol, Adam Smith, Frederick Taylor, The
Gilbreths, Henry Gantt, Max Weber, Elton Mayo, Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor.