Four functions of management

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Four Functions of Management

Management is defined as the process of setting and achieving goals through the execution of four basic management functions that use human, financial, material, and informational resources. (Straub, 1994) The four functions are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

I will elaborate on these functions independently, but in reality they are inseparable and interdependent. A manager can't say, "I'm going to plan in the morning, direct before lunch, organize between 1 and 2 p.m., and control from 2:30 p.m. until the end of the day." A manager must coordinate these functions. Implementing plans requires structuring groups (organizing). Subordinates must be guided to complete the plan (directing), and the plan's progress must be monitored (controlling).


Planning is the first management function both because it lays the groundwork for all other functions and because it is the first step taken when performing the other functions. Planning is the management function that involves identifying goals and alternative ways of achieving them.

(Straub, 1994) It maps out courses of action that will commit individuals, departments, and the entire organization for days, months, and years to come.

In my organization, CIGNA, is see planning at the corporate level, department level and individual level. Corporately each year we plan to achieve certain business goals, implement new technologies, and plan growth. Departmentally the goals are usually much in line with the corporate goals, but scaled down to the scale that our department will be implementing the corporate plans. Individually each employee plans how within their own function they will contribute to the implementation of the departmental plans.


Organizing is the management function concerned with assembling and allocating the resources necessary to achieve the organization's objectives, establishing the authority relationships of the organization, and creating the organizational structure. (Straub, 1994) Planning has...