Management is not the same as what managers do.

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Management is described as the process of managing or being managed and is defined as 'the professional administration of business concerns'. A manager is a person regarded in terms of having skills in management and is defined as 'a person controlling or administering a business or part of a business'.

This essay will aim to look at the meaning of management, the different styles and systems of management in the workplace. I will also consider what managers do (the work of a manager) their tasks and responsibilities. The effectiveness of managers and its effect on organisational performance will also be considered.

Management is a generic term that is used by many to describe the work of a manager. To find an agreeable definition of management is difficult. Therefore it is best to analyse the common activities of management.

Management is found in all organisational departments where authority is directed over activities, tasks or people. Whenever an activity is undertaken in order to achieve the objectives of an organisation it needs to be overseen and directed, someone must take responsibility for the decisions made. This is where management as a process comes into place. One of the earliest and most quoted analyses of management is that of Henri Fayol . Although later studies analysed management, there is no significant difference from Fayol's description of the managerial process.

Fig. 1

Planning: Deciding what needs to be achieved and developing a plan of action.

Organising: Building the structure to carry out activities.

Command: Getting the best out of staff for the organisation.

Co-ordination: Linking all activities for success.

Control: Verifying that everything occurs in accordance with plans.

Another analysis by E. Brech defines management as:

'A social process entailing responsibility for the effective and economical planning and regulation of the operations of an enterprise, in fulfilment of given purposes or tasks, such responsibility involving: judgement and decision in determining plans and in using data to control performance and progress against plans; the guidance, integration, motivation and supervision of the personnel composing the enterprise and carrying out its operations.'

It is apparent that the basic principles of management are similar despite varying analysis from different theorists. Drucker argues that this process or the individual tasks that are carried out will depend on the skill and experience of the manager.

There are many different ways of incorporating management into an organisation. Each organisation will have a different management structure which best fits the people, objectives and the type of work they do. Management will be dispersed within the organisation. The board of directors, chief executive, accounts manager, head of marketing will all differ in hierarchy but have managerial specialisms.

Fig. 2

As demonstrated in Figure 2, we can see management is subject to the structure of the organisation.

Organisations have top, middle and bottom administration. Departments will have a manager or management team for its role in the business (see Fig. 2, Sales Department). There is also a line of responsibility where it is common for all staff to have line managers. This type of accountability is reflected throughout the organisation and will relate directly to the organisation's type of culture and structure.

As manager's responsibility is to plan, organise, direct and control, how do they go about this and what is included in these processes?

Managers need to have sound judgement and be able to deal with subordinate staff in a supportive manner. They also need to be competent in the key elements of management i.e. decision making, organising, monitoring and controlling.

In 'Management and Organisational Behaviour' , it is outlined that a manager must have technical competence, social and human skills and conceptual ability.

Whatever the job title or description it is essential to have key attributes for managing. To illustrate, a personnel managers role might be to develop and maintain a level of morale and human relationships which evokes willing and full co-operation of all persons in the organisation in order to attain optimum operational effectiveness. Whereas a line manager or manager for a team will have different objectives such as to optimise the efficiency and productivity with a view to achieving the aim of the organisation. Although the two managers view points, responsibilities and tasks differ they will display very key skills and attributes that are necessary to be a manager.

Most managers' tasks include:

Monitoring staff

Negotiation both internally and externally of the organisation

Problem solving and tackling issues

Allocating resources

Liaison with other departments or businesses

Human resource management

It is necessary for managers to take responsibility and do tasks that ensure the daily operations of the business are accomplished, in addition, that the objectives of the organisation are reached. The personal judgement of managers'come to the fore as they prioritise the tasks they have to attend to. Although their responsibilities of management may be quite clear, managers often get caught up in issues that are unimportant and are thus subject to not being able to complete tasks as they are interrupted by things that may arise and which take precedence. Certainly in public sector organisations with a bureaucratic structure there is a need to follow procedure which can create backlogs and sway focus for tasks.

The only way to truly understand what a manager or various managers do is to study their work using a diary. However R. Stewart in 'Managers and their jobs' identifies five types of manager:

The Emissaries: Spend most time dealing with those outside the organisation-Sales managers.

The Writers: Spend most time by themselves-Accountants.

The Discussers: Spend time with colleagues and other people-General managers.

The Trouble shooters: Spend time coping with crises-Personnel managers.

The Committee men: Time spent in committee meetings-Production managers.

These types of managers are likely to be found in different departments and their tasks reflect the roles they have within the organisation.

What type of managers exist?

Some managers have a role that is set out, their objectives clear and their job standardised to some degree. Other managers have a role which is constantly changing since they react to unpredictable events. The Manager will then use their experience and judgement to find a solution to the situation. Other managers have a function to be creative in their field where they set up new strategies and implement action plans. They play a major part in seeking improvements.

Managers operate in several ways:

Hub: The job is mostly networking and establishing relationships with a wide variety of people.

Peer dependent: Have to get co-operation with those in the organisation over whom they have no authority.

People management: Responsibility for a unit or self contained section.

Solo: High proportion of time spent in meting deadlines alone with few subordinates.

There are many indicators that point to managers in charge of subordinates being heavily involved in people management. By making sure that those delegated a responsibility are carrying out the job at hand. People management is very important, as managers that delegate work need to motivate and monitor subordinates to achieve organisational aims.

How do we measure how effective a manager is?

Some indicators are staff turnover, sickness and timekeeping. Most managers are judged on meeting important deadlines, level of complaints, quality of work/product, budgetary control limits and productivity. Managerial effectiveness is difficult to measure as everyone's situation is different and effectiveness is subjective. In the book 'Managerial Effectiveness', the author Reddin points out that 'managerial effectiveness has to be defined in terms of output rather than input, by what a manager achieves rather than by what he does'.

Managers can be forced to deal with subordinates, instead of concentrating on the objectives of the organisation e.g. settling squabbles among staff. Some managers are relatively ineffective in management but do a good job in the appearance of a manager and a manager who is deemed effective is not always successful. There are notable differences in how effective managers and successful managers work. Effective managers devote more time to human resource management, delegating work and ensuring staff meet the set tasks. Successful manager's who progress in their careers, spend most of their time networking. They have diverse organisational relationships and establish relationships with a wide variety of people outside the organisation thus they have internal as well as external contacts which they use to attain career goals. In contrast, an effective manager would use these contacts to reach the organisations objectives.

It is clear that an effective manager must display expertise in the following:





How well these are completed can determine how good a manager is.

As a result a manager's effectiveness should be considered in terms of measuring the results that the manager is intended to achieve. It is pointless to look at the success of a manager using performance factors that do not relate to the role they are doing.

Looking at the effectiveness of managers also raises some issues. Managers are more or less isolated when setting rules and delegating responsibility. So who manages managers? The manager may make poor decisions, pay little attention to inherent problems and handle situations poorly. On most occasions there is nobody to address this or relieve the manager of duties. Poor decisions may be made on the basis of information gathered by subordinates which is sub-standard. Managers may find that tasks are really only completed when they do it themselves. How do you motivate a manager? Bad management can occur when a manager is not motivated, is suffering from stress, has a heavy workload or does not think the job they are performing is reflected in their salary. It is apparent that trust and responsibility is put on the shoulders of a manager to satisfy the requirements of the organisation.


Management is a term that is subject to interpretation. Different organisations cultivate varying management styles as a result of its structure, culture, leadership and so on. As a result the jobs of individual managers differ widely.

It is a process with elements like setting objectives, planning, organising, directing and controlling and achieving these is not dependent on the ability to falsify performance but demonstrated in the obtaining organisational objectives. This is completed through the ability to manage interpersonal relationships as well as the efficient allocating and monitoring work.

Management in organisations face general issues like delegating work and human resource management. The ability to balance these against attaining organisational objectives is the basis for solid management skills. On this, we have evaluated whether the key elements of management are reflected in the actual job a manager does.

We are evaluating whether the key elements of management are reflected in the actual job a manager does.

I think the work of a manager can be determined as management. I believe that the various tasks of a manager can be categorised into Fayol's five elements of management. On the surface the work of a manager may not relate to 'management' or their role in the organisation, but as the manager is there to control and maintain goals as long as the manager can justify his/her actions then it can be seen as management. How the manager responds to issues is sometimes down to personal judgement. If the manager has education and training then any decision that is made is likely to have been thoroughly assessed and evaluated using a 'management' thought process.


Fayol, H. General and Industrial Management, Pitman. (1949).

Brech, E. F. L. Principles and practice of Management, Third edition, Longman (1975), p. 19.

Drucker,P. F. People and Performance, Heinemann (1977), p 28.

Hersey, P. & Blanchard, K. Management and Organisational Behaviour (1984).

Stewart, R. Managers and their jobs, Macmillan (1967).

Hales, C. Managing Through Organisations (2000).

Lecture notes and class handouts on The Nature Of Management.