A dynamic process, that helps to get the things done, through and with the efforts of people.
However this definition suffers from the test of inadequacy. In this competitive world, management as a process helps in optimizing scarce resources, i.e., all the inputs, to achieve the intended goals and objectives of the organizations.
Today, management efficiency distinguishes one organization from another as it adds to the competitive strength of the latter. Management has been defined by different authorities differently; but irrespective of differences in approaches and environment, management process is essentially the same in all organized activities and at all levels in an organization.
Meaning and Process:
Before going into the details, let us first review the definitions of management given by different experts in the field. Here the definitions are given chronologically and are subsequently categorized into different approaches.
F.W. Taylor, the father of scientific management, defined management as ‘the art of knowing what you want to do in the best and cheapest way.’ According to R.C. Davis, ‘Management is the function of executive leadership anywhere.’
On the other hand, E.F.L. Brech, opined ‘Management is concerned with seeing that the job gets done; its tasks all centred on planning and guiding the operations that are going on in the enterprise.’
Peter Drucker (1954) in an attempt to narrow the debate, defined management as, ‘It is a multi-purpose organ that manages a business and manages managers and manages worker and work.’
According to William Spriegel, ‘Management is that function of ah enterprise which concerns itself with the direction and control of various activities to attain the business objectives. Management is essentially an executive function; it deals particularly with the active direction of the human effort’.
Mary Cushing Niles said that ‘Good management, or scientific management, achieves a social objective with the best use of human and material energy and time and with satisfaction for the participants and the public.’ Reinforcing this logic further, Lawrence A. Apply also defined management as ‘the development of people and not the direction of things … Management is personnel administration.’
According to Stanley Vance, ‘Management is simply the process of decision making and control over action of human beings for the express purpose of attaining pre-determined goals.’ Harold Koontz (1961) defined management as ‘the art of getting things done through and with people in formally organized groups.
It is the art of creating the environment in which people can perform and individuals could cooperate towards attaining of group goals. It is the art of removing blocks to such performance, a way of optimizing efficiency in reaching goals.’
John F. Mee defined management as ‘… the art of securing maximum results with a minimum of effort so as to secure maximum prosperity and happiness for both employer and employee and give the public the best possible service.’
James L. Lundy opined that ‘Management is principally the task of planning, coordinating, motivating and controlling the efforts of others towards a specific objective.’ Prof. A. Dasgupta (1969), the father of Indian Management Education, defined management as ‘the creation and control of technological and human environment of an organization in which human skill and capacities of individuals and groups find full scope for their effective use in order to accomplish the objectives for which an enterprise has been set up.
It is involved in the relationships of the individual, group, the organization and the environment.’ Dalton E. McFarland defined management ‘… as that process by which managers create, direct, maintain, and operate purposive organizations through systematic, coordinated, cooperative human effort.’
According to Theo Haimann and William G. Scott, ‘Management is a social and technical process which utilizes resources, influences human action and facilitates changes in order to accomplish organization goals.’ Joseph Massie (1973) defined management as ‘… the process by which a cooperative group directs action towards common goals.’
Robert L. Trewatha and M. Gene Newport defined management as “… the process of planning, organizing, actuating, and controlling an organization’s operations in order to achieve a coordination of the human and material resources essential in the effective and efficient attainment of objectives.’
Howard M. Carlisle defined management as ‘… the process by which the elements of a group are integrated, coordinated, and/or utilized so as to effectively and efficiently achieve organizational objective.’
According to George R. Terry, Management is a distinct process consisting of planning, organizing, actuating, and controlling, performed to determine and accomplish the objectives by the use of people and resources.’
Reviewing the definitions, it can be observed that management basically converges on accomplishing goals and objectives through the efforts of people. Further reviewing reveals that the definition of management has following different dimensions
(a) Productivity Orientation:
Frederick Winslow Taylor and John F. Mee have pioneered this concept. Their definitions are primarily concerned with increased productivity.
(b) Human Relations’ Orientation:
This concept was pioneered by Lawrence A. Appley and Harold Knootz. Their definition of management primarily lays emphasis on people.
(C) ‘Decision-Making’ Orientation:
Definitions under this category focus on decision making as primary management function. Ross Moore and Stanley Vance pioneered this concept.
(d) Leadership Orientation:
Leadership as essence of management has been highlighted by the proponents of this concept. Donald J. Clough and Ralph C. Davis are two pioneers, who relate management with leadership.
(e) Process Orientation:
Management as a process has been defined by numerous authors like James L. Lundy, Dalton, E. McFarland, Howard, M. Carlisle, F.E.L. Brech, Robert L. Trewatha, M. Gene Newport and George R. Terry.
Till now, we have only discussed about different definitions and the orientation of management. After reviewing the various definitions provided by various experts, we can decide upon one appropriate definition of management in order to avoid any kind of confusion.
It can be said that management is optimization of constraining resources to achieve some intended goals. “Resources’ is a broad term and it encompasses everything that we require as inputs (including knowledge and information inputs). Resources are not available in abundance.
There always exist resource constraints. Every organization through its efficient management tries to achieve its charted goals and objectives by proper allocation of resources. Goals and objectives emanate from the strategic plan of an organization, which has been discussed in the chapter on Planning.