Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

3.3. Implement control measures with individuals.

ryanrori January 11, 2021

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Although management has been part of human existence since time immemorial, it has only been studied as a subject for the past century.  When thinking back to the building of the Great Wall of China, the pyramids in Egypt and the Parthenon in Athens, it is obvious that leadership and management must have played an important role in the creation of these ancient structures.  Without leaders who could plan and execute certain tasks, take decisions and give instructions, these wonders of the ancient world would not have existed today.

The management tasks can be divided into five typical management tasks which any manager must fulfil.  They are:

  1. Planning                               :  This includes the ability to develop the vision and mission, aims and objectives and to make provision for future events and actions in a meaningful way.
  2. Organising                           :  This includes aspects concerned with the execution of an activity or task such as the acquiring of resources and the allocation and use of resources, for example people, equipment and raw materials.
  3. Leading and Leadership    :  This entails the ability to get co-workers to do their best in the execution of their jobs.  Here we include daily or routine tasks as well as creative and innovative tasks which can make the enterprise more competitive.
  4. Coordination                        :  This entails management efforts to ensure greater co-operation and liaison between people and divisions.
  5. Control                                  :  This is essential to ensure that quality standards are maintained and that the necessary adjustments are made in time.

Although the five management tasks are indicated separately above, they are in fact part of a total management process.  It may actually quite difficult, when viewing a manager’s job, to find out what he/she is doing at a specific moment.  For example is he/she busy planning, organising, leading co-ordinating or controlling?  The management tasks are therefore to a large extent interwoven in the management process and it must be emphasised that all five management tasks are of equal importance.


The importance of control

Although this management task is often seen in a negative light because it reminds people of limitations, coercion, discipline and manipulation, it is nevertheless very necessary.  Without control it would not be possible to effectively complete the management process because very few plans run exactly as expected.  By controlling we ensure that any unfavourable deviations, faults, mistakes and non-compliance with standards are rectified timeously and also prevented in future if at all possible.  There is a close relationship between planning and control, because every plan must make provision for control and by controlling we often start a new plan.

From the above figure the following aspects and steps in the control process can be emphasised:

  • The purpose of the control process should be clear so that what we aim to control, why we control and how regularly we control, will be known.
  • Standards that are set depend on the type of variables that are to be controlled, for example in a production plant the number of products manufactured will be compared to the material inputs, time or a quality standard (for instance litres of beer brewed per ton of malt used).  Cost control will calculate the cost per unit manufactured in order to determine whether the cost does not show an unfavourable deviation.
  • Objective methods of measuring should be used whenever possible (for instance an automatic measuring instrument can be installed in a factory and an alarm can indicate when a deviation occurs.
  • Deviations that fall within predetermined boundaries are acceptable and no corrective action will be taken.
  • Where corrective actions have to be taken, preventative steps should also be taken to ensure that the same deviations don’t occur again.

Guidelines for efficient and effective control

Managers and workers should be fully informed about the purpose and the application of any control system so that misunderstandings and mistrust don’t occur.  It is important to consider the following aspects:

  • The cost effectiveness of controlling a specific task, it should not be more expensive to control than to accept that deviations will occur from time to time.
  • The timeousness of control; by controlling too late much damage may occur
  • The right type of control;  the control should be appropriate to the type of process being controlled (effective).
  • The interlinkage of planning and control; what we originally planned should be controlled in order to ensure that things happen more or less according to plan.
  • Disciplinary steps should be taken when deviations and mistakes are due to workers doing shoddy work or when there are clear indications of dishonesty.

Quite often we find that in controlling too much emphasis is placed on measurable aspects.  The result is usually that employees will try to comply with what is measurable, but will neglect what is not measurable, for example the number of units sold versus good customer service.