Everything you need to know about the definitions of management. Learn about the various definitions of management given by management thinkers, authors, experts, scholars and gurus.
Additionally, learn about the precise and generalized definitions of management.
Definitions of Management by Management Thinkers, Authors, Experts, Scholars and Gurus
In today’s world of complex and fast internationalization of business, most companies are going global. Unless they are effectively managed, they cannot survive in the fast changing international business environment. Management helps in doing and getting things done through others. It is the process that optimises human, material and financial resources of the organisation for effective achievement of its goals.
The process involves a series of actions (functions) by managers, optimisation refers to getting maximum output (goods and services) out of minimum inputs (men, materials, money, machine etc.) and goals are the results or ends that managers and other stakeholders (shareholders, consumers, suppliers, workers etc.) wish to achieve.
Management is defined by some famous management thinkers as follows:
Terry and Franklin- “Management is a distinct process consisting of activities planning, organising, actuating and controlling, performed to determine and accomplish stated objectives with the use of human beings and other resources.”
Koontz and Weihrich- “Management is the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together in groups, efficiently accomplish selected aims.”
F. W. Taylor- “Management is an art of knowing what is to be done and seeing that it is done in the best possible manner.”
Henri Fayol- “Management is to forecast, to plan, to organise, to command, to co-ordinate and control activities of others.”
Every organisation, at every level, needs management, be it an organisation as small as a family, temple or church or big organisations such as Schools, Colleges, Universities, business houses or even the Government. It is important for both profit and non-profit organisations and also for manufacturing and service organisations.
Labour unions and research organisations, hospitals and armed services are also guided by management principles. All these institutions (whether profit or service) consider management as the effective organ which plans the activities, makes people responsible to carry out those activities, co-ordinates and controls their activities through an effective system of feedback.
Management is the art of getting things done through others. It is an activity which co-ordinates the human and non-human resources (men, material, machines etc.) for achieving the desired results. Although different views are given on the functions of management, the most commonly accepted functions are planning; organising; staffing; leading and controlling.
Though management is essential for both business and non-business organisations, it is primarily linked with business management.
The arguments in support of this fact are given by Peter F. Drucker:
i. Of all the institutions in the modern society, business institutions were the first to be set up and management was meant to be part of these institutions on a continuous basis.
ii. Though management is important for non-profit organisations also, the main criterion for testing the efficiency of management is economic surplus (though not accurate) and this criterion is generally satisfied by business organisations.
iii. With economic reforms initiated in 1991, business has become open in international boundaries and the economy has become free and liberalised. The performance of business houses is bringing the nations together and the focus on business management is, thus, evident.
Peter F. Drucker has very remarkably explained the importance of management in today’s context:
“Without institution there is no management. But without management there is no institution. Management is the specific organ of the modern institution. It is the organ on the performance of which the performance and the survival of the institution depends.”
In light of the above discussion, management can be viewed as a process where human and non-human resources are integrated and directed towards achievement of the organisational goals, whether profit or service, through the functions of management i.e., planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling.
Definitions of Management – By Different Authors
Different authors have defined this management in different ways:
(a) Functional Based Definitions:
“Management is what a manager does”. –– Louis Allen
“To manage is to for caste and plans, to organise, to command, to coordinate and to control”. –– Henry Fayal
These two definitions reveal management as a process and management is what a manager does.
(b) Human Relation Based Definitions:
“Management is the art of directing and inspiring people”. –– J. D. Moony and A. C. Railey
“Management is the art of getting things done through and with people informally organized groups”. –– Harold Koontz
“Management consists of getting things done through others. Manager is one who accomplishes the objectives by directing the efforts of others”. –– George Terry
The above definitions reveal that a manager works with cooperation of others and through formal organization structure.
(c) Productivity Based Definitions:
“Management is the art of knowing what you want to do and to do it in the best and cheapest way”. –– F. W. Taylor
“Management may be defined as the art of securing maximum prosperity 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”. –– John. F. Mee
Thus, the above definitions reveal that management as an art of increasing productivity in an organization.
(d) Leadership and Decision Based Definitions:
“Management means decision-making”. –– Rose More
“Management is the art and science of decision making and leadership”. –– Donald J. Clough
Thus, the above definitions consider the management as an art of making qualitative decisions and leading a people effectively in the formally organized organizations.
(e) Integration Concept Based Definitions:
“Management is the force that integrates man and physical plant into an effective operating unit”. –– Keith and Gubellini
The above definition views the management as the co ordinations of human and material resources.
Thus, from the above definitions it is clear that management has been defined in different senses emphasizing different aspects of management.
Definition of Management – According to E.F.L Breech, P. Drucker, Koontz and O’Donnel, Kimball and Kimball, Keith and Gubelline, Oliver Sheldon, Appley L and Hery Fayol
It is very difficult to give a precise meaning of the term ‘Management’. The concept of management is as old as the human race itself. Management is not only an essential element of organised society, but also an integral part of life. But what is management? How do we define it? How do we differentiate between good management and bad management? In the management literature, we find a large number of definitions of management given by different authors.
(1) According to E.F.L. Breech – “Management may be defined as a social process entailing responsibility for the effective or efficient planning and regulation of the operations of an enterprise,” such responsibility involving (a) the installation and maintenance of proper procedures to ensure adherence to plans, and (b) guidance, integration and supervision of the personnel comprising the enterprise and carrying out its operation.”
(2) P. Drucker in his book – “The Practice of Management” has defined “Management is a multi-purpose organ that manages a business, manages a manager and manages workers and work”.
Drucker stresses three jobs of management – (i) Managing a business; (ii) Managing a manager; and (iii) Managing workers and work. Even if one is omitted, we would not have management anymore and we also would not have a business enterprise or an industrial society.
As per the opinion of Sri P. Drucker it requires the manager to balance and harmonise three major functions of the business enterprise. Hence, a manager is a dynamic and life-giving element in every business. Without efficient management we cannot secure best allocation and utilisation of human, material and financial resources.
(3) According to Koontz and O’Donnell – “Management has been defined as the creation and maintenance of internal environment in an enterprise where individuals working together in groups, can perform efficiency towards the attainment of group goals”.
According to the definition managing is an art of creating favourable performance environment, enabling the group to attain stated objectives and management is the body of organised knowledge, i.e., Science which underlines the Art. The definition clearly indicates that effective management is always contingency or situational management.
Creation of favourable managerial environment for joint efforts of people working in an organisation in order to accomplish planned objectives, demands intelligent application of management knowledge to numerous and varied practical problems. So that we can have the best result under the given situation or realities.
(4) “Management man be defined as the art of applying the economic principles that underline the control of men and materials in the enterprise under consideration”. – Kimball and Kimball
(5) “Management in the force that integrates men and physical plant into an effective operating unit”. – Keith and Gubelline
(6) “The term management in commonly used to cover the formation of policy, its execution, the designing of the organisation and its employment.” – Oliver Sheldon
(7) As Appley L. in his book has said—”Management is the attainment of pre- established goals by the direction of human performance along pre-established lines. It is the management of people and not the direction of things.”
According to Appley L. management is essentially personnel management. We do not build automobiles, airplanes, refrigerators, radios etc. we build men and women and these human resources build products. Human resources are our greatest assets. They have unlimited potential. Hence, it is but natural that management must give special attention to the development of human resources.
(8) Quoting from American Management Association – “Management is guiding human and physical resources into dynamic organisation units which attain their objectives to the satisfaction of those served and with a high degree of morale and sense of attainment on the part of those rendering service”.
(9) Further, taking from the book “Principles of Industrial Organisation” written by Kimball and Kimball we may conclude that – “Management embraces all duties and functions that pertain to the initiation of the enterprise, its financing the establishment of all major policies, the provision of all necessary equipment, the outlining of the general form of organisation under which the enterprise is to operate, and the selection of the principal officers. The principal official primarily responsible to the controlling board is commonly referred to as General Manager.”
(10) But it is Henri Fayol, the father of modern management thought, who gives a vivid and functional description of management. Management according to him is “to forecast and plan, to organise, to command, to co-ordinate and to control.” It attempts to describe management in terms of what a manager does and not what management is?
Management has been defined as the guidance, leadership and control of the efforts of a group of people toward some common objective. This concept of management points out the purpose or function of management but it tells us little about the nature of management processes, that is, how the manager achieves the results.
One way to analyse management is to think in terms of what a manager does. Using this approach, we can arrive at the management process which describes the work of any manager. The management work can be divided into a few basic functions of management viz. (1) Planning, (2) Organising, (3) Leading, (4) Controlling. Planning is the determination of objectives and formulation of plans, strategies, programmes, policies, procedures and standards needed to achieve the desired organisation objectives.
To implement the plans there must be some organisation structure. The human and material resources or inputs are allocated to the various units and relationships are established among the sub-units. Organising is the second function of manager. Organising is the process of developing a structure among people, functions, and physical facilities to execute the plans and achieve stated objectives.
The third function of a manager is that of leading stimulating and motivating people in the organisation to undertake willingly the desired actions as per predetermined plans and objectives. Motivation is an integral part of leadership to assure desired results.
The fourth and final function of management is that of controlling to assure directed action as per plans and objectives. Controlling incorporates the establishment of standards, measurements and comparison of actual results against the standard, and necessary corrective action to remove deviations from the plan.
Management is a universal process in all organised social and economic activities. It is not merely restricted to factory, shop or office. It is an operative force in all complex organisations trying to achieve some stated objectives. Management is necessary for a business firm, government enterprises, education and health services, military organisations, trade associations and so on.
Hence, management skills are transferable and a manager can successfully apply his knowledge and skill in a wide variety of enterprises. Of course, situational factors will influence the suitable combination of managerial skills.
Experts agree that management is a distinct type of activity primarily responsible to get things done through other people, and it is different from all other types of human activities. Similarly, they also agree that all managerial functions are universal and all managers in any field of human efforts perform those typical managerial functions irrespective of what they are managing. However, we do not have unified views of authorities on what are the managerial functions and what is management precisely.
The difference of opinion and approach are reflected in the following often quoted definitions of management:
“Management is knowing exactly what you want men to do, and then seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way.” –– F. W. Taylor. This definition deals with plant management basically.
“To manage is to forecast, to plan, to organise, to command, to co-ordinate and control.” –– Henry Fayol. It attempts to describe management in terms of what a manager does, and not what management is.
“Management is social process entailing responsibility for the effective and economical planning and regulation of the operations of an enterprise, in the fulfilment of a given purpose or task, such responsibility involving- (a) judgment and decision in determining plans, and the development of procedures to assist control or performance and progress against plans, and (b) the guidance, integration, motivation and supervision of the personnel composing the enterprise, and carrying out its operations.”–– Brech.
The definition of Brech recognises management as a general term for the total process of executive control in industry and commerce. Brech also points out the role of management as a social process essentially involving management of people and not merely the management of material resources.
“Management is a multi-purpose organ that manages a business, manages manager, and manages workers and work.” –– P. Drucker.
Drucker stresses three jobs of management:
(i) Managing a business;
(ii) Managing a manager; and
(iii) Managing workers and work.
Even if one is omitted, we would not have management anymore and we also would not have a business enterprise or an industrial society. According to P. Drucker, it requires the manager to balance and harmonise three major functions of the business enterprise. Hence, a manager is a dynamic and life-giving element in every business. Without efficient management we cannot secure best allocation and utilisation of human, material and financial resources.
“Management is the development of people and not the direction of things.”–– Appley L.
According to Appley L., management is essentially personnel management. We do not build automobiles, airplanes, refrigerators, radios, etc. We build men and women and these human resources build products. Human resources are our greatest assets. They have unlimited potential. Hence, it is but natural that management must give special attention to the development of human resources.
“Management is principally a task of planning, co-ordinating, motivating and controlling the efforts of others towards a specific objective”. –– J. Lundy. This definition covers the three major functions of management, viz planning, implementing and controlling. It points out management is what management does, i.e., planning, executing and controlling group activities.
“Management is decision-making.” Decisions are necessary in all functional areas of business, e.g., production, marketing, finance and administration. Manager by profession is decision-maker. All managerial functions are discharged through decision-making. All human behaviour involves the problem cl choice. The process of making selection is termed as decision-making.
We have two distinct levels of activity in management- co-ordination and supervision. The coordinative function is that of decision-making the process of selecting an action from alternative courses of action. Management in the co-ordination sense is the central concept of management theory.
Decision-making is the core of the process of management. In short, decision-making pervades all managerial functions. This definition ignores the function of supervision and leadership.
“Managing is defined as the creation and maintenance of an internal environment in an enterprise where individuals, working together in groups, can perform efficiently effectively towards the attainment of group goals.” –– Koontz and O’Donell.
According to this definition managing is an art of creating favourable performance environment enabling the group to attain stated objectives and management is the body of organised knowledge, i.e. science which underlies the art.
The definition clearly indicates that effective management is always contingency, or situational, management. Creation of favourable managerial environment for joint efforts of people working in an organisation in order to accomplish planned objectives demands intelligent application of management knowledge to numerous and varied practical problems so that we can have the best results under the given situation or realities.
“Management is a distinct ongoing process of allocating inputs of an organisation (human and economic resources) by typical managerial functions (planning, organising, leading and controlling) for the purpose of achieving stated objectives, viz., output of goods and services desired by its customers (environment). In the process, work is performed with and through personnel of the organisation in an ever-changing business environment.”
This definition includes principal ideas of any school of management thought:
1. Functional school sees management as a process of planning, organising, and controlling.
2. Behavioural school is not interested in the process only but rather in the way the process affects the organisation, i.e., with and through personnel or human resources.
3. Quantitative school wants to improve the quality of decision-making, i.e. fulfilling the stated objectives of the enterprise.
4. Systems approach concentrates on the entire organisation, i.e. inputs-process-outputs. It points out interlocked management functions as well as interlocked enterprise functions.
5. Contingency approach emphasises dynamic nature of management process in an ever-changing business environment.
Precise Definition of Management:
Let us formulate a precise definition of management. It should be the basis of our study of the principles of management. The substance of management should be identified as a process. A process is something that a person does. A process also implies ongoing and unceasing cyclical operations.
In management we have planning-action-control cycle. Our definition must incorporate this management cycle. A process indicates dynamic nature of management. It also implies that change is a constant reality of organisational life and management is the management of change.
Lastly, management is regarded as a social process because it is directly concerned with management of human resources in order to secure cooperation and team work from the people in their performance.
There are twin purposes of the management process:
(1) Maximum productivity or profitability and
(2) Maximum human welfare and satisfaction.
There are three parts to a definition of management as a process: first the co-ordination of resources, second the performance of managerial functions as a means of achieving co-ordination; and the third establishing the objective or purpose of management process, i.e. it must be purposeful managerial activity.
Let us describe each part separately:
1. Management is Co-Ordination:
The manager of an enterprise must effectively co-ordinate all activities and resources of the organisation, namely, men, machines, materials and money -the four M’s of management. It is a group process. Co-ordination assumes unique status under the systems approach to management and organisation.
2. Management is an Activity or an Ongoing Process:
Manager achieves proper co-ordination of resources by means of the managerial functions of planning, organising, staffing, leading (or directing and motivating) and controlling.
3. Management is a Purposive Process:
It is directed toward the achievement of pre-determined goals or objectives: Without an objective, we have no destination to reach or a path to follow in order to arrive at our destination, i.e., a goal, both management and organisation must be purpose or goal-oriented.
4. An art of getting things done through other people:
Management is an art of accomplishing things by working with other motivated people in an organised manner. It is the pivot of a joint enterprise in any human activity.
5. Management Cycle:
Management represents planning action control re-planning cycle in order to attain planned objectives.
On the basis of the aforesaid five aspects of management, we may have a good definition of management as follows:
“Management is a social process involving co-ordination of human and material resources through the functions of planning, organising, staffing, leading, and controlling in order to accomplish stated objectives.”
This definition of management as purposive, co-ordinate process has universal application – applicable to all forms of group efforts in all forms of, organisations, i.e., profit or nonprofit enterprises. It is also applicable to all levels of management in an organisation.
Definitions of Management – With Features
No definition of management is universally accepted. Different people have viewed management from different perspectives.
Some definitions of management are given below:
Management viewed as an art of getting things done through others – Following definitions call attention to the fact that managers achieve organizational goals by arranging for others to perform whatever tasks may be necessary—not by performing the tasks themselves.
“Management is the art of getting things done through people.” – Mary Parker Follett
“Management is the accomplishment of results through the efforts of other people.” – Lawrence A Appley
Management viewed as a goal-oriented function – Whatever the stated goals of a particular organization, management is considered as the process by which the goals are achieved.
“Management is that function of an enterprise which concerns itself with the direction and control of the various activities to attain business objectives.” – William Spriegal
Management viewed as a process – A manager has to plan his action, organize the resources, direct and motivate his subordinates, and ensure the performance of the plan to reach the organizational goal.
“Management is a distinct process consisting of planning, organizing, actuating, and controlling performance to determine and accomplish the objectives by the use of people and resources.” – George R Terry
Management viewed as decision-making and leadership – Following definitions consider decision making and controlling the people as the prime function of management. “Management is the art and science of decision making and leadership.” – Donald J. Clough.
“Management is simply the process of decision making and control over the actions of the human beings for the express purpose of attaining pre-determined goals.” – Stanley Vance
Management viewed as the coordinator of human and material resources -Management is the force that integrated men and physical plant into an effective operating unit.” – Keith and Gubellini
Management entails the co-ordination of human and material resources towards the achievement of organizational objectives as well as the organization of the productive functions essential for achieving stated or accepted economic goals. – Barry M. Richman
Note that no definition of management is able to encompass its meaning singularly.
However, after going through the above definitions, certain features of the management emerge-
1. Management is an effort to seek the organizational goal.
2. It is done through people.
3. It is a distinct process whereby the managers perform the functions of planning, organizing, directing and controlling to achieve the stated goals.
4. It is a unifying force. It integrates human and other resources to achieve desired objectives.
5. It seeks to maximize utilization of resources in relation to the results.
6. It is universal in character. Its principles are equally applicable in all fields of business, industry, education, Government, etc.
Definitions of Management – By Mary Parker, Ivancerich, John A. Pearce, Richard B. Robinson, Harold Koontz and Heinz and Weihrich
Mary Parker defines the term management as “the art of getting things done through others.” But research studies concluded that management is a field of endeavour that combines art and science.
Ivancerich, Donnelly and Gibson, define the term management as “the process undertaken by one or more persons to coordinate the activities of other persons to achieve results not attainable by any one person acting alone.” Managers perform a number of activities, in addition to coordination. Further, this definition covers only one resource i.e., human resources and does not focus on material resources and financial resources.
John A.Pearce and Richard B.Robinson included all kinds of resources in their definition on management. According to them, “Management is the process of optimizing human, material and financial contributions for the, achievement of organizational goals.” This definition ignores the integrated aspect of the contribution of all resources towards the attainment of organizational goals.
According to Harold Koontz and Heinz and Weihrich, Management is “the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together in groups, efficiently accomplish selected aims.” This definition ignores the external environment through which most of the stakeholders interact with the company.
Now, we shall define the term management as designing, providing and maintaining a conducive internal environment in tune with the opportunities and challenges of the external environment through planning, organizing, directing and controlling all resources and operations in order to achieve effective organizational strategies efficiently.
The analysis of the above definitions provides the following aspects of management:
i. The purpose of management is to formulate effective (right) organizational strategies and to achieve them efficiently (productively) based on the mission’s objectives and goals.
ii. Management deals with both internal and external environment.
iii. Management is concerned with all kinds of resources viz., human, financial, material, machines, technology and technical know-how.
iv. Management functions include: planning, organizing, directing and controlling.
v. Managers should possess varied skills in order to play a variety of roles.
vi. It applies to managers at all levels in an organisation.
vii. Management is applicable to all kinds of organisations i.e., both profit and non-profit oriented organisations.
viii. Management vs. Administration.
ix. Management is both an art and a science in order to create a surplus.
x. Management needs to be a profession to achieve goals continuously with an incremental efficiency.
Definitions of Management by Various Management Thinkers
Management is as old as man. Management is the most critical aspect of organized business activity. It is universal and has become a key social institution in the present-day society. It fulfills a social purpose. The well- being of society is largely dependent upon the skill and quality of managers. Management is the engine of growth. It promotes prosperity. Urwick and Brech have rightly remarked that no ideology, no ‘ism’, no political theory can win a greater output with less effort from a given complex of human and material resources, only sound management.
And it is on such greater output that a high standard of life, more leisure, and more amenities for all must necessarily be founded. Marshall Demock has also stated that “the management is not a matter of pressing a button, pulling a lever, issuing orders, scanning profit and loss statements, promulgating rules and regulations.
Rather, it is the power to determine what shall happen to the personalities and happiness of the entire people, the power to shape the destiny of a nation and of all the nations which make up the world.” McFarland writes, “Management is one of humanity’s most notable discoveries.”
Management can be defined in various ways:
“The creation of an effective environment for the accomplishment of organizational goals”; or
“The organization of human resources in pursuit of goal attainment”; or “a group effort coordinated by an individual to accomplish some plan or task.”
All these definitions do not reflect the functional nature of management. Basically, management is a process of achieving organisational goals through others. Management is tasks, activities and functions. As a process, management refers to what management does i.e., the function performed by management.
Managing is considered as a process which may include a variety of functions, principles, techniques, skills and other measures of accomplishing the work and activities of organization. Management as a process implies a series of actions or elements. These are planning, organization, staffing, directing, co-ordination etc.
Peter Drucker says that “it would seem appropriate to stress that the first criterion in identifying those people within an organisation who have management responsibility is not command over people. It is responsibility for contribution. Function rather than power has to be the distinctive criterion and the organizing principle.”
Thus, management is a leadership or a rational activity performed by managers through a distinct process of planning, organizing, coordinating, directing and controlling the human and material resources in a dynamic working environment.
Definition of Management – Top 7 Definitions of Management
1. “Management is a social process entailing responsibility for the effective and economic planning and regulation of the operations of an enterprise, in fulfillment of a given purpose or task, such responsibility involving:
(i) Judgement and decision in determining plans and in using data to control performance, and progress against plans.
(ii) The guidance, integration, motivation and supervisions of the personnel composing the enterprise, and carrying out its operations.”
2. “Management may be defined as the art of securing maximum results with a minimum of effort, so as to secure maximum prosperity and happiness for both the employer and the employee and give the public the best possible service”. —John F. Mee
3. “Management is the process by which managers create, direct, maintain and operate purposive organizations through systematic, coordinated, co-operative human effort.” —Dalton E. McFarland
4. “Management is guiding human and physical resources into dynamic organizational units which attain their objectives to the satisfaction of those served and with a high degree of morale and sense of attainment on the part of those rendering service. —American Management Association
5. “Management is the art of getting things done through the people in formally organized groups.”—Harold, Koontz and O’Donnell
6. “Management is the function of executive leadership. It is the work of planning organizing and controlling the activities of the organization in the accomplishment of its objectives.”—R. C. Davis
7. “To manage is to forecast and to plan, to organize, to command, to co-ordinate and to control.” —Henry Fayol
Although management as a discipline is about hundred years old, there is no common agreement among the thinkers and practitioners about its specific definition. In fact, this is equally true in case of all social sciences like psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, etc. As a result of extraordinary and awe-inspiring industrial developments, business organizations have grown in size and complexity, causing far-reaching changes in the practices of management.
Changes in management styles and practices have, perhaps, led to changes in management thought. Moreover, management being interdisciplinary in nature has undergone changes because of the developments in behavioural sciences, quantitative techniques, engineering and technology, etc.
Since it deals with the production and distribution of goods and services, dynamism of its environments such as social, cultural and religious values, consumers’ tastes and preferences, education and information explosion, democratization of governments, etc., have also led to changes in its theory and practice. Yet, a privileged definition of management is required for its teaching and research, and also for improvement in its existing practices.
Various management gurus have tried to define management. But, no definition of management has been unanimously acknowledged by these great thinkers in the field.
Let us talk about some of the most important definitions of management:
i. Henry Fayol, “To manage is to forecast and plan, to organize, to compound, to coordinate and to control.”
ii. Peter F. Drucker defines, “management is an organ; organs can be described and defined only through their functions”.
iii. According to Terry, “Management is not people; it is an activity like walking, reading, swimming or running. People who perform Management can be designated as members, members of Management or executive leaders.”
iv. Ralph C. Davis has defined Management as, “Management is the function of executive leadership anywhere.”
v. According to Mc Farland, “Management is defined for conceptual, theoretical and analytical purposes as that process by which managers create, direct, maintain and operate purposive organization through systematic, coordinated cooperative human effort.”
vi. Harold Koontz says, “Management is the art of getting things done through and within formally organized group.”
vii. William Spriegal, “Management is that function of an enterprise which concerns itself with direction and control of the various activities to attain business objectives. Management is essentially an executive function; it deals with the active direction of the human effort.”
viii. Kimball and Kimball, “Management embraces all duties and functions that pertain to the initiation of an enterprise, its financing, the establishment of all major policies, the provision of all necessary equipment, the outlining of the general form of organization under which the enterprise is to operate and the selection of the principal officers.”
ix. Sir Charles Reynold, “Management is the process of getting things done through the agency of a community. The functions of management are the handling of community with a view of fulfilling the purposes for which it exists.”
x. E.F.L. Brech, “Management is concerned with seeing that the job gets done, its tasks all centre on planning and guiding the operations that are going on in the enterprise.”
xi. Koontz and O’Donnel, “Management is the creation and maintenance of an internal environment in an enterprise where individuals, working in groups, can perform efficiently and effectively toward the attainment of group goals. It is the art of getting the work done through and with people in formally organized groups.”
xii. James Lundy, “Management is principally a task of planning, coordinating, motivating and controlling the efforts of other towards a specific objective. It involves combining of the traditional factors of production land, labour, capital in an optimum manner, paying due attention, of course, to the particular goals of the organization.”
xiv. Oliver Scheldon, “Management proper is the function in industry concerned in the execution of policy, within the limits set up by the administration and the employment of the organization for the particular objectives set before it.”
xv. Newman, Summer and Warren, “The job of Management is to make cooperative endeavour to function properly. A manager is one who gets things done by working with people and other resources in order to reach an objective.”
xvi. Mary Parker Follett defines management as the “art of getting things done through people”. This definition calls attention to the fundamental difference between a manager and other personnel of an organization. A manager is one who contributes to the organization’s goals indirectly by directing the efforts of others – not by performing the task himself. On the other hand, a person who is not a manager makes his contribution to the organization’s goals directly by performing the task himself.
Sometimes, however, a person in an organization may play both these roles simultaneously. For example- a sales manager is performing a managerial role when he is directing his sales force to meet the organization’s goals, but when he himself is contacting a large customer and negotiating a deal, he is performing a non-managerial role. In the former role, he is directing the efforts of others and is contributing to the organization’s goals indirectly; in the latter role, he is directly utilizing his skills as a salesman to meet the organization’s objectives.
xvii. George R. Terry gives a somewhat more elaborate definition of management. He defines management as a process “consisting of planning, organizing, actuating and controlling, performed to determine and accomplish the objectives by the use of people and other resources”. According to this definition, management is a process – a systematic way of doing things.
The four management activities included in this process are- planning, organizing, actuating and controlling. Planning means that managers think of their actions in advance. Organizing means that managers coordinate the human and material resources of the organization. Actuating means that managers motivate and direct subordinates. Controlling means that managers attempt to ensure that there is no deviation from the norm or plan. If some part of their organization is on the wrong track, managers take action to remedy the situation.
To wrap up the diverse conventionalization of the concept, it can be observed that various definitions of management do not run opposing to one another. Management is the sum total of all those activities that (i) determine objectives, plans, policies and programmes; (ii) secure men, material, machinery cheaply (iii) put all these resources into operations through sound organization (iv) direct and motivate the men at work, (v) supervises and control their performance and (iv) provide maximum prosperity and happiness for both employer and employees and public at large.
Definition of Management
The term management has been defined by different people in different ways – some have defined it in a simple way and some in a complex way.
Management means the manner in which a given task is executed and supervised. It also implies accomplishing a task using the available limited resources and the skill in the manipulation of these resources.
Management is often viewed according to one’s way of thinking. To a design engineer it may mean a matter of designing products, utilities and equipment. To a techno-economist or a cost accountant it may appear to be a matter of figures that can spell either loss or gain in monetary terms. To a research chemist it may mean formulae, chemical reactions and processes.
The fault lies not with these individuals but with the environment in which they have grown up and with the organisations that keep them in isolation and do not acquaint them with the various aspects of management. Unconsciously, a technical bias of the work being done by them sets into their sub-conscious mind.
This is primarily due to the fact that no one has guided them as to what management actually means. Such people, when they rise to high positions by virtue of their long years of experience, find themselves in a difficult situation because of their technological bias and little understanding of professional standards. Owing to their lack of farsightedness and initiative, they fail to grasp the essentials of other disciplines around them.
Since management is responsible for getting the assigned task done within the given time, the given resources and in a particular manner, an acceptable definition, to our way of things, could be- “Management is getting things done through people by effective utilisation of resources, time and environment”. Environment includes government policies, legal framework, economic and social factors, competition, etc.
We shall try to reason out and assess as to what management does rather than quote some readily available definitions to make the meaning of the term ‘management’ explicit.
For example, let us determine the work that is involved in the construction of a mini-steel plant. What are the major elements of work involved in it?
Broadly, these are:
(i) Preparation of a feasibility report
(ii) Working out a detailed project report
(iii) Projection of time schedule or PERT network for completion of project
(iv) Arrangement and allocation of funds;
(v) Selection of personnel and procurement of equipment
(viii) Dispatch, marketing finance and other commercial aspects
Definitions of Management – By Different Scholars
Different scholars have defined management from different angles but some definitions are widely accepted to convey the meaning of management.
Some of these definitions are as follows:
Mary Parker Follett, “Management is the art of getting things done through others.” This definition is widely used because it is brief and simple. Every manager directs the activities of others for achieving organisational goals.
Henry Fayol, “To manage is to forecast and plan, to organise, to command, to co-ordinate, and to control.”
George R. Terry, “Management is a distinct process consisting of activities of planning, organising, actuating and controlling, performed to determine and accomplish stated objectives with the use of human beings and other resources.”
These definitions underline the functions which management is required to undertake for achieving organisational goals.
Donald J. Clough. “Management is the art and science of decision-making and leadership.”
Rose Moore, “Management means decision-making”.
In these definitions management is associated with decision making and leadership. Every manager, may be at any level, has to take decisions and direct subordinates to implement them.
F.W. Taylor, “Management is the art of knowing what you want to do in the best and cheapest way”.
Taylor advocated the best way of doing things and avoiding traditional and outmoded methods of work.
Henry L. Sisk, “Management is the co-ordination of all resources through the process of planning organising, directing and controlling in order to attain stated goals.”
This definition emphasises the co-ordination of various managerial functions for achieving stated organisational goals. The resources of the organisation have to be used in a way that it helps in reaching the goals.
The above discussed definitions have defined management from different angles. No one angle can define the nature and scope of management properly. So the study of different definitions is necessary to understand management in proper perspective.
Definitions of Management – By Hick, Taylor, O’Donnell, Stanley Vance, Henry Fayol and Haimann
There are a number of definitions of the term ‘management’.
Few of them are defined as under:
Hick – defines management as “the process of getting things done by the people and through the people”.
In the words of F. W. Taylor – “Management is the art of knowing what you want to do and seeing that it is done in the best and cheapest way”.
Koontz and O’Donnell – state that management means, “Getting things done through and with people”.
According to Stanley Vance, – “Management is simply the process of decision-making and control over the actions of human beings for the purpose of attaining predetermined goals”.
According to Henry Fayol, – “to manage is to forecast, and to plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to command”.
Haimann observes that, – “management is the function of getting things done through people and directing the efforts of individuals towards a common objective”.
Definitions of Management
“Management cannot be defined or understood—except in terms of its performance dimensions and of the demands of performance on it”. These words of Peter Drucker place high importance on achievement of results by managers. The results of a manager’s actions should be enjoyed by the customer or the client as the ultimate beneficiary.
The customers may be external or internal to the organization, i.e. at times, the results of manager’s actions may impact the internal customers like the employees of another department of the organization. The internal customers for a manager may also be the shareholders of the company and the Board of Directors.
Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933) defined management as “the art of getting things done through people.” Peter Drucker, who is hailed as the father of modern management theory, discovered Follett’s work in the 1950s and is said to have referred to Follett as his “guru”.
This simple yet compelling definition captures the essence of management, though it can be argued that management is an art as well as a science. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to truncate the definition of management to “getting things done through people.”
Interestingly, in this definition, the manager is not expected to do things on his own, but to take work out of other people. These people may be subordinates, superiors, vendors, contractors, shareholders, and other stakeholders.
If we merge Drucker’s emphasis upon achievement of results by managers for the benefit of the customer/client in the definition by Follett, it gets transformed to- “Management is getting things done through people for the benefit of the customer or the client.”
Definitions of Management – By Different Management Thinkers
The definition of management by different management thinkers are as follows:
As per Mary Parker Follet, “Management is an art of getting things done through others”. This is a traditional definition which implies that management function is performed to get the work done from people. However, the definition fails to consider the important management aspects such as- management of materials, finance etc.
As per Henry Fayol, “To manage is to forecast, to plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control”.
Henry Fayol, through his definition, emphasized on the functions of management It not only includes getting work done from others but also includes how to get the work done in a systematic manner. As per him, directing people and co-coordinating all the activities are equally important.
As per F. W. Taylor, “Management is the co-ordination of resources through the process of planning, organizing, directing and controlling in order to attain stated objectives”. Taylor considers management as a course of action (process). The various activities included in the process of management are planning, organizing, directing and controlling.
As per J. D. Mooney and A. C. Reiley, “Management is the art of directing and inspiring people.” This definition goes beyond functions as it includes the aspect of inspiring and motivating people to perform their duties effectively. As per him, a manager plays an important role of motivating people to achieve the specified objectives by guiding them and motivating them without pressurizing them.
Definitions of Management
Managers appear in every organisation — at least in Organisations that want to succeed. These individuals have sometimes the unenviable task of making decisions, solving difficult problems, setting goals, planning strategies, and rallying individuals.
To be exact, managers administer and coordinate resources effectively and efficiently to achieve the goals of an organisation. In essence, managers get the job done through other people.
Management has been defined by different people in several ways such as plan of action, the art of maximizing efficiency, a social process, method of getting things done through the efforts of other people, direction of action by a co-operative group towards a common goal, art and science of decision making and executive leadership, etc.
In its wider sense, it denotes utilization of available resources to achieve some objectives. It is considered as a method, system or a discipline which adds effectiveness to human activities and brings order to them.
In a more specific sense, management is defined to include the functions of planning, organizing, staffing, forecasting, coordinating, commanding, controlling, motivating the efforts of others to achieve the specific objectives. Management can precisely be called the rule-making and the rule- enforcing body.
Management is the process of getting activities completed efficiently and effectively with and through other people.
It is the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals working together in groups efficiently accomplish selected aims. Managing is an art. It is doing things in the light of the realities of a situation. Managers can work better by using the organized knowledge about management. It is this knowledge that constitutes a science. Hence managing is an art; the organized knowledge underlying the practice may be referred to as a science.
According to Henri Fayol – “To manage is to forecast and to plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control, to foresee and provide means to examine the future and drawing up the plan of action. To organize means building up the dual structure. To command means maintaining activity among the personnel. To coordinate means binding together. To control means seeing that everything occurs in conformity with established rules and expressed command”.
F. W. Taylor – “Management is the art of knowing exactly what you want to do and seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way”.
Harold Koontz – “Management is the art of getting things done through and with people in formally organized groups”.
Management is the degree at which goals are achieved by making the right decisions and successfully implementing them and doing the right things in the right way at the right time can be defined as Effectiveness. On the other hand, Efficiency is about using minimal resources wisely and in a cost effective way to produce the desired volume of output without any wastage of resources.
Concept of Management from Different Viewpoints:
i. Productivity – Art of securing optimum productivity
ii. Human relations – Art of getting things done through people
iii. Decision making – Art of correct decision making
iv. Leadership – Art of executive leadership
v. Coordination – Manager is what a manager does.
Management focuses on the entire organisation from both a short and a long-term perspective. Management is the managerial process of forming a strategic vision, setting objectives, crafting a strategy and then implementing and executing the strategy.
Management goes beyond the organisation’s internal operations to include the industry and the general environment. The key emphasis is on issues related to environmental scanning and industry analysis, appraisal of current and future competitors, assessment of core competencies, strategic control and the effective allocation of organisational resources.