After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of Organisation Manuals 2. Types of Organisation Manuals 3. Contents 4. Merits 5. Limitations.
Meaning of Organisation Manuals:
‘Manual’ means a hand-book. Organisation manual is a handbook maintained in hard cover, in loose-leaf form containing information about policies, operations, rules and regulations, objectives, procedures, departmental details etc.
It is a useful guide to all the organizational members as it gives details of the extent to which authority is exercised by every manager and a detailed analysis of various jobs in terms of job content and job responsibilities.
It is a supplement to organisation chart. While organisation chart gives an overview of the organisation structure, organisation manual describes the organisation structure in detail. A manual is, thus, wider in scope and includes organisation chart. It is a useful tool for managers to visualize the company as a whole and to view their responsibilities in the context of overall organisational responsibilities.
Responsibilities of various managerial positions are explained through position guides. “A position guide is a means of defining responsibility, authority and relationships for each position.”
“It states the basic function of the position, the major end-result areas for which manager is responsible, and the reporting relationships involved.”
Manuals are kept ready for reference by every functional head and his employees so that they do not have to approach their superiors to obtain information for decision-making.
Types of Organisation Manuals:
Manuals can be of the following types:
1. Policy manual:
Policy is a general guideline that facilitates managerial action. Policy manual defines the area of operations within which managerial decisions are taken whenever managers face similar problems. It presents the intentions of top management to deal with specific organisational problems.
2. Rules and regulations manual:
Rules are the set of directions that must be followed by all organisational members to work in a unified direction. Rules and regulations manual gives information about the rules with respect to activities like absenteeism, medical facilities, housing facilities etc. for the employees.
3. Organisation manual:
It explains the structure of organisation in terms of division of work, creation of departments and distribution of responsibility along with authority at each position in the organisational hierarchy.
4. Operations manual:
Operations are the activities performed by the organisational members. The operations manual provides information about the programmes, procedures, methods and standards of the organisation. It assists in carrying out various operations smoothly.
5. Departmental practice manual:
Manuals that show the practices of each department with respect to policies, procedures, rules etc. are known as departmental practice manuals.
Contents of Organisation Manuals:
Manual contain the following information:
1. Objectives and policies:
The main and auxiliary objectives and policies of the company are clearly spelled out in organisation manuals to facilitate activities in the targeted direction. Focus on main and auxiliary objectives also enables managers to concentrate more on the main objectives.
2. Glossary of terms:
To enable members understand the various terms, like authority, accountability, coordination, responsibility, delegation, centralisation, decentralisation, plans, policies, line and staff and other terms, in their stated nomenclature, the manuals clearly define and describe these terms.
3. Organisation procedures:
Procedures define the methods of dealing with any activity. They must be uniformly followed by managers and, therefore, clearly charted out in the organisation manuals. Location of the organisation, its structure (in terms of divisions and departments), policies, rules and regulations of different functional areas are clearly spelled out in the manuals.
Merits of Organisation Manuals:
Organisation manuals have the following merits:
1. They provide broad view of the structure of the organisation.
2. They provide documentary evidence (in writing) of the authority, responsibility and reporting relationships of each managerial position.
3. They provide initiative to managers to develop their potential within the area of discretion.
4. They help to avoid overlapping of activities.
5. Since they limit the area of work to be performed, managers can know their responsibilities, compare them with their abilities and enhance them (if need be) through training and induction programmes.
6. By clearly defining the duties of every member, they provide useful means of controlling various organisational activities.
7. They facilitate delegation as managers can differentiate between reserved authority and that which can be delegated to subordinates.
8. They help in quick settlement of new employees to the existing structure of the organisation.
9. They help in quick decision-making by clearly spelling out organisational plans and policies.
Limitations of Organisation Manuals:
Organisation manuals suffer from the following limitations:
1. As manuals strictly define the area of work, they limit growth in areas other than those assigned to managers.
2. They hamper innovative team work as each individual’s contribution to overall organisational activities is clearly defined.
3. Since overemphasis on responsibility is associated with accountability, managers avoid taking assignments for which they are not officially responsible.
4. Being costly in terms of money and time, they are suitable forms of documents for large-scale undertakings only.