The relative importance of planning, organizing, leading and controlling varies somewhat depending on managerial level. Planning tends to be more important for top managers than for middle or first-line managers. This is primarily because top managers are responsible for determining the overall direction of the organization, a charge that requires extensive planning.
At the same time, organizing is somewhat more important for both top and middle managers than for first-line managers. This stems from the fact that it is the top and middle levels of management that are mainly responsible for allocating and arranging resources, even though this function is also performed to some extent by first-line supervisors.
In contrast, leading substantially more important for first-line supervisors than for managers at higher levels. Since first-line supervisors are charged with the ongoing production of goods or services, they must engage in substantially higher amounts of communicating, motivating, directing, and supporting. All of which are associated with leading.
Finally, the management function that is most similar at all three hierarchical levels is controlling. This similarity reflects a common degree of emphasis at all levels on monitoring activities and taking corrective action as needed.
The three levels of management also differ in the importance attached to the key skills discussed earlier: technical, human, and conceptual. Generally, conceptual skills are most important at the top management level. Top managers have the greatest need to see the organization as a whole, understand how its various parts relate to one another and associate the organization with the world outside. Whirlpool’s David Whitwam points out that looking at an organization as a whole can be difficult, particularly when a company is doing well and there is not imminent crisis on the horizon. He said that Whirlpool was doing well domestically, but nevertheless, top management faced up to the challenge of looking at the big picture because they could envision their future growing more difficult and complicated. When they took a more holistic view, they realized that they had to globalize to survive and prosper.
In contrast, first-line managers have the greatest need for technical skills, since they directly supervise most of the technical and professional employees who are not manager. Yet middle managers, too often need sufficient technical skills so that they can communicate with subordinates and recognize major problems. Even top managers must have some technical skills, particularly when technology is an important part of the products or services their organizations produce.
Not surprisingly, all three levels of management require strong human skills because they all must get things done through people. Ironically, promotions to first-level management are often based on individuals good technical skills, with little consideration given to the adequacy of their human skills. Managers who lack sufficient human skills usually run into serious difficulties when they attempt to deal with individuals inside and outside their work units.
Although Mintzberg argued that the 10 managerial roles he identified apply to all levels of management he did note that there may be some differences in emphasis at various levels. Subsequent research by others suggests that the figurehead role and several others such as liaison and spokesperson may become more important ass a manager moves up the hierarchy. On the other hand, the leader role appears to be more critical at the lower levels, a finding that supports the idea that the leading function itself has greater importance for lower-level managers than for those higher up.
In a study of the importance of the various roles, managers at all levels gave particularly high ratings to the entrepreneurial role. Several experts on innovation, however, argue that the entrepreneurial role varies in some important way depending on a manager’s level in the hierarchy.
An innovation is a new idea applied to imitating or improving a process, product, or service. The process of innovation is closely allied with the entrepreneurial role in organizations, particularly since that role relates to discovering and exploiting new opportunities. In fact, innovative activities in organizations, especially major ones, have frequently been refereed to as entrepreneurship within organization. More recently, individuals who engage in entrepreneurial roles inside organization are often called entrepreneurs. The term is used to differentiate innovators working inside existing organizations from individuals who innovate by creating new organizations. Encouraging innovation in organizations takes special effort. Furthermore, successful innovations are rarely the product of only one person work. Rather, the innovative process usually involves individuals at various level who fulfill three different types of entrepreneurial roles :
An idea champion is an individual who generates a new idea or believes in the value of a new idea and supports it in the face of numerous potential obstacles. We often thin of such individuals as entrepreneurs, inventors, creative individuals, or risk takers. They are usually individuals at lower levels in the organization who recognize a problem and help develop a solution.
A sponsor is an individual, usually a middle manager, who recognizes the organizational significance of an idea, helps obtain the necessary funding for development of the innovation, and facilitates its actual implementation. Sponsors tend to be middle manager because their higher-lever position in the organization makes it more feasible for them to provide the strong backing necessary for the survival of innovations.
An ORCHESTRATOR is a high-level manager who articulates the need for innovation, provides funding for innovating activates, creates incentives for middle managers to sponsor new ideas, and protects idea people. Because innovations often constitute a challenge to the current ways of doing things, they are frequently resisted by those who are comfortable with or have a particular stake in the status quo. An ORCHESTRATOR maintains the balance of power so that new ideas have a chance to be tested in the face of possible negative reactions. By filling the role of orchestrator, top managers encourage innovation.
Without all three roles, major innovations are much less likely to occur. The development of the VHS videocassette recorder at JVC illustrates the importance of entrepreneurial, or innovative, roles at the various levels of the organization.
Ultimately, the indirect intervention of Matsushita as an orchestrator became crucial. These three types of entrepreneurial roles constitute another vertical difference among managers.
In addition to their vertical differences, managerial jobs differ on a horizontal dimension that relates to the nature of the responsibility area involved. In horizontal differentiation, there are three major types of managerial jobs : Functional, General, and Project.
General managers are managers who have responsibility for a whole organization or a substantial subunit that includes most of the common specialized areas. In other words, a general manager presides over a number of functional areas. General managers have a variety of titles, such as division manager and president, depending on the circumstances. A small company will usually have only one general manager, who is the head of the entire organization. Depending on how it is organized, a large company may have several general managers (in addition to the chief executive officer) each of whom usually presides over a major division.
Project managers are managers who have responsibility for coordinating efforts involving individuals in several different organizational units who are all working on a particular project. Because the individuals report not only to the managers in their specific work units but also to their project manager, project managers usually must have extremely strong interpersonal skills to keep things moving smoothly. Project managers are frequently used in aerospace and other high-technology firms to coordinate projects, such as airplane or computer project development. They are also used in some consumer oriented companies to launch or stay on top of market development for specific products. Such as cookies or margarine.
There is a number feature or characteristics of planing that indicate towards its nature. These may be outlined as follows;
Planing is goal-orient in the sense that plans are prepared and implemented to achieve certain object.
Basic to all managerial functions.
Planing is a function that is foundation of management process. Planing logically precedes all other functions of management, such as organization, staffing, etc. Because without plan there is nothing to control. Every managerial action has to be properly planned.
Planing is a function of all managers, although the nature and extent of planing will vary with their authority and level in the organization hierarchy. Managers at higher levels spend more time and effort on planing than do lower manager.
Planing affects and is affected by the programs of different department in so programs constitute an integrated effort.
Planing is forward looking and it prepares an enterprise for future.
Forecasting integral to planing.
The essence of planing is forecasting. Plans are synthesis of various forecast.Thus, planing is inextricably(inseparably) bound up with planing.
Planing is an ongoing process. Old plans have to be prepared in case the environment undergoes a change. It shows the dynamic nature of planing.
Planing is a mental or conceptual exercis.it therefore involves rational decision making: requires imagination, foresight, and sound judgement: and involves thinking before doing_thinking on the basis of facts and information.
Planning is essential for the enterprise as a whole. Newman and others have drawn our attention towards this feature of planning, “without planning, an enterprise will soon disintegrate: the pattern of its action would be as random as that made by leaves scampering (running quickly in short steps )before an autumn wind, and its employees would be as confused as ants in an upturned anthill.” If there are no plans, action will be a random activity in the organization, instead there will be chaos.
Planning and control are inseparable.
Unplanned action cannot be controlled without control, planned actions cannot be executed plans furnish standards of control In fact ,planning is meaningful without control and control is planning aimless without planning . is measuring rod of efficiency.
Choice Among Alternative Courses Of Action.
The need for planning arises due to several ways available for an action If there is only one way out left there is no need for planning
Flexible process .
the principle of navigational change (i.e, change according to change in environment) applies to planning In other words effective planning requires continual checking on events and forecasts ,and the redrawing of plans to maintain a course towards desired goals .thus plans have to be adaptable to changing circumstances
The process of planning involves the following steps
Analysing environment. At the outset the internal and external environment is analyzed in order to identify company ;s strengths and weaknesses (in internal environment)and opportunities and threats (existing in the external environment) this is also known as SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats ) analysis .
Establishing objectives or goals in the light of the environmental scanning (study)clear or probable opportunities that can be availed are identified in order to avail them objectives or goals are clearly defined in specific terms along with priorities in all the key areas of operations major problems associated with such objectives are also identified and defined ,so that there may be special emphasis on their planned solutions.
Seeking necessary Information :
All relevant data and facts are collected from internal and external sources such as Availability of supplies, physical and human recourses of the company , finance of disposal, relevant government policy etc then such collected information and factors are analyzed. These information can be used in two ways
To make necessary modifications in objective and goals
To take help them in premising assumption.
Establishing the planing premises
In order to develop consistent and coordinate plans ,it is necessary that planing is based upon carefully considered assumption and predictions
Identifying the alternative course of action.
After established the goals or objective and taking other related steps , feasible alternative programs or course of action are searched out . Impossible or highly difficult propositions are left out .
Evaluating the alternatives.
Problems consequences of each alternative course of action in terms of its pros and cons (eg Cost, benefits, risks etc) are assessed and then relative importance of each of them is found out by looking at their overall individual strengths and limitations especially in the light of present objective and the environment of the company.
Selecting the alternative or Course of action.
The alternative which appears to be most feasible and conducive to the accomplishment of company’s objective, is selecting the final plan of action as strategy.
Derivative plans involve short rang operating plans that are useful in day-to-day operations these plans are developed through the
6 Rules & Polices etc.
These plans are prepared in different departments ,and their timings and sequence are also specified .
Provide a sense of direction.
Without planning manager would fail to make proper decisions , and hance there would be chaos ,not activity in the organisation. Planing desired decision making and efforts on guided path leading to the desired destination.
Offsets (balance ) future uncertainty and change.
Uncertainty and risk are inevitably associated with business and its operations. Through planing cannot eliminate these two element plans of nature and risk because they provide a better understanding of likely future events.
Focuses attention on objective and results.
Organisation exists because people have common objective. Managers are charge of organisation for the purpose of attaining results .if attention are not focused on objective and results.
Causes efficient operations.
Planing make things occur ,improves the competitive strength of the organisation, guides proper utilisation channels for resources and facilities integrates resources and efforts, aligns internal and external environment
Provides the basis for decentralization
Decentralisation of authority signifies dispersal of decision making power to the lowest level in the organisation .Well-designed plans serve as guides to subordinates and reduce the risk involved in delegation of authority.
Guides Rational decision making
Decisions are primarily future oriented .plans cover to the future activities without plans there is no sound basis for making future oriented decision
The determination of the purpose and the basic long term objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of course of action and allocation of resource necessary to achieve these aims .
General statements or understanding that guide thinking in decision making, the essence of policies is the existence of discretion , with in certain limits, in guiding decision making .
Both strategies and policies give direction to plans. They provide the framework for plans and serve as a basis for the development of tactics and other managerial activities .