What Is Management?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 31, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated March 31, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Effective management is crucial to achieving business goals. There are different types and levels of management that aim to organize and coordinate business functions. Good management is an essential business skill that takes both training and practice to acquire. In this article, we discuss what management is and its different types, levels and functions.

What is management?

Management is the process of organizing and coordinating the activities of a business or team of people to reach pre-determined goals. Management is one of the factors needed for production, in addition to finances, raw materials and machinery. It consists of writing corporate policies that list the organization's goals and objectives and form the foundation for the company activities. This is then followed by the organization, planning, controlling and direction of resources to accomplish the goals outlined in the policy.

Planning and organizing is vital to strong management. It is important to ensure that all staff members understand the company goals and objectives and are motivated to work toward them. A good manager should understand that unity among personnel is essential to business success. Providing an environment where workers can achieve these goals is a crucial part of management.

Types of management

There are various types of management, and these styles constantly evolve with new technologies and operating procedures and changes in the roles of both of managers and employees. Depending on what stage the company is in, management types can change to best suit the situation. All types of management have the same objective of supporting the workers to reach company goals while maintaining standards. The following are types of management:

  • Pacesetting: The pacesetting manager is demanding and active and is dedicated to the company. They expect the same form their staff, who must deliver high-quality products in the expected time frame. This type of management is visionary with tough standards to uphold. There is no room for negotiation with this management type, other solutions or alternate viewpoints are not acceptable.

    If the business is struggling or transitioning, this type of management could be suitable, but if it is the regular type, the employees may feel undervalued.

  • Authoritative: This type of management uses strong leadership and has highly specific, singular visions for the company with a powerful sense of company mission. It is important to these managers that the employees are attentive and obedient. This management is authoritative and some employees can find this overbearing and suffocating of free thought.

  • Affiliative: Affiliative management considers the company to be one family and they want the employees to feel like there is a strong bond between them and the management. it can be inspirational for employees to have this affiliation and connection, but it can lead to a lack of direction or difficulties with performance feedback. This, in turn, can lead to a reduction in productivity.

    Affiliate managers are approachable and friendly and want to build strong relationships with the staff by having meetings that give two-way feedback and managers asking employees what they could do to help them. It is a great style of management to use to build trust after layoffs or budget cuts. In the long term, it can be challenging to manage a company if the staff do not receive useful performance feedback.

  • Coaching: The coaching type of management prioritizes maximizing employee training and improvement. It identifies the skills that an employee has and then finds a way to improve on these skills or expand their skill set. It is a time-intensive type of management that needs a highly skilled manager to implement well and should be avoided by new managers that the staff has not yet learned to trust.

    A major issue is that some employees or members of management may not want to be coached or to admit that their skills can be improved. When this happens, the management system may encounter difficulties in moving forward and achieving goals.

  • Coercive: With this type of management, managers discourage employees from sharing input. Managers should take care not to damage employee morale, but it can be a useful type of management during a crisis that requires clear and direct management.

  • Democratic: The democratic type of management involves the employees with decision making and aims to form a consensus. It can be challenging if employees feel that their managers are generous and open-minded and are not sufficiently authoritative. Any changes that the company needs can be slow because a lot of people are involved. Managers want to find out what the points of difficulty are and how they can be overcome.

    With democratic management, the employees tend to feel like they have a stake in the company. The company could find they lack the results they need because employees are not senior enough with sufficient understanding to contribute to decision making with success.

Management levels

Management levels refer to the way that managerial positions are divided within a business organization. A small business may have only one level of management, but as the number of employees increases, so does the amount of management, with larger organizations having several levels. Levels of management can be divided into three categories:

  • Low-level managers: Managers at this level could have the title of supervisor, section lead or foreperson. They may also be referred to as first-level managers and are heavily involved in the daily activities of workers. They assign tasks, guide and supervise to ensure that quality standards are met and deal with any employee problems. Motivating staff and providing performance feedback are also parts of the role.

  • Middle-level managers: Middle-level managers could have job titles such as general, branch or department manager. They may oversee the work of lower-level managers and they are accountable to top-level management. This level of management is heavily involved in the organization of the business and conforming to company policy. The role involves motivating the lower-level management to the best possible performance and monitoring performance indicators. Middle-level managers must resolve any problems between workgroups and implement a reward system for good performance and cooperation.

  • Top-level managers: Top-level managers can be found in roles such as vice-president, president and Chief Executive Officer and the role involves overall control of the company. They create strategic plans and policies and control the direction of the business. A top-level manager is answerable to the shareholders and the general public.

Management functions

It is possible to divide management into separate functions although, in practice, these functions overlap and affect each other. Generally, the management process has the following five functions:

  1. Planning

  2. Organizing

  3. Staffing

  4. Directing

  5. Controlling

1. Planning

Planning means that you create an outline of the course of action needed to achieve a specific goal. You should plan the journey to get from where you are at the momen to where you want to be in the future by thinking about the problems that you could encounter and the decisions you need to make before you can reach your goal. Planning should be a systematic method used to ensure that resources are used properly and without waste. A proper plan should avoid confusion, risk, wastage and uncertainty.

2. Organizing

Organization involves bringing the different types of resources together to achieve the intended goal. The idea is to develop a connection between the personnel, financial and physical resources and provide the course of action with everything it needs to succeed. Organization has different stages that require identifying and classifying business activities, determining what duties are needed and who will perform them and deciding on and coordinating authority and responsibilities.

3. Staffing

Staffing involves finding and overseeing the personnel in the organization with the idea of using the person best suited to any job. The first stage is planning how much work is needed to achieve the business goals, then the proper selection of staff through recruitment, followed by effective training and development, then the correct supervision and management of personnel and finally ongoing appraisal and promotions as indicated.

4. Directing

This managerial function involves supervising, motivating, directing and guiding the staff. It can also be referred to as leading and is concerned with the human workforce of a business. Directing takes the necessary steps for the course of action and actually start the work, rather than make preparations for it as with the previous functions. Direction requires excellent leadership, communication and interpersonal skills.

5. Controlling

A business requires established standards of performance, and the function of controlling is to measure accomplishments against these standards and use suitable corrections if they fall short or deviate in some other way. Control ensures that actions and results all conform to the standard and can predict issues before they happen. It is a way to check that the right amount and direction of progress is taking place and if not, making appropriate changes. Controlling involves establishing standards and measuring performance, determining any deviations from the standard and then taking corrective action.

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