What is Management?


What is management theory?

Management theory is a set of ideas and rules for helping supervisors/managers:

  1. to know the goals of the organisation;
  2. to plan work required to achieve the goals of the organisation in the most efficient and effective way possible; and
  3. to understand what motivates people to work when achieving the goals of the organisation.

Management expert Mary Parker Follett succintly defined management as '...the art of getting things done through people.'

A slightly longer and older definition of management is shown in the following quote:

"...process of planning, organising, leading and controlling the work of organisation members and of using all available organisation resources to reach specific organisation goals." (Source: Stoner, Yetton, Craig, Johnston. 1994)

Is management theory a form of psychology theory?

Yes. Management theory goes hand-in-hand with behaviour modification, reinforcement and other ideas derived from psychology books.

The practical experience behind management began during the industrial revolution in the early 18th century. The theory, however, was developed during the golden age of 1919 and 1925 with the establishment of scientific management schools teaching the latest ideas published in psychology journals and books.

Later, the extraction of core management principles (mainly of a traditional and mechanistic variety) became the norm in 1990s following reductions in resources and the need to maximise profit by business professionals.

And now, in the 21st century, a revolution is taking place where ideas of shifting management power to the employee in a process called self-management is becoming the norm for just about everyone.

NOTE: What will happen after that is anyone's guess. But if managers and employees are not put in a constant survival-mode, the idea of self-management should last for many centuries to come.

What is a supervisor/manager?

A person described as a supervisor or manager is generally used to indicate an expert or perhaps a leader of something. The person may also be described as someone who makes decisions or exercises authority.

There are numerous other terms used to mean the same thing. The most common of which are "Director", "manager", "employer" and "boss".

What does a manager do?

On a general level, every manager in an organisation performs what are called "The Big Four". They are:

    Defining the goals, establishing strategy, and developing subplans to coordinate activities.

    Determining what needs to be done, how it will be done, and who is to do it.

    Directing and motivating all involved parties and resolving any conflicts that arise.

    Monitoring of performance to ensure the goals are met.