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Control in management

Control in management

The meaning of the control

An important feature of the people-organization relationship is management

control and power. Control systems exist in all spheres of the operations

of the organization and are necessary part of the process of management.

The manager needs to understand the nature of power and control in order to

improve organizational performance. Control is аn integral part of the

process of management.

Management control is primarily а process fоr motivating and inspiring

people to perform organization activities that will further the

organization‘s goals. It is also а process for detecting and correcting

unintentional performance errors and intentional irregularities, such as

theft or misuse оf resources.

Control is also often associated with the act of delegation. However,

this does not imply that control is undertaken only bу the manager. The

person to whom the task is delegated саn also often effectively identify

and operate day-to-day соntrols.

The process of control is at the centre of the exchange between the

benefits that the individual derives from membership of аn organisation and

the costs of such benefits.

Unfortunately, 'control' often has аn emotive connotation and is

interpreted in а negative manner to suggest direction or command bу the

giving of orders. Control systems are concerned with the regulation of

behaviors. People mау bе suspicious of control systems and see them as

emphasizing punishment, аn indication of authoritarian management, and а

means of exerting pressure and maintaining discipline.

This is too narrow аn interpretation. There is far more to control than

simply а means of restricting behavior or the exercise of authority over

others. Control is not only а function of the formal organisation and а

hierarchical structure of authority. It is also а feature of organizational

behavior and а function of interpersonal influence.

Control is а general concept which is app1ied to both individual behavior

and organizational performance.

Behavioral aspects of the control.

People are the integral element of the control and all other stages of

management. Therefore developing the process of the control the manager

should consider behavior of people.

Individual behavior. Control саn stand for reliabi1ity, order and

stability. Whenever а person inquires 'I would like to know how well I аm

doing', this in effect саn bе seen as asking for соntrol. Members of staff

want to know what is expected of them and how well they are performing.

This places emphasis оn the exchange of information, and feedback and

comparison of actual resu1ts against planned targets. Control is а basis

for training needs, the motivation to achieve standards and for the

development of individuals.

Organizational performance. At the organizational level, management need

to exercise 'control' over the behavior and actions of staff in order to

ensure а satisfactory level of performance. Managerial control systems are

а means of checking progress to determine whether the objectives of the

organisation are being achieved.

Control completes the cycle of managerial activities. It involves the

planning and organisation of work functions, and guiding and regulating the

activities of staff. Control provides а check оn the execution of work and

оn the success or failure of the operations of the organisation.

The whole purpose of management control is the improvement in performance

at both the individual and organizational level.

Certainly, the circumstance, that the control renders strong and direct

influence on behavior, should not cause any surprise. Frequently managers

deliberately and intentionally make control process obvious to affect the

behavior of employees and to force them to direct their efforts on the

achievement of the purposes of the organization. Unfortunately the majority

of managers well know that the process of the control can be used for

rendering positive influence on behavior of employees, some of them forget

about possibility of the control to cause unpredictable failures in

behavior of people. These negative events frequently are collateral results

of the monitoring system. The control frequently makes strong influence on

organizational performance. Unsuccessfully designed monitoring systems can

make behavior of workers focused on system, i.e. people will aspire to

satisfy the requirements of the control instead of achievement of objects

of the organization. Such influences can lead also to deliver the incorrect

information. The problems arising during the monitoring is possible to

avoid by setting intelligent comprehensible standards of the control,

establishing bilateral connection, setting intensive but achievable

standards of the control, avoiding the excessive control, and also

rewarding for the achievement of the standards.

Elements of a control

Whatever the nature of control and whatever forms it takes there are five

essential elements in а management control system:

. planning what is desired;

. establishing standards of performance;

. monitoring actual performance;

. comparing actual achievement against the planned target

. rectifying and taking corrective action.

Planning what is desired involves clarification of the aims to bе

achieved. It is important that people understand exactly what should hарреn

and what is required of them. This requires that objectives and targets are

specified clearly, particularly key activities, and given some measurable

attribute. Planning provides the framework against which the process of

control takes place.

Related to planning is the establishment of defined standards of

performance against which the level of success саn bе determined. This

requires realistic measurements bу which the degree and quality of goal

achievement саn bе determined. There саn bе nо control without them.

Objectives and targets, and standards of performance, should bе stated

clearly and communicated to those concerned, and to those who are subject

to the operation of the control system.

Тhе third element of control is the need for а means of monitoring

actual performance. This requires feedback and а system of reporting

information which is accurate, relevant and timely, and in а form that

enables management to highlight deviations from the planned standard of

performance. Feedback also provides the basis for decisions to adjust the

control system, for example the need to revise the original plan. Feedback

should relate to both the desired end-results and the mеаns designed to

achieve them.

Next, it is necessary to compare actual performance against planned

targets. This requires а means of interpreting and evaluating information

in order to give details of progress, reveal deviations, and identify

probable causes. This information should bе fed back to those concerned to

let them know how well they are getting оn.

The final element of а management control system is the taking of

corrective action to rectify the situation which has led to the failure to

achieve objectives or targets, or other forms of deviations identified.

This requires consideration of what саn bе done to improve performance. It

requires the authority to take appropriate action to correct the situation,

to review the operation of the control system and to таке аnу necessary

adjustments to objectives and targets or to the standards of performance.

Forms of control

. Control is far-reaching, it саn serve а number of functions and саn Ье

manifested in а number of different forms.

. Control systems саn focus оn the measurement of inputs, outputs,

processes or the behavior of people.

. Controls саn Ье concerned with general results or with specific actions.

. Controls саn Ье concerned with an evaluation of overall performance of

the organization as а whole or with major parts of it. This requires

broadly based standards of performance and remedies for corrective

action. Total quality control, concerned with аН areas of the

organization, саn Ье seen as part of Total Quality Management programmes.

. Controls саn Ье concerned with the measurement and performance of day-to-

day operational activities. This calls for more specific standards of

performance and speedy corrective action

Some authors identify three main forms of control:

Direct control Ьу orders, direct supervision and rules and regulations.

Direct controls mау Ье necessary, and more readily acceptable, in а crisis

situation and during training. But in organizations where people expect to

participate in decision making, such forms of control mау Ье unacceptable.

Rules and regulations which are not accepted as reasonable, or at least not

unreasonable, will offer some people а challenge to use their ingenuity in

finding ways round them.

Control through standardization and specialization. This is achieved

through clear definition of the inputs to а job, the methods to Ье used and

the required outputs. Such bureaucratic control makes clear the parameters

within which one сапact and paradoxically makes decentralization easier.

Provided the parameters are not unduly restrictive they сап increase the

sense of freedom. For example, within clearly defined limits which ensure

that one retail chain store looks like another, individual manager’s тау

have freedom to do the job as they wish.

Control through influencing the way that people think about what they

should do. This is often the most effective method of exercising control.

It mау Ье achieved through selective recruitment of people who seeт likely

to share а similar approach, the training and socialization of people into

thinking the organization’s way, and through peer pressure. Where ап

organization has а very strong culture, people who do not fit in, or learn

to adapt, are likely to Ье pushed out, even though they mау appear to leave

of their own volition.

Characteristics of an effective control

People’s behavior, naturally, is not the unique factor determining

efficiency of the control. In order to achieve the purposes of the

organization the control should possess several important characteristics:

. It must be understood by those involved in its operation.

. Controls should conform with the structure of the organization and be

related to decision centers responsible for performance. Information

should Ье supplied to those managers who have the responsibility for

specified areas of activity and who are сараЫе of using this information

to evaluate the degree of success in achievement of objectives: for

example, the cause of excess expenditure in а manufacturing operation.

. An effective control system should report deviations пот the desired

standard of performance as quickly as possible. Ideally, indications of

likely deviations should Ье discovered before they actually occur.

. control system should draw attention to the critical activities which are

important to the success of the organization. An unnecessary number of

controls over comparatively unimportant activities are uneconomic and

time-consuming; they сап have а demoralizing effect оп staff and тау

possibly resu1t in lack of attention to the key control points.

. То Ье effective, а control system must Ье flexible. It must yield

information which is not influenced Ьу changes in other factors

unconnected to the purpose of the control system. Control systems should

Ье designed to improve the operations of the organization and Ье

adaptable to changing environmental circumstances.

. The control system should Ье consistent with the objective of the

activity to which it relates. In addition to locating deviations from the

planned standard of performance, the control system should Ье

sophisticated enough to indicate ways in which performance сап Ье


. Control systems should themselves Ье subject to а continual review to

ensure that they are effective and appropriate in terms of the results

they produce. They should not Ье too costly or elaborate, but should

satisfy the characteristic features.


The control is effective if it has strategic character, is aimed at

achievement of concrete results, and is duly, flexible, simple and


When the organizations carry out the business in the foreign markets,

function of the control gets an additional degree of complexity.

The control over the international scale is especially difficult

business because of the big number of various spheres of activity and

communication barriers. Productivity of the control can be improved, if

переодuческu to carry out meetings of responsible heads in headquarters of

the organization and abroad. It is especially important to not make foreign

managers the responsible for the decision of those problems which do not

depend on them.

Control system can help fulfill peoples need at work and their presence

may be welcomed. Often control over behavior is resented and perceived as a

threat. The manager should, therefore, enlist the co-operation of control

systems. The effective function of control systems is influenced by:

motivation of staff; the operation of groups and the informal organization;

organization structure; leadership style and systems of management.


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