While running your small business, you are tasked with ensuring that your team achieves your organizational objectives. In order to make that happen, it’s critical that your employees have the support, skills and resources they need to do their jobs. Organization as a management function involves arranging your employees, finances and technology in such a way that your business can meet its objectives.
There are several theories on the aspects of management, which define what different functions make up the leadership role. While the functions are organized differently for each theory, they can be summed up in five common elements:
- Planning: A critical managerial function, this involves creating a framework, strategy and detailed plan for how to achieve an organizational objective. It’s an ongoing task that needs to be reviewed and completed on a regular basis, such as every month or quarter. For example, one of your organizational objectives may be to improve profitability by 10%. In order to do that, the plan may include ways to decrease cost per customer acquisition by initiating a loyalty program and switching suppliers to one that can provide more favorable rates.
- Organizing: This function oversees how the company functions on a granular level with day-to-day tasks. In order to do this, managers need to bring together human, financial and technological resources in order to achieve the company’s goals. By ensuring efficiency and structure, organizing helps employees to do their jobs more effectively. For example, if one of the company’s objectives is to run a multi-tiered marketing campaign, the manager would need to ensure that the marketing department has the budget it needs to execute the campaign and the authority, skills and expertise it needs to see it through.
- Staffing: Closely related to organizing, this function ensures that the right people are in the right positions and that the company has the right amount of employees. For example, if Mark is a strong accountant, then making him head of marketing may be a mistake because that’s not where his strengths lie. This function is often seen as a part of organizing.
- Directing or leading: This function ensures that employees have the motivation and inspiration they need to do their jobs in a productive manner. It may involve meeting with employees on a regular basis to discuss day-to-day processes and getting their feedback on elements that can be improved.
- Controlling: This function is about making sure that the company is on track to reach its objectives without any deviation. It involves reviewing key performance indicators (KPIs) on a regular basis and making changes in the plan as necessary to ensure the company hits its milestones.
Organization provides structure to a business by ensuring that the appropriate resources are in place to best help the company achieve its goals. Resources can vary, from financial budgets to technical solutions to employees. It’s about providing the company with the support and structure it needs to execute its plans and meet its targets. Some of the critical elements of organizing as a management function include:
- Well-defined roles: In order for employees to work effectively, they need to have a clear understanding of their job and the outcomes they need to achieve. Managers need to outline the expectations of each role.
- Clarified organizational structure: In many organizations, the hierarchy of the team is a vital element that contributes to productivity. When employees know who is in charge, they are able to seek guidance to overcome their obstacles.
- Strong budget administration: A vital part of organizing is to properly allocate the budget so employees have the resources they need to complete their tasks.
- Technical proficiency: In almost every industry, technology plays a lead role. Whether it’s a new software to manage projects or a piece of warehouse equipment to reduce injuries, managers need to provide their teams with the support systems they need to succeed.
- Goal setting and communication: In order to bring the team together, it’s vital for managers to communicate the goals they are trying to achieve individually and as a team. For example, if a bakery is trying to increase its sales, each employee has a role to play in achieving that goal. The cashier has to check out the customers, the bakers have to produce the product and the customer service representative has to showcase the product and entice customers to make a purchase.
These notes on organizing in management can help company leaders to ensure they are effectively providing their teams with the support that is necessary to meet the key performance indicators. If a manager fails in one area of the organizing function, the teams may not be able to do their tasks as effectively, and as a result, the company may fall behind on its goals.
There are four key steps in the organizing function of management. Managers need to:
- Identify and divide the tasks: This involves clarifying the different roles, processes and activities that are required to achieve the goals. Dividing the work into smaller units helps create tasks for each individual team or employee. Activities may include greeting customers and answering questions, cashing out customers and stocking shelves.
- Assign resources: Once the tasks are defined, it’s time to assign them to individual employees and teams and provide those people with the financial or technological support they need to execute those tasks. For example, all tasks related to advertising and promotions can be assigned to marketing employees, whereas all tasks related to storing and shipping products can be assigned to the warehouse team.
- Create responsibility and authority: It’s vital for employees to know who is leading them. This may involve assigning a team leader or middle manager to ensure that all the tasks are completed. The manager doesn’t need to hold all authority himself. He can delegate authority to other senior employees. For example, one of the customer service representatives can be promoted to team leader, holding the responsibility of ensuring that the others complete their tasks.
- Coordinate responsibility and authority: This is a key step in managerial organization, ensuring that all of the functions are aligned within the company. Managers need to communicate who has authority and responsibility for the major directives throughout the organization. For example, if two employees in different departments are in charge of improving customer satisfaction, they need to work together with their teams. Managers may also need to coordinate with other managers who are at the same level or higher in the hierarchy to ensure that there are no conflicts and that goals are aligned.
There are several principles of organization as a management function. Businesses can select one or more to develop the organizational structure that meets their needs. For example, the specialization principle is about dividing work based on skill and quality of work. On the other hand, the functional principle is about dividing work based on the major roles of each department. For example, any accounting tasks should be designated to the accounting department.
The span of control principle looks at the number of employees who can be overseen by a single manager. In a narrow span of control, the manager doesn’t control many people. This is useful for teams where the subordinates have their own areas of expertise, such as trades or crafts. In a wide span of control, the manager oversees a large group of employees, resulting in less overhead and better coordination.
The unity of command principle is about improving communication and using resources effectively. One subordinate reports to one manager at a time, so there is a linear chain of command.