Planning is concerned with the determination of the objectives to be achieved and the course of action to be followed to achieve them. Before starting any action, one has to decide how the work will be performed and where and how it has to be performed. Thus, planning implies decision-making as to what is to be done, how it is to be done, when it is to be done and by whom it is to done. Planning helps in achieving the objectives efficiently and effectively. Planning involves selecting of objectives and strategies, policies and programmes and procedures for achieving them.
Planning function is performed by managers at every level because planning may either be for the entire enterprise or for any section or department thereof. Planning pervades the entire gamut of managerial activity, and also it is continuous and never-ending. While the managers at the top level devote more time on planning, the managers at the lower level follow the policies, programmes and procedures laid down by the top management.
For any business activity, planning is a prerequisite for doing anything and also to ensure the proper utilisation of the resources of the business concern to achieve the desired goals. Plans can be classified into standing plans and single-use plans. Standing plans include objectives, policies, procedures, methods and rules and single-use plans include budgets, programmes, strategies and projects.
According to Fayol, "to organise a business is to provide it with everything useful to its functioning — raw materials, tools, capital and personnel." Thus, organising involves bringing together the manpower and material resources for the achievement of objectives laid down by the enterprise. Organising involves the following process:
(a) determining and defining the activities involved in achieving the objectives laid down by the management;
(b) grouping the activities in a logical pattern;
(c) assigning the activities to specific positions and people; and
(d) delegating authority to their positions and people so as to enable them to perform the activities assigned to them.
Organising function helps in increasing the efficiency of the enterprise. Further, by avoiding repetition and duplication of activities, it reduces the operation cost of the enterprise.
But organising function can be useful to the enterprise only when there are clear and verifiable objectives and clear understanding of the activities needed to achieve the objectives and clear definition of the authority assigned to the managers at every level.
Every enterprise is very much concerned with the quality of its people, especially its managers. The staffing function is concerned with this aspect of management. According to Harold Koontz and Cyril O'Donell, "the managerial function of staffing involves manning the organisational structure through proper and effective selection, appraisal and development of personnel to fill the roles designed into the structure." Thus, the staffing functions involve:
(a) proper selection of candidates for positions;
(b) proper remuneration;
(c) proper training and development so as to enable them to discharge their organisational functions effectively; and
(d) proper evaluation of personnel.
Staffing function is performed by every manager of the enterprise as he is actively associated with the recruitment, selection, training and appraisal of his subordinates. For example, the Board of Directors of the enterprise undertakes the staffing function by selecting and appraising the Chief Executive who, in turn, performs these functions in relation to his subordinates like divisional heads or departmental heads of the enterprise. Similarly, departmental heads or their subordinates also perform the staffing function.
Staffing function is a difficult managerial function because it is concerned with the selection of persons who are properly qualified and mentally well-adjusted to the situations.
Directing is one of the important functions of management and is the art and process of getting things done. While other functions like planning, organising and staffing are merely preparations for doing the work, the directing function actually starts the work.
Directing is concerned with actuating the members of the organisation to work efficiently and effectively for the attainment of organisation goals. Directing involves the manager telling the subordinates how they have to perform jobs assigned to them. It is concerned with guiding, supervising and motivating the subordinates for achieving the enterprise objectives. According to Joseph Massie, "Directing concerns the total manner in which a manager influences the action of his subordinates. It is the final action of a manager in getting others to act after all preparations have been completed."
Directing consists of the following four sub-functions:
1. Communication or issuing of orders and instructions to subordinates. A manager has to instruct the subordinates what to do, how to do it and when to do it.
2. Guiding, energising and leading the subordinates to perform the work systematically and also building up among workers confidence and zeal in the work to be performed.
3. Inspiring the subordinated to do work with interest and enthusiasm for the accomplishment of the enterprise's objectives.
4. Exercising supervision over the subordinates to ensure that the work done by them is in conformity with the objectives that are determined.
Controlling is related to all other management functions. It is concerned with seeing whether the activities have been or being performed in conformity with the plans. According to Haimann, "Control is the process of checking to determine whether or not, proper progress is being made towards the objectives and goals and acting if necessary to correct any deviation." Koontz and O'Donnell have defined controlling "as the measurement and correction of the performance of activities of subordinates in order to make sure that enterprise's objectives and the plans devised to attain them are being accomplished." Thus, controlling involves the following sub-functions:
(a) Determination of standards for measuring work performance.
(b) Measurement of actual performance.
(c) Comparing actual performance with the standards.
(d) Finding variances between the two and reasons for variances.
(e) Taking corrective actions to ensure attainment of objectives.
For control to be effective and fruitful, it must be based on a plan; there must be measurement of actual performance to ascertain deviations and to take action to remedy the deviations.