Fundamentals of management and classification of management functions

Fundamentals of management and classification of management functions

The organization of management is one of the main sections of the science of systems management in the social field and one of the directions for improving management in social practice.

The term management organization means both the process of establishing a state of order in a system and the result of this process.
The presentation addresses the issue of the nature and classification of management functions.

The functions of management, which reflect the features of the management itself, are most often considered in two aspects:

form of manifestation of the purposeful impact on the object of management;

Stage of the management cycle.

The nature and content of the main management functions are revealed in terms of the targeted impact of the control subsystem on the managed subsystem, where there may be two real options of impact – the whole control subsystem to affect the whole managed subsystem and part of the control subsystem. affects part of the managed subsystem. On this basis, in the control subsystem, we can distinguish management functions, which are a form of manifestation of the purposeful impact on the object of management. These functions are integral parts of the management process in all its levels of management.

Planning is a form of targeted impact on people and groups of people. Reference: “Planning the activities of the organization”,

It envisages the development and setting of goals and tasks in the field of management, as well as the determination of the ways and means for the implementation of the plans for achieving the set goals.

The organization envisages the creation of new and the arrangement of functioning organizational structures for management as elements of the process for the realization of the plans. Reference: “The strategic planning process in the organization”,

Motivation encourages actions that ensure the effectiveness of the management system

Control – systematic monitoring of the activities of people to detect deviations from the established norms and rules required in the process of implementation of plans.

Each management cycle has some time limits and is carried out in successive stages, filled with functional content.

Goal setting is a conditional beginning of the management process and is the first phase and main function of management. This is a strategic function – a core in management. Formulates goals that are set by the highest levels of management of the organization.

The planning determines the ways and means for the realization of the set goals. In the plan, the setting of one goal is realized through the implementation of dozens of planned indicators

The organization creates the necessary organizational conditions for the implementation of the plan and hence the goals, or in short the process of improving the organization

Controlling is a phase through which the verification of what should have been achieved through the planning and organizational decisions is performed. Reference: “Tools and control systems in project management“,

Regulation is a phase through which the established regulatory problems of the control phase are overcome.
Functional management analysis is a complex function to identify and classify its sub-functions.

The essence of the concept of “management functions”

One of the main problems of the organization of management in the economic field is the disclosure of the complex functions of management that are necessary to ensure the normal functioning of a system and their rational distribution among the various management bodies.

When considering the concept of “control functions”, a function should be understood as an invariant mode of action or behavior of a system in its interaction with the environment.

Given that various phenomena, processes, objects (real and abstract), as well as their associations or components, can be defined as systems, the scope of the concept of “function” is wide. The function is always associated with the object that implements it. Separated from its performer, it can exist only in the consciousness of man, in his mental activity, but not in reality.

Within social systems such as production and economic organizations and their subdivisions, the management functions are specified as activities and operations of the management bodies, which in their totality realize the real management process.

Management functions – these are the activities and operations through which the management bodies carry out in practice the management in a given system. Regarding the condition and behavior of the managed objects, they are an expression of the impact of the control apparatus.

The functions of the management system

The functions of the management system, respectively of its bodies, are objectively determined by the need to ensure quantitative proportionality, spatial definition, and synchronicity in time in the functioning and development of the managed objects.

It follows that one of the main tasks of the management organization is to ensure compliance between the functions performed by the management bodies and the system of objectively necessary management functions.

Another consideration that needs to be specified in the examination of the issue is related to the management functions, considered as real functions of real bodies.

They represent specialized types of management activity and they express a certain system of division of labor in management. It was formed under the influence of many factors of socio-economic and historical nature. So at each specific historical period, the potential possibility for division of managerial labor in a different way becomes a reality and each real system of management functions is specifically historically determined.

The analysis of management functions should be accompanied by an analysis of their objective bases, ie. analysis of the objective possibility for division of managerial work, as well as of the conditions and preconditions that should be present for this possibility to become a reality.

The set of management functions constitutes the content of management as a whole, and the individual functions – its components. Thus, management in its entirety is a complex function of a complex body, and the system of management functions – its components, subsystems of this complex function.

The conclusion that can be drawn from what has been written so far is that the functions of management are an expression of the objective possibility to dissect the entire process of management of its components.

In a general theoretical aspect, the function refers to the structure, as the content to the form, ie. content is functions, and structure is their form. Leading in this unity is the set of functions performed by a given governing body, but the degree of adequacy of the structure can both stimulate and hinder the implementation of this set of functions.

From the analogy with “form-content” it should be noted that first, the construction of organizational management structures must be preceded by in-depth functional analysis in strict compliance with the principle that not the body gives birth to the function, but on the contrary – the function gives birth to the body.

Otherwise, there is a danger of aggravation of the structure with redundant units, parallelism, and duplication in the performance of some functions and non-performance or irrational performance of other functions.

The disclosure of the complex of management functions, which are necessary and sufficient to ensure the normal functioning of a given system, is a basic prerequisite for their rational distribution among the various management bodies. Therefore, this issue is one of the central problems of the organization of governance in social systems.

Criteria for decomposing management as a complex function

The functional analysis of management is carried out based on many criteria, the main of which are:

Sectoral distribution of the respective social area. On this basis, the functions of the management of industry, trade, culture, sports, etc. are distinguished.

The specifics of people management as elements of the social system. Based on this criterion, a distinction is made between the managerial activity of managing people and human collectives, and the functions of managing the material and energy processes related to the transformation of labor into products of labor and the circulation of the social product.

In this sense, the management activity, ie. the functions of managers have an independent place in the system of management functions.

The focus of management processes within the social organization itself. On this basis, the groups of functions for management of different types of social or economic activities are distinguished, such as objects of management – supply management, capital construction management, human resources management, etc.

The nature and content of the activities and operations performed in a certain technological sequence and constituting the content of the management process. In this way, management functions are distinguished from the type of planning, reporting, control, etc. These are the differentiated managerial functions as a result of the “technological” division of managerial work.

Classification of management functions

The whole system of management functions is divided into two main groups:

1. decision-making functions (respectively functions containing decision-making as an element);
2. functions for information provision of the taken decisions.

The first group of basic management functions can include management functions such as planning, standardization, organization, organizational design, design, regulation, and others.

The functions related to reporting, control, analysis, estimating, modeling are logical to be assigned to the information support functions.

The predominant part of the decisions in the practice of social management is taken in the implementation of these management functions. These are all solutions that are relatively uniform and repeatable.

Decisions that are non-standard or incidental are developed and taken on a case-by-case basis. These are usually decisions related to the strategy of the system, the definition of its main goals and directions of development, as well as the criteria by which the degree of achievement of the goals will be assessed.

They remain outside the system of management functions. Concerning them, decision-making is differentiated as an independent function.

For the rational distribution of management functions between the different management bodies, special attention should be paid to the analysis of their objective bases, ie. what is the objective possibility of the complex function “management” to be divided into its constituent functions.

Management is a monolithic information process

At the highest level of abstraction, management is seen as a simple, monolithic information process that can be broken down into its constituent parts only in a diachronic aspect, ie. of successively changing operations, phases.

And since from this point of view each process management consists of activities and operations for receiving, processing, and transmitting information, to decide on this basis, this dismemberment leads to the disclosure of the so-called. management information structure.

As a result of this analysis, the universality of the solution is revealed as an inevitable moment, a stage of any management process.

The sole purpose of all activities, operations, and procedures for the registration, transmission, processing, and storage of information is to provide information for one or another solution. If as a result of these information processes no decision is made, there is simply no management process – where there is no solution there is no management.

Next, a lower level of abstraction aims to establish the differences between completed management processes depending on their role in ensuring the functioning and development of the system.

Insofar as the decision is the basis of each completed management process, this stage of the analysis is based on the specifics of the decisions taken in their implementation.

It is known that depending on their functional role, decisions can be divided into two groups – goal-setting and regulatory.

It is also known that regulation is a simple type and special case of control, where the system is maintained in a certain predetermined state.

The regulatory processes are based on information about the degree of discrepancy of the actual situation with the set, with the goals set before the system. They ensure the stability of the system over some time. In general, they are based on the principle of negative feedback.

Goal setting

Goal setting (state setting) is carried out based on information about the correspondence between the goals pursued by the system (set state) and the objective opportunities for favorable development, which are provided by its internal and external environment.

As a result of the processing of the information coming from the managed objects and from the external environment, as well as of the information stored in its memory, the positive and negative tendencies in the overall development of the organization are established.

This allows to formulate new goals and set new tasks for it, ie. to be given a new state, the maintenance of which will be ensured by the subsequent regulatory processes. So it is through goal setting that the development of the system can be ensured.

In a logical aspect, the sequential connection of goal setting and regulation forms a kind of micro process of control, which conditionally speaking, begins with setting the state, with goal setting and through regulation continues with maintaining the system in this state until a new state is set. Thus, the management acquires a kind of cyclical nature.

In the specialized literature, this approach is most widely used in the classification of management functions, which is based on the nature and content of the management process. Follow Henri Fayol’s formula – to administer means to anticipate, to organize, to command, to coordinate, and to control.

Modifications to the Fayol management classification usually come down to replacing foresight with planning, disposing of leadership or motivation – a different content is used, but not a different approach. Reference: “The five functions of Fayol’s management”,

Example classification of the main management functions:

  • Decision-making functions (or containing decision-making as a moment).
  • Purposeful functions – planning, standardization, organization, programming;
  • Regulation.
  • The information providing functions – reporting, control, analysis, estimation, modeling.

Planning is the main management function

Planning is not just making a preliminary decision for a certain future state of the system, but also a methodology, a tool for developing a set of interconnected solutions to ensure coordination and synchrony in the functioning and development of the system as a whole and its subsystems. Most often the planning applies to the quantitative parameters of the systems, ie. it usually answers the question “how much”.

Another form of goal-setting decision-making is standardization. In its essence, it is a preliminary solution of a whole class of uniform management tasks, which eliminates the need to collect and process information for each case.

Therefore, the existence of a system of norms and standards greatly facilitates the information system.

The characteristic of rationing is that it is usually applied to such parameters of the system, which are objectively determined by natural or economic laws. Depending on them, these parameters should be maintained at a certain level or within certain limits for the system to function normally. Therefore, rationing is, in a sense, more of research activity to uncover these boundaries.

In programming, considered as a management function, issues related to the preliminary determination of the chronological sequence of complex processes are solved.

The effectiveness of programming is determined by the knowledge of the laws to which the managed processes and objects are subject.
Objects and processes for which the subject of management has complete, accurate, and reliable information can be classified as deterministic systems and one of the best ways for their effective management is programmed management.

The organization is usually seen as a function that establishes and maintains a state of order between the subsystems and the elements of a system, to ensure their continuous readiness to act to achieve the objectives.

What is organizing?

The organization includes both setting the state of the organization in a given system (organizational regulation) and maintaining the organization as a system in its given state (regulation).

With the development of the theory and practice of scientific management, there is a tendency to differentiate the setting of the state of the organization as an independent management function in the form of the so-called. organizational design. Organizational design is one of the main and most effective methods of regulating organizational processes in a system.

As a management function, regulation exists mainly in the form of the so-called operational management, ie continuous monitoring of whether the actual state of the system parameters corresponds to the set values ​​and on this basis deciding to eliminate or compensate for any deviations.

The purpose of the information-providing functions is reduced to the registration, systematization, and processing of information about the phenomena and processes taking place in a system to establish the state and trends in its functioning and development and possible ways to influence the achievement of goals.

Accountability is the main information-providing function. It is the main channel for feedback. Its functional role is: to capture, systematize and summarize information about the management processes and the state of the environment.

From the information point of view, the control can be considered as a duplicate channel for feedback information, the purpose of which is to compensate for the deformation of the information under the influence of various disturbing influences and to increase the reliability of the information system.

Management of social systems

In the management of social systems, two types of control are of special importance – financial-economic and managerial.

The task of financial and economic control is to ensure sufficient reliability of the information concerning the use of material resources and funds following the legal provisions, internal norms, and the decisions taken by the competent authorities.

Management (administrative) control is primarily related to the management of people in a system.

It is known that as a device for processing and storing information, people are characterized by a low degree of reliability. This requires a system for monitoring the compliance between the actions of the contractors and the goals and objectives set before them.

In modern management practice, management control is generally carried out by the head of the various structural units concerning their subordinates. Reference: “Top tips and trends for managers in 2021”,

Sometimes it is necessary to separate the control and separate it from the other functions of the managers and to present it for implementation to specialized management bodies.

Analysis as a management function is a study of the state of a system to establish the direction and strength of the factors that have contributed or counteracted its achievement. On this basis, it is possible in the development of future management impacts to eliminate or compensate for the effects of various disruptive impacts and to create favorable conditions for the development of processes that are consistent with the objectives of the system.

Forecasting is an independent management function

Forecasting is established as an independent management function in connection with the accelerated development of quantitative methods and technical means for registration, processing, transmission, and storage of information and their widespread entry into social practice.

In essence, forecasting is a special methodology for processing and analyzing data on the state of the system and the environment to obtain preliminary knowledge for a relatively distant period in the future assuming many factors influencing the behavior and development of the system.

In connection with the development of quantitative methods for mathematical modeling of the state and behavior of very complex systems, in the presence of adequate computer technology for real-time solving of related tasks, the separation of modeling as an independent function is noticeable.

With it, utilizing computer simulation, the behavior of a system conditionally experiments, to determine what effect the application of one or another control influences would have on different combinations of contributing and counteracting factors.

The two main problems that need to be addressed in the organization of management are related to its functions and structure. The presence of an organization in a system presupposes a certain distribution of the functions of the management system between the different management bodies.

That is why the methods and forms for linking the functions of the system with its structure are the main problems of the organization.

By Michael Young

Michael Young is the chief publisher of and is passionate about all project management and business management disciplines from the modern education programs presented by the popular universities in the United States (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK)

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