Management Process- Directing & Controlling; Role of Management

Directing (Leading)

Directing as a managerial function, deals with guiding and instructing people to do the work in the right manner. Directing/leading is the responsibility of managers at all levels. They have to work as leaders of their subordinates. Clear plans and sound organisation set the stage but it requires a manager to direct and lead his men for achieving the objectives. Directing function is quite comprehensive. It involves Directing as well as raising the morale of subordinates. It also involves communicating, leading and motivating. Leadership is essential on the part of managers for achieving organisational objectives.

Directing is said to be a process in which the managers instruct, guide and oversee the performance of the workers to achieve predetermined goals. Directing is said to be the heart of management process. Planning, organizing, staffing have got no importance if direction function does not take place. Directing initiates action and it is from here actual work starts. Direction is said to be consisting of human factors. In simple words, it can be described as providing guidance to workers is doing work. In field of management, direction is said to be all those activities which are designed to encourage the subordinates to work effectively and efficiently. According to Human, “Directing consists of process or technique by which instruction can be issued and operations can be carried out as originally planned” Therefore, Directing is the function of guiding, inspiring, overseeing and instructing people towards accomplishment of organizational goals.

Directing means giving instructions, guiding, counselling, motivating and leading the staff in an organisation in doing work to achieve Organisational goals. Directing is a key managerial function to be performed by the manager along with planning, organising, staffing and controlling. From top executive to supervisor performs the function of directing and it takes place accordingly wherever superior – subordinate relations exist. Directing is a continuous process initiated at top level and flows to the bottom through organisational hierarchy.

It is that part of managerial function which actuates the organizational methods to work efficiently for achievement of organizational purposes. It is considered life-spark of the enterprise which sets it in motion the action of people because planning, organizing and staffing are the mere preparations for doing the work. Direction is that inert-personnel aspect of management which deals directly with influencing, guiding, supervising, motivating sub-ordinate for the achievement of organizational goals. 

Direction has following elements:

  • Supervision
  • Motivation
  • Leadership
  • Communication

(i) Supervision– implies overseeing the work of subordinates by their superiors. It is the act of watching & directing work & workers.

(ii) Motivation– means inspiring, stimulating or encouraging the sub-ordinates with zeal to work. Positive, negative, monetary, non-monetary incentives may be used for this purpose.

(iii) Leadership– may be defined as a process by which manager guides and influences the work of subordinates in desired direction.

(iv) Communications– is the process of passing information, experience, opinion etc from one person to another. It is a bridge of understanding.

Nature and Characteristic of Directing

Directing is characterized by the following distinguishing features:

1. Element of management. Directing is one of the important functions of management. It is through direction that management initiates action in the organization.

2. Continuing function. Direction is continuous process and it continues throughout the life of an organization. A manager never ceases to guide, inspire and supervise his subordinates. A manager can not get things done simply by issuing orders and instruction. He must continually provide motivation and leadership to get the orders and instructions executed.

3. Pervasive function. Direction initiates at the top and follows right up to the bottom of an organization. Every manager in the organization gives direction to his subordinates as superior and receives direction as subordinates from his superior. Direction function is performed at every level of management and in every department of the organization.

4. Creative function. Direction makes things happen and converts plans into performance it is the process around which all performance revolves. Without direction, human forces in an organization become inactive and consequently physical factors become useless. It breathes life into organization.

5. Linking function. Planning, organizing and staffing are merely preparation for doing the work and work actually starts when managers perform the directing function. Direction puts plans into an action and provides performance for measurement and control. In this way, directing serves as a connecting link between planning and control.

6. Management of human factor. Direction is the interpersonal aspects of management. It deals with the human aspect of organization. Human behavior is very dynamic and is conditioned by a complex of forces about which not much is known. Therefore, direction is a very difficult and challenging function.

Principles of Directing

Directing is a complex function as it deals with people whose behaviour is unpredictable. Effective direction is an art which a manager can learn and perfect through practice. However, managers can follow the following principles while directing their subordinates.

1. Harmony of objectives. Individuals join the organization to satisfy their physiological and psychological needs. They are expected to work for the achievement of organizational objectives. They will perform their tasks better if they feel that it will satisfy their personal goals.

2. Maximum individual contribution. Organizational objectives are achieved at the optimum level when every individual in the organization makes maximum contribution towards them. Managers should, therefore, try to elicit maximum possible contribution from each subordinate. 

3. Unity of command. A subordinate should get orders and instruction from one superior only. If he is made accountable to two bosses simultaneously, there will be confusion, conflict, disorder and indiscipline in the organization. Therefore, every subordinate should be asked to report to only one manager.

4. Appropriate techniques. The manager should use correct direction techniques to ensure efficiently of direction. The technique used should be suitable to the superior, the subordinates and the situation.

5. Direct supervision. Direction becomes more effective when there is a direct personal contact between the superior and his subordinates. Such contact improves the morale and commitment of the employees. Therefore, whenever possible direct supervision should be used.

6. Managerial communication. A good system of communication between the superior and his subordinates helps to improve mutual understanding. Upwards communication helps a manager to understand the subordinates to express their feeling.


Controlling is an important function of management. It is necessary in the case of individuals and departments so as to avoid wrong actions and activities. Controlling involves three broad aspects: (a) establishing standards of performance, (b) measuring work in progress and interpreting results achieved, and (c) taking corrective actions, if required. Business plans do not give positive results automatically. Managers have to exercise effective control in order to bring success to a business plan. Control is closely linked with other managerial functions. It is rightly treated as the soul of management process. It is true that without planning there will be nothing to control It is equally true that without control planning will be only an academic exercise Controlling is a continuous activity of a supervisory nature.

Controlling consists of verifying whether everything occurs in confirmities with the plans adopted, instructions issued and principles established. Controlling ensures that there is effective and efficient utilization of organizational resources so as to achieve the planned goals. Controlling measures the deviation of actual performance from the standard performance, discovers the causes of such deviations and helps in taking corrective actions

According to Brech, “Controlling is a systematic exercise which is called as a process of checking actual performance against the standards or plans with a view to ensure adequate progress and also recording such experience as is gained as a contribution to possible future needs.”

Controlling has got two basic purposes

  1. It facilitates co-ordination
  2. It helps in planning

Features of Controlling Function

Following are the characteristics of controlling function of management-

  1. Controlling is an end function- A function which comes once the performances are made in confirmities with plans.
  2. Controlling is a pervasive function- which means it is performed by managers at all levels and in all type of concerns.
  3. Controlling is forward looking- because effective control is not possible without past being controlled. Controlling always look to future so that follow-up can be made whenever required.
  4. Controlling is a dynamic process- since controlling requires taking reviewal methods, changes have to be made wherever possible.
  5. Controlling is related with planning- Planning and Controlling are two inseperable functions of management. Without planning, controlling is a meaningless exercise and without controlling, planning is useless. Planning presupposes controlling and controlling succeeds planning.

Importance of Controlling:

The significance of the controlling function in an organisation is as follows:

1. Accomplishing Organisational Goals: Controlling helps in comparing the actual performance with the predetermined standards, finding out deviation and taking corrective measures to ensure that the activities are performed according to plans. Thus, it helps in achieving organisational goals.

2. Judging Accuracy of Standards: An efficient control system helps in judging the accuracy of standards. It further helps in reviewing & revising the standards according to the changes in the organisation and the environment.

3. Making Efficient Use of Resources: Controlling checks the working of employees at each and every stage of operations. Hence, it ensures effective and efficient use of all resources in an organisation with minimum wastage or spoilage.

4. Improving Employee Motivation: Employees know the standards against which their performance will be judged. Systematic evaluation of performance and consequent rewards in the form of increment, bonus, promotion etc. motivate the employees to put in their best efforts.

5. Ensuring Order and Discipline: Controlling ensures a close check on the activities of the employees. Hence, it helps in reducing the dishonest behaviour of the employees and in creating order and discipline in an organization.

6. Facilitating Coordination in Action: Controlling helps in providing a common direction to the all the activities of different departments and efforts of individuals for attaining the organizational objectives.

Limitations of Controlling:

The defects or limitations of controlling are as following:

1. Difficulty in Setting Quantitative Standards: It becomes very difficult to compare the actual performance with the predetermined standards, if these standards are not expressed in quantitative terms. This is especially so in areas of job satisfaction, human behaviour and employee morale.

2. No Control on External Factors: An organization fails to have control on external factors like technological changes, competition, government policies, changes in taste of consumers etc.

3. Resistance from Employees: Often employees resist the control systems since they consider them as curbs on their freedom. For example, surveillance through closed circuit television (CCTV).

4. Costly Affair: Controlling involves a lot of expenditure, time and effort, thus it is a costly affair. Managers are required to ensure that the cost involved in installing and operating a control system should not be more than the benefits expected from it.

The Role of Management in Organisation

The significance of ‘Management’ may be enumerated in the following paragraphs:

1. Meeting the Challenge of Change

Challenge of change has become intense and critical in recent years. The complexities of modern business can be overcome only through scientific management.

2. Effective Utilization of the Seven M’s

There are seven M’s in business, such as Men, Materials, Money, Machines, Methods, Markets and Management. Management stands at the top of all these M’s and determines and controls all other factors of business.

3. Directs the Organization

Just as the mind which directs and controls the body to fulfill its desires, management also directs and controls the organization to achieve the desired goal

4. Integrates Various Interests

In the group efforts, there are various interest groups which put pressure over other groups for maximum share in the final output. Management by balancing these pressures integrates the various interests.

5. Provides Stability

It provides stability in the society by changing and modifying the resources to cope up with the demanding needs of the every changing environment of the society.

6. Provides Innovation

Management provides new ideas, imaginations and visions to the organization and necessary life for better and greater performance.

7. Establishes Team-spirit

Management coordinates the activities of the various departments in an organization and establishes team-spirit among the personnel.

8. Tackles Business Problems

Good management serves as a friend, philosopher and guide in tackling business problems. It provides a tool for the best way of doing a task.

9. Acts as a Tool of Personality Development

Management is not the direction of things, but the development of men. It makes the personality of the people. Management strives to improve quality, efficiency and productivity.

Contribution of management to society

The management contributes in the following ways to a complex society:

1. It tries to make effective utilization of resources,

2. It develops various resources,

3. It balances the pressures from various interest groups,

4 It provides stability in the society by changing and modifying the resources as per the changing environment of the society, and

5. It provides integration between traditions and new inventions and protects the society from the mal-effects of inventions so that continuity in the social process may be maintained.

Limitations of Management

Like other social sciences, management is also subject to certain limitations. They are as follows:

1. Management techniques and policies should be adjusted according to specific circumstances. One principle may be good for one enterprise, but it may not be suitable for another enterprise. Likewise, a technique may be extremely useful in England, but it may be unworkable in India.

2. Principles of management are not static in nature. The concepts about management changes with the development of science and technology. New ideas are innovated, new products being put on the market, new likes and dislikes are developing every year. So what was successful in 2015 may lead to failure in 2016. Thus, a great deal of adjustment is to be done to cope with the changing times.

3. Management is concerned with human element in an organization. Different groups and different persons even in the same group, behave differently under different circumstances. This human aspect of management provides the greater challenge to its scientific treatment.

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