Why Management Matters

As a business student one of the words that you always encounter is management. There are so many interpretations, definitions, models, publications and books dedicated to this particular word. For a word so exploited it is sometimes under-appreciated. I can understand why people sometimes detest hearing the word management.

In my experience the moment a competent manager walks in and takes care of business people associate management with something positive. Incompetent and ineffective managers though create negative experiences and nightmarish stories. For the people involved management is an experience. When looking at the set of activities a process reveals itself.

My favourite short definition for management, more specifically the management process is simple:

  • Analysis: what is the situation?
  • Planning: what to do/make and when?
  • Implementation: the application of the plans.
  • Control: is the application of the plans going badly, well and what can or has to be improved?
  • Analysis-planning-implementation-control.

In some definitions the emphasis is on the efficient and effective use of (organisational) resources for the realisation of (organisational) objectives through planning, organisation, leading, execution and control. The options keep adding up when you know how to rephrase the jargon. Jargon is jargon-tastic indeed.

In practice the situation is less about jargon and more about owners, their investments in organisation, their goals and how to realise those goals. Often the moment the organisation consist of more than about eight people a division of tasks becomes unavoidable. Specialised tasks require people to specialise in a limited task set.

The larger the organisation becomes the bigger the distance between the owners and the actual operations tends to become. Look at organisations that have national or international operation like Nike, Inditex and Toyota among others. When this distance increases competent and effective management on several levels is needed.

When things go wrong the managers who are responsible have to fix it. Think of the GM debacle with cars that had technical issues because accountants ran the assembly lines. When John Oliver can ridicule your company this much something is going really wrong. This post on autoblog.com is quite telling.

I can still remember how at my previous school the IT-systems had so many issues that people stressed out about even registering for exams and worsened existing problems on location. I left that school.

Management matters because it can make or break the organisation. It is not easy…