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The definition of management that stands out and is perhaps the most widely recognised is: "management is about getting things done through other people". According to the text books the primary functions of management are, planning, organising, controlling and leading. All these issues will be covered in this book however alone they are inadequate in describing what management is really all about. Lets start by defining the core issues with which management is concerned.

Renowned management writer Peter Drucker introduced the concepts of efficiency and effectiveness. Drucker sees efficiency as "doing things right" and effectiveness as "doing the right things". The problem with being efficient alone is that you can efficiently produce a bunch of less than desirable goods or services, or even efficiently run and ineffective operation that creates no customer value at all. If 'companies only exist to serve customers' (which they do) and if the organisation is not effectively customer focussed as first priority... all the efficiency that we can muster will be of no use at all. You might think that this is common sense however many new ventures, including a large number of dot-coms in the late nineties where extremely efficient technically, however in market terms were totally ineffective, hence the crashes.

Henry Mintzberg offers managers three areas of competence or roles central to our responsibilities as a manager that we should also consider. These he calls: "interpersonal", "informational" and "decisional". Our "interpersonal" responsibilities include being the figurehead, providing the central liaison point and acting as the leader. "Informational" responsibilities include monitoring activity, disseminating information and acting as spokesperson for the group. Finally "decisional" activities are, being entrepreneurial, handling disruptions, allocating resources and negotiating on behalf of the organisation. These issues will also be expanded in the various sections that follow.

Management from my experience is about all the above however today it is so interwoven with leadership that perhaps if you stroll around the rest of orglearn some of my other offerings will shed further light on what we need to think about.

The next article on management is:


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