Answers to Questions on Theory and Practice in Management


In almost every human organization and business activity, management can be understood as a process of gathering individuals in order to achieve certain purposes and aims. Management may also refer to the person or people who are involved in the process of management. A number of aspects are a part of management such as planning, staffing, organization of employees etc to fulfill company objectives. In case of resourcing, all the available resources such as technological, human and natural among others are utilized to the fullest extent. If an organization is considered as a system, then management can be thought of as actions of humans such as designing in order to get results of maximum productivity for an organization. Before managing others, one needs to be able to manage their own person.

History of Management:

Management can be defined in a number of ways. Peter Drucker, who is considered as the guru of management stated that management is basically a two-fold task composed of marketing and innovation.

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The power and responsibility in the hands of managers and directors to take decisions regarding the enterprise is another way of referring to management. This discipline consists of interlocking responsibilities based on formulation.

Another way of explaining management is in terms of plans devised, coordinated, formulated, and organized for achieving the policy goals set out by the corporation. Management may range from a single person in a small firm to a host of managers in large-scale multinational corporations. The chief executive officer is responsible for implementing the policies formulated by a board of directors in case of large-scale companies.

Theoretical Scope of Management:

Mary Parker Follett, who was one of the pioneers in management, stated that it is "the art of getting things done through people". For her, management was a philosophy. It can also be thought of as a function in terms of actions taken by individuals to achieve their aims, reorganizing of initial plans or the act of measuring quantitatively on a regular basis. According to Henri Fayol, who was among the major contributors of modern management, seven core functions were a part of management including motivating, planning, staffing, leading, organizing, controlling, and coordinating. For critics, this explanation proved to be far too limited. The term "management is what managers do" failed to incorporate all the intricate processes involved in managing. One school of thought tends to think of management only in terms of "business administration" and management other than that of commerce is expelled from this pattern of thinking. Even though every organization needs to manage its resources effectively but a layman generally thinks that "business schools" are the departments in universities which are solely responsible for imparting knowledge related to management. This is the case with institutions like Harvard Business School. However, there are also institutions which use the term "management" such as Yale School of Management. Management is also used as a collective term by speakers of English language, to refer to those (managers) who are managing an organization. In the past, it was used as the opposite of those who were being managed (labor).

Business management came to constitute six branches by the end of the twentieth century including marketing management, financial management, operations/production management, information technology management, strategic management, and human resource management (HRM) respectively.

Management Functions:

Management serves certain functions such as planning, monitoring/controlling, organizing, staffing and directing/leading. In planning, you generally chalk out a plan of action. In case of organizing, you make the most of all available resources in order to implement your plans. With regards to staffing, analysis is done to determine the descriptions of jobs and hiring individuals who fulfill the job criteria. Decision-making with respect to what is required and making people perform the relevant tasks forms a part of leading/directing. In monitoring/controlling, progress of work is evaluated and appropriate feedback is given for making changes if so required.

Explain the main difficulties in studying personality; how is this of importance to organizations?

Personality is a stable set of internal characteristics and tendencies that determine the psychological behaviour of people. The behaviour determined by personality is relatively consistent over time.

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Picking up the theme of behaviour, this has two classes of determinants: personality and environment. Personality represent internal causes of behaviour, while environmental are the external causes.


Behaviourist theorists include B. F. Skinner and Albert Bandura. Their theories propose that interaction of individuals with their environment leads to the emergence of a personality. Their study consists of observable and measurable behaviours. They reject theories that include internal thoughts and feelings.

In this, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow are included. They said humanist theories focus on the importance of free will and individual experience in the development of personality. It also highlights the concept of self-actualization. This is an innate need for personal growth and serves to motivate behaviour.

Personality is determined by heredity, environment (culture) and situation under which an individual works.

Type A: People having Type-A personality are always moving, walking and eating rapidly. They feel impatient with the speed at which the events take place. They always strive to do two or three things at any one time and cannot cope with leisure. They are generally obsessed with work involved with numbers.

Type B: People possessing Type-B personality never suffer from sense of urgency and take things as they come coolly. They do not discuss achievement and leave it to the superiors to identify it. People having B type of personality play for fun and relaxation rather than to show off. These people have the tendency to relax without guilt.

It is difficult to identify one's personality because individual behaviour is complex and constructed to be multidimensional. Personality of a human being can be determined by identifying stable characteristics of an individual. Personality can be influenced by environmental factors and situation under which an individual is working. Heredity has an influence on individual's physical appearance, facial attractiveness, sex, temperament and reflects. These factors have a deciding influence on individual behaviour in the organization. Individual behaviour is shaped as per the environment he is brought up. Cultural background, socio- economic conditions, parents profession are some of the factors responsible for individual personality. Every individual possesses various personality traits. Locus of control could be internal or external. People who feel that they can decide their own fate are internal and those who believe that luck, opportunity and other external factors are responsible for their future are externals. Every individual behaviour display personality traits, locus of control, authoritarianism, self-esteem and self-monitoring aptitude. Individuals can possess A-Type or B-Type personality. There are no fixed methods or ways to study the personalities so the validity and reliability of personality study cannot always be 100% correct. Studying the personalities of the employees is very important for the organizations because different behaviours are dependent on different kind of personalities. So, in order to judge and guess the behaviours of the employees, the organizations need to create some understanding about their personalities. In addition to that, different kinds of personalities get motivated from different kinds of sources. So by studying the personalities of the employees, organization can easily understand their employees' needs and can motivate them by fulfilling their required needs.

In what ways can an understanding of motivation theory contribute to successful organizational working? Illustrate your key arguments with organizationally based examples.

We can think of motivation as a kind of internal drive that not only activates behaviour but directs it as well. Processes that explain how and why behaviour is activated and directed are a part of motivation theory. It is an integral part of the study related to organizational behaviour. Motivation theories can be divided into two types namely process theories, and content theories. Despite the presence of different theories related to motivation, all of them have yet to achieve universal acceptance. There are many theories of motivation which are related to the "needs" theories. These theories refer to the different types of needs people can have and how they try to epitomize under different situations. One of these theories is the Maslow's theory based on the hierarchy of needs. It consists of five needs where basic needs are followed by needs which are more complex in nature. Among these needs, physiological needs come first as they are needs based on continued existence of an individual. They are followed by needs related to safety of a person in terms of steadiness and protection. Another kind of need is that of belonging related to interaction with other individuals in the society. The final two needs are more intricate to understand and these include esteem (related to aptitude of a person) and self-actualization (determination to achieve to the best of one's abilities). The earlier needs are more basic whereas the latter ones can be termed as high-order ones. According to Maslow, rather than the high-order needs, the low-level needs are the more capable of motivating a person.

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Another theory related to "needs" theory is called Alderfer's ERG theory. It differs from Maslow's theory in the sense that it does not explain motivation with the help of five basic needs. On the other hand, it tries to explain it through three needs namely:

Existence needs: Related to achievement of material or conditional needs.

Relatedness needs: Related to fulfillment of needs by means of communication.

Growth needs: Related to fulfilling needs by involving oneself in something.

If we use Maslow's theory to explain this, we cans state that in this case we move from intrinsic motivation to that of extrinsic whereby the low-level needs are satisfied while the high-level ones are wanted greatly.

There is yet another theory but it emphasizes on situations rather than needs based on any type of hierarchy and it is termed as McClelland's theory. According to this theory, needs are actually the reflection of the characteristics possessed by an individual which are evolved through a person's outlook on life. This theory focuses on three main aspects such as taking responsibility for different outcomes, taking up complicated challenges and the need for feedback with respect to one's performance. Under this theory, a person having low need for affiliation, get motivated to bring about improvements in themselves. In contrast, people having higher need for affiliation are more interested in being associated with others and their motivation is based on interaction and the need to fitting in with people.

Besides these theories, there are also some minor theories which come under the heading of process theories of motivation including theory of expectancy, theory of equity and goal-setting theory. According to the expectancy theory, the outcomes are thought to be a product of human behaviour. It is based on the factor of probability. For example, a person may think that, "Right now, I am working as a sales representative. If I do my job well, I may be promoted to the position of assistant manager. From there on, I can move up to that of store manager and I will be able to make District manager in a period of five years". When we are referring to Equity theory, it is generally thought that in this case, an employee compares his input and output results with that of another individual or group. Thus, if the ratio of comparison is satisfactory, then they are motivated to do better and if they are not inadequate, then the reverse is true. The application of this theory is most frequently in an economic setting and aimed at determining whether the employee is feeling setting with the outcome of his efforts. The goal-setting theory is focused on establishing certain challenging tasks and aims while emphasizing on the mechanism of feedback at the same time. This theory is mostly applied by American organizations as it is not only easy to enforce but also enables employees to formulate procedures which in turn may be appreciated by the organization through rewards. Participation is a key factor in goal-setting theories as anyone would be willing to participate in setting goals formulated solely by them. Another benefit is that of incentives and bonuses or the likelihood of moving up within the organization. Moreover, support on part of the manager is very significant for achievement of goals set forth by the subordinates. This motivational tool has proved to be very effectual to the success of various companies in the past. However, suffice to say that it is not only the theories which are of importance but also the method of implementation keeping in mind the staff goals and mindset and relevant practices of rewarding, encouragement, and support so that the employees are assured that they are considered as valuable assets and are motivated to do a better job than ever before.

There are a variety reasons why people work. These reasons are as unique as the person himself. With respect to work, there is one factor which is common with everyone which is what we get out of work. That factor, in turn affects not only the quality of life of an individual but also their incentive to work and self-confidence. In order to influence employee enthusiasm in a positive manner, managers should ensure that employees are aware of the fact that their efforts are being valued by the organization. A manager is responsible for not only inspiring the employees but getting efficient work done by them. However, this is quite a monumental task. Motivation in practice is quite different from that in theory. The study of motivation is still in muddy waters and not very clear. In addition, it is not executed properly by the managers. The understanding of human psyche is necessary for studying motivation which is the major issue in itself because dealing with human nature is not an easy matter which is intricate and simple at the same time. Recognizing and acknowledging this factor as essential for good leadership, management and positive employee morale is a must. Employee performance will improve only when he is motivated enough to do so. The important thing to remember is that you cannot force someone to do anything against their will. Only if they are motivated enough will they want to do something. The question may arise whether one is born with the drive to do something or not. The answer to this question can go in either direction of negative and affirmative. If a person is not self-driven then, the skill of motivation may be inculcated in him as it is necessary for a business to succeed. One function of ability and drive is performance. Ability depends on factors such as education, training, and experience which are quite time-consuming processes. However, the level of enthusiasm can be enhanced very quickly. A clueless manager may not know how to go about motivating his employees.

There are a number of strategies that can be employed by the manager such as rewarding an employee for a job well done, treating everyone as equals without resorting to favoritism, punishing and disciplining if need be, constant encouragement, catering to employee needs, restructuring jobs and setting goals with respect to work etc. These are some of the strategies that may be employed but it differs from situation to situation. There is a huge space between actual and desired state and it is the responsibility of manager to know how to fill this vacuum effectively. Motivation is the key tool to fill this space but the manager should make sure that motivational practices are in sync with organizational objectives.