Questions on theories and practices in management

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Management in all business and human organization activity is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives. Management comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization (a group of one or more people or entities) or efforts for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. Resourcing encompasses the deployment and manipulation of human resources, financial resources, technological resources, and natural resources. Because organizations can be viewed as systems, management can also be defined as human action, including design, to facilitate the production of useful outcomes from a system. This view opens the opportunity to 'manage' oneself, a pre-requisite to attempting to manage others. Management can also refer to the person or people who perform the act(s) of management (Robin, 2010).


Some definitions of management are:

Organization and coordination of the activities of an enterprise in accordance with certain policies and in achievement of clearly defined objectives. Management is often included as a factor of production along with machines, materials, and money. According to the management guru Peter Drucker, the basic task of a management is two-fold: marketing and innovation.

Directors and managers who have the power and responsibility to make decisions to manage an enterprise. As a discipline, management comprises the interlocking functions of formulating.

Corporate policy and organizing, planning, controlling, and directing the firm's resources to achieve the policy's objectives. The size of management can range from one person in a small firm to hundreds or thousands of managers in multinational companies. In large firms, the board of directors formulates the policy which is implemented by the chief executive officer (French, Schermerhorn, 2008).


Follett, who wrote on the topic in the early twentieth century, defined management as "the art of getting things done through people". She also described management as a philosophy. One can also think of management functionally, as the action of measuring a quantity on a regular basis and of adjusting some initial plan; or as the actions taken to reach one's intended goal. This is applied even in situations where planning does not take place. From this perspective, Frenchman Henri Fayol considers management to consist of seven functions:








Some people, however, find this definition, while useful, far too narrow. The phrase "management is what managers do" occurs widely, suggesting the difficulty of defining management, the shifting nature of definitions, and the connection of managerial practices with the existence of a managerial cadre or class. One habit of thought regards management as equivalent to "business administration" and thus excludes management in places outside commerce, as for example in charities and in the public sector. More realistically, however, every organization must manage its work, people, processes, technology, etc. in order to maximize its effectiveness. Nonetheless, many people refer to university

departments which teach management as "business schools." Some institutions (such as the Harvard Business School) use that name while others (such as the Yale School of Management) employ the more inclusive term "management." English speakers may also use the term "management" or "the management" as a collective word describing the managers of an organization, for example of a corporation. Historically, this use of the term was often contrasted with the term "Labor" referring to those being managed.

Towards the end of the 20th century, business management came to consist of six separate branches, namely:

• Human resource management

• Operations management or production management

• Strategic management

• Marketing management

• Financial management

• Information technology management responsible for management of information systems (Furnham, 2005)


Management operates through various functions, often classified as planning, organizing, leading/directing, and controlling/monitoring.

• Planning: Deciding what needs to happen in the future (today, next week, next month, next year, over the next 5 years, etc.) and generating plans for action.

• Organizing: (Implementation) making optimum use of the resources required to enable the successful carrying out of plans.

• Staffing: Job analyzing, recruitment, and hiring individuals for appropriate jobs.

• Leading/directing: Determining what needs to be done in a situation and getting people to do it.

• Controlling/Monitoring, checking progress against plans, which may need modification based on feedback (Lussier, 2008).

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.

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 (Martin, 1998).


Behaviourist theorists include B. F. Skinner and Albert Bandura. Their theories propose that personality results from an interaction between the individual and the environment. They study 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.

Motivation is defined as an internal drive that activates behaviour and gives it direction. The term motivation theory is concerned with the processes that describe why and how human behaviour is activated and directed. It is regarded as one of the most important areas of study in the field of organizational behaviour. There are two different categories of motivation theories such as content theories, and process theories.

Even though there are different motivation theories, none of them are universally accepted. 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 (Multer, 2007).. 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.

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 (Cole, 2003). For example, a person think that, "If I work hard now as a sales representative, I may be able to make assistant manager, then eventually move up to store manager, and in five years I will be able to make District manager". 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.

Every person has different reasons for working. The reasons for working are as individual as the person. But, we all work because we obtain something that we need from work. The something obtained from work impacts morale, employee motivation, and the quality of life. To create positive employee motivation, treat employees as if they matter because employees matter. The job of a manager in the workplace is to get things done through employees. To do this the manager should be able to motivate employees. But that's easier said than done! Motivation practice and theory are difficult subjects, touching on several disciplines. In spite of enormous research, basic as well as applied, the subject of motivation is not clearly understood and more often than not, poorly practiced. To understand motivation one must understand human nature itself. And there lies the problem! Human nature can be very simple, yet very complex too. An understanding and appreciation of this is a pre-requisite to effective employee motivation in the workplace and therefore effective management and leadership. Motivation is the key to performance improvement. There is an old saying you can take a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink; it will drink only if it's thirsty - so with people. They will do what they want to do or otherwise motivated to do. Whether it is to excel on the workshop floor or in the 'ivory tower' they must be motivated or driven to it, either by themselves or through external stimulus. Are they born with the self-motivation or drive? Yes and no. If no, they can be motivated, for motivation is a skill which can and must be learnt. This is essential for any business to survive and succeed. Performance is considered to be a function of ability and motivation, Ability in turn depends on education, experience and training and its improvement is a slow and long process. On the other hand motivation can be improved quickly. There are many options and an uninitiated manager may not even know where to start. As a guideline, there are broadly seven strategies for motivation

Positive reinforcement / high expectations

Effective discipline and punishment

Treating people fairly

Satisfying employees needs

Setting work related goals

Restructuring jobs

Base reward on job performance

These are the basic strategies, though the mix in the final 'recipe' will vary from workplace situation to situation. Essentially, there is a gap between an individual's actual state and some desired state and the manager tries to reduce this gap. Motivation is, in effect, a means to reduce and manipulate this gap. It is inducing others in a specific way towards goals specifically stated by the motivator. Naturally, these goals as well as the motivation system must conform to the corporate policy of the organization. The motivational system must be tailored according to the situation and to the organization.