Quite often the term management is used to refer to both the persons who occupy managerial positions as well as to the activities which managers perform. In fact, there can be five different concepts of management:
1. Management as an economic resource:
According to an economist, management is one of the factors of production, the other factors being land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship. In a small enterprise, the owner may himself act as the manager. But in large corporations, there is a divorce between ownership and management.
Management is the most active factor of production because it assembles and integrates the other factors. The efficient use of land and capital depends upon labor which is in turn governed by management.
Management coordinates the other Ms (manpower, methods, markets, materials, machinery and money) of an organization and, therefore, it occupies a unique place among the productive factors as can be seen.
The efficiency of management factor can be improved through training and development of executives. The importance of management increases with the tempo of industrialization.
The economic and social development of mankind since the Second World War has occurred as a result of systematic and purposeful work on developing managers.
We no longer talk of capital and labor but of management and labor. As an economic resource, management makes a productive enterprise out of physical and human resources.
Efficient management is the most important input in the success of an organization. The inputs of manpower, materials, machinery and money do not by themselves ensure growth; they become productive through the catalyst of management.
2. Management as a class or elite:
Sociologists look upon management as a distinct class in society with its own status system. With the growing importance of organizations and the need for their efficient management, managers have become a very powerful or elite group in society.
In the words of Peter Ducker, the professional executive has become the key leadership figure in modern industrial society. As a team or group of persons, management consists of all those who are responsible for the establishment and accomplishment of objectives through the direction of others.
These people are individually known as 'managers'. Any person who performs the managerial job is a manager. Managers have the required knowledge and skills. The managerial class exercises leadership and coordinates the efforts of human beings.
This class includes various types of managers e.g., family managers, professional managers, civil servants who manage public enterprises, etc. The management team of an organization is comprised of all executive right from the chief executive unto the supervisor.
For instance, the statement that the management of X company is very good refers to the managers of that company. As a competent class,- managers strike a balance among diverse interest.
3. Management as a system of authority:
Experts in the field of administration consider management as a system of authority. According to Her bison and Myers, "management is a rule-making and rule- enforcing body, and within itself it is bound together by a web of relationships between superiors and subordinates".
There is a hierarchy of authority among people operating in an organization. Managers at different levels possess varying degrees of authority. In general, the higher level managers have the authority to lay down the goals and policies of the enterprise while those at the lower level are authorized to execute the plans and policies to achieve the desired goals.
There should be well defined superior subordinate relationships at all levels of decision making. Management is "a multipurpose organ that manages a business and manages managers and manages worker and work".
Over the decades there have been different approaches to management authority, e.g., authoritarian, humanitarian, constitutional and par-deceptive approach.
4. Management as a separate discipline:
As a field of study or academic discipline, management is an organized body of knowledge. It is comparatively a new field of learning and is being taught in universities and institutes of management. Several specialized courses have been developed in different branches of management.
Management discipline is a part of social sciences and humanities. It provides the principles and practices and a person must learn them in order to become a successful manager.
Today, management is a very popular subject and there is great rush for admission into management courses. The growing importance of management discipline has been described as 'Managerial Revolution'. Management is a young and growing discipline and its status is likely to increase in the times to come,
5. Management as a process:
As a process, management is a series of inter-related activities by which managers determine and accomplish goals in organized Endeavour. It is a rational, intellectual, dynamic and continuous process, common to all organizations. Management is an important process of coordinating and integrating specialized activities of several persons for the achievement of common objectives.
It is the process through which all the resources are organized and utilized to attain maximum output and efficiency through minimum in out. The process of managing consists of planning (preparing for future), organizing (combining resources), staffing, directing (guiding and supervising people) and controlling (keeping on the right track) of human efforts in order to achieve common objectives.
This is the most popular interpretation of the term management because it describes what managers do. The true character of management can be seen as a process composed of several elements or functions. Management is what managers do.
The different concepts of management described above are not contradictory to one another. They are merely different ways of looking at management. In fact, management is a synthesis of alt these view points.