Short notes on the Functions of office management

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There is no universally accepted classification of management functions. This is because different authors, who were considering different organizations, gave separate classification of management functions. Office management is similar to the general or administrative management; it performs the same functions as are performed by the management. The functions of office management in brief, are given below:

I. Planning

Planning is a fundamental function of office management. All types of organizations prepare plans. Planning our studies, our careers, new products etc. are examples of planning. It is the determination of a course of action to achieve a desired result. Planning concentrates on setting and achieving objectives of an organization. It is an intellectual process. It is characterized as the process of thinking before doing.

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Planning function of management precedes all other managerial functions. “Planning is deciding in advance what is to be done. When a manager plans, he projects a course of action for the future, attempting to achieve a consistent, co-ordinate structure of operations aimed at the desired results.”

Planning involves projecting the future course of action for the business as a whole and also for different sections within it. Planning is thus the preparatory step for actions and helps in bridging the gap between the present and the future. Since planning is essentially choosing, it is dependent upon the availability of alternatives.

It is through this process of choosing that office manager can obviously be seen as an important aspect of planning. Planning process comprises determination and lying down of objectives, policies, procedures, rules, programmes, budget and strategies etc.

The operations of the office will not run smoothly if they are not planned adequately. Planning makes it possible to occur which would not otherwise happen.

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Benefits of Planning

1. The business objectives can easily be secured through plans.

2. Planning gives direction to activities in the office.

3. It focuses attention on objectives.

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4. It provides co-ordinate efforts and reduces risk and uncertainties.

5. It facilitates the process of decision-making.

6. It encourages innovation and creativity.

7. It serves as a basis of control.

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8. It encourages the sense of involvement and team spirit.

9. It eliminates unproductive office work and thus helps to minimize cost.

10. It helps in economical operations.

II. Organizing

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It is an important managerial activity by which management brings together the human and material resources for the achievement of certain objectives. Organization is the foundation upon which the whole structure of management is built. It may be conceived of as the structuring of functions and duties to be performed by a group of people for the purpose of attaining enterprise objectives.

Organizing is the determining, grouping and arranging of the various activities deemed necessary for the attainment of the objectives, the assigning of people to these activities, the providing of suitable physical factors of environment and the indicating of the relative authority delegated to each individual charged with the execution of each respective activity.

According to Louis A Allen, “Organization is the process of identifying and grouping the work to be performed, defining and delegating responsibility and authority, and establishing relationships for the purpose of enabling people to work most effectively together in accomplishing objectives.”

According to Oliver Sheldon, “Organization is the process of combining the work which individuals and groups have to perform with the faculties necessary for its execution that the duties so formed provide the best channels for efficient, systematic, positive and co­ordinated application of the available effort.”

Steps of Organization

The important steps involved in the process of an organization are:

1. Identification of Activities

Organization structure is developed to achieve objectives. Organization as a process of management is concerned with identifying and grouping of activities to be performed.

2. Grouping of Activities

Closely related and similar activities are grouped together to form departments, divisions or sections. Grouping may be done on several bases depending on the requirements of the situation. Such grouping of activities is called departmentation.

3. Assignment of Duties

Each group of related activities is assigned a position most suited for it. Every position is occupied by an individual. While assigning duties, the requirements of the job and the competence of the individual should be properly matched together. The process of assigning duties goes on till the last level of the organization.

4. Delegation of Authority

Authority without responsibility is a dangerous thing and similarly responsibility without authority is an empty vessel. Hence corresponding to the responsibility authority is delegated to the sub-ordinates for enabling them to show work performance.

5. Fitting Individuals

Having determined the various parts and portions of the job to be done, the next step will be to fix suitable and well-qualified persons into these activities. Each person in the group will be given a specific part of the job to do and will be made responsible for it.

III. Staffing

‘Staffing’ is concerned with the recruitment, selection, placement, training, growth and development of all those members of the organization whose function is to get things done through the efforts of other individuals.

After determining the number and type of personnel to be appointed to fill different jobs management starts recruiting, selecting the training the people to fulfill the requirements of the enterprise. According to Franklin Moore, “Staffing is a forward looking activity because tomorrow keeps becoming today.

Attrition constantly reduces executive ranks through retirement, death, resignations and occasional dismissal; so young men keep moving up. Besides this, most enterprise grows, providing new openings for managers.”

The function of staffing was considered to be a part of organizing but recently it has developed into a distinct function of management, and is, therefore treated separately in the chapter relating to Personnel Management.

IV. Directing

Once plans are drawn up to pre-determined objectives competent persons are appointed, the organization is ready to go into action. Directing is the managerial function of guiding, inspiring, instructing and harnessing people towards the accomplishment of desired results.

It is that part of the management process which actuates the members of an organization to work effectively and efficiently for the achievement of the goals. Direction in the words of Koentz and Q ‘donnel, “the interpersonal aspect of managing by which subordinates are led to understand and contribute effectively and efficiently to the attainment of enterprise objectives.”

According to Haimann, “Directing consists of the process and techniques utilized in issuing instructions and making certain that operations are carried on as originally planned.

Directing is the process around which all performance revolves. It is the essence of operations, and co-ordination is a necessary by-product of good managerial directing.” Directing consists of the following steps:

1. Issuing orders and instructions to sub-ordinates;

2. Guiding and teaching the sub-ordinates the proper method of doing work;

3. Supervising the work of sub-ordinates to ensure that it conforms to plan;

4. Motivation of sub-ordinates by providing incentives.

V. Motivating

The term motivation has been derived from the word motive. Motive is anything that initiates or sustains activity. It is an inner state that energizes, activates or moves and that directs or channels behavior towards goals. Motive is a psychological force within an individual that sets him in motion. Behind every human action there is a motive.

According to Breech, “Motivation is a general inspirational process which gets the members of the team to pull their weight effectively, to give their loyalty to the group, to carry out properly the tasks that they have accepted and generally to play an effective part in the job that the group has undertaken.”

The important task of office management is to motivate employees so that they may direct their efforts towards the accomplishment of organizational goals.

Motivating may be achieved by:

1. Providing inducements and incentives to employees;

2. Keeping morals high;

3. Satisfying the needs of the employees.

VI. Co-ordinating

Along with specialization there must be conscious efforts on the part of the management to see that all activities, carried on by experts and different departments, should contribute to the achievement of the objective of the business. Smooth working of an enterprise and the definite achievement of its objectives depend on sound co-ordination.

According to Lundy, “Co-ordination involves the development of unity of purpose and the harmonious implementation of plans for the achievement of desired ends.” According to Mooney and Riley, “Orderly arrangement of group efforts to provide unit of action in pursuit of a common purpose.” Thus co-ordination may be achieved by:-

1. Simplified Organization.

2. Harmonized programmes and policies.

3. Well designed method of communication.

4. Voluntary co-operation.

5. Co-ordination through supervision.

6. Clear cut objectives.

7. Clear definition of authority and responsibility.

8. Effective leadership.

VII. Controlling

“To control is to determine what is being accomplished; that is to evaluate performance and, if necessary, to apply corrective measures so that performance takes place according to plan. After the plans are put into action, there can be several hurdles in the achievement of goals. Results may fall short of targets. Direction may be faulty.

Therefore, management must find out what is going wrong, what changes in plans and directions are required and what must be done to set things right. This is the function of control. In words of Anthony, “Management control is the process by which managers assure that resources are obtained and used effectively and efficiently in the accomplishment of an organization’s objectives.”

Basic elements of the control process:

1. Establishment of standards or objectives.

2. Measurement of actual performance.

3. Comparing actual performance against the standard set.

4. Determining the reason for deviation.

5. Taking corrective action.

6. Feedback.

Control is thus closely related to the planning job of the manager. But it should not be viewed merely as a postmortem of past achievements and performance. In practice, a good control system should suggest corrective measures so that negative deviations may not recur in future.

VIII. Communication

Communication is a means by which different persons are linked together in a group or organization to attain a common goal. No group activity is possible without communication. It enables the members to co-ordinate, to exchange and to make progress. A good communication should aim at making everyone concerned aware of the goal which the organization wants to achieve.

The two main objectives of communication are to inform and to persuade. Communication is the means by which behavior is modified, change is effected, and goals are achieved. Communication is essential for effective control and motivation.

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