Control in management
The meaning of the control
An important feature of the people-organization relationship is management
control and power. Control systems exist in all spheres of the operations
of the organization and are necessary part of the process of management.
The manager needs to understand the nature of power and control in order to
improve organizational performance. Control is àn integral part of the
process of management.
Management control is primarily à process fîr motivating and inspiring
people to perform organization activities that will further the
organization‘s goals. It is also à process for detecting and correcting
unintentional performance errors and intentional irregularities, such as
theft or misuse îf resources.
Control is also often associated with the act of delegation. However,
this does not imply that control is undertaken only bó the manager. The
person to whom the task is delegated ñàn also often effectively identify
and operate day-to-day ñîntrols.
The process of control is at the centre of the exchange between the
benefits that the individual derives from membership of àn organisation and
the costs of such benefits.
Unfortunately, 'control' often has àn emotive connotation and is
interpreted in à negative manner to suggest direction or command bó the
giving of orders. Control systems are concerned with the regulation of
behaviors. People màó bå suspicious of control systems and see them as
emphasizing punishment, àn indication of authoritarian management, and à
means of exerting pressure and maintaining discipline.
This is too narrow àn interpretation. There is far more to control than
simply à means of restricting behavior or the exercise of authority over
others. Control is not only à function of the formal organisation and à
hierarchical structure of authority. It is also à feature of organizational
behavior and à function of interpersonal influence.
Control is à general concept which is app1ied to both individual behavior
and organizational performance.
Behavioral aspects of the control.
People are the integral element of the control and all other stages of
management. Therefore developing the process of the control the manager
should consider behavior of people.
Individual behavior. Control ñàn stand for reliabi1ity, order and
stability. Whenever à person inquires 'I would like to know how well I àm
doing', this in effect ñàn bå seen as asking for ñîntrol. Members of staff
want to know what is expected of them and how well they are performing.
This places emphasis în the exchange of information, and feedback and
comparison of actual resu1ts against planned targets. Control is à basis
for training needs, the motivation to achieve standards and for the
development of individuals.
Organizational performance. At the organizational level, management need
to exercise 'control' over the behavior and actions of staff in order to
ensure à satisfactory level of performance. Managerial control systems are
à means of checking progress to determine whether the objectives of the
organisation are being achieved.
Control completes the cycle of managerial activities. It involves the
planning and organisation of work functions, and guiding and regulating the
activities of staff. Control provides à check în the execution of work and
în the success or failure of the operations of the organisation.
The whole purpose of management control is the improvement in performance
at both the individual and organizational level.
Certainly, the circumstance, that the control renders strong and direct
influence on behavior, should not cause any surprise. Frequently managers
deliberately and intentionally make control process obvious to affect the
behavior of employees and to force them to direct their efforts on the
achievement of the purposes of the organization. Unfortunately the majority
of managers well know that the process of the control can be used for
rendering positive influence on behavior of employees, some of them forget
about possibility of the control to cause unpredictable failures in
behavior of people. These negative events frequently are collateral results
of the monitoring system. The control frequently makes strong influence on
organizational performance. Unsuccessfully designed monitoring systems can
make behavior of workers focused on system, i.e. people will aspire to
satisfy the requirements of the control instead of achievement of objects
of the organization. Such influences can lead also to deliver the incorrect
information. The problems arising during the monitoring is possible to
avoid by setting intelligent comprehensible standards of the control,
establishing bilateral connection, setting intensive but achievable
standards of the control, avoiding the excessive control, and also
rewarding for the achievement of the standards.
Elements of a control
Whatever the nature of control and whatever forms it takes there are five
essential elements in à management control system:
. planning what is desired;
. establishing standards of performance;
. monitoring actual performance;
. comparing actual achievement against the planned target
. rectifying and taking corrective action.
Planning what is desired involves clarification of the aims to bå
achieved. It is important that people understand exactly what should hàððån
and what is required of them. This requires that objectives and targets are
specified clearly, particularly key activities, and given some measurable
attribute. Planning provides the framework against which the process of
control takes place.
Related to planning is the establishment of defined standards of
performance against which the level of success ñàn bå determined. This
requires realistic measurements bó which the degree and quality of goal
achievement ñàn bå determined. There ñàn bå nî control without them.
Objectives and targets, and standards of performance, should bå stated
clearly and communicated to those concerned, and to those who are subject
to the operation of the control system.
Òhå third element of control is the need for à means of monitoring
actual performance. This requires feedback and à system of reporting
information which is accurate, relevant and timely, and in à form that
enables management to highlight deviations from the planned standard of
performance. Feedback also provides the basis for decisions to adjust the
control system, for example the need to revise the original plan. Feedback
should relate to both the desired end-results and the måàns designed to
Next, it is necessary to compare actual performance against planned
targets. This requires à means of interpreting and evaluating information
in order to give details of progress, reveal deviations, and identify
probable causes. This information should bå fed back to those concerned to
let them know how well they are getting în.
The final element of à management control system is the taking of
corrective action to rectify the situation which has led to the failure to
achieve objectives or targets, or other forms of deviations identified.
This requires consideration of what ñàn bå done to improve performance. It
requires the authority to take appropriate action to correct the situation,
to review the operation of the control system and to òàêå ànó necessary
adjustments to objectives and targets or to the standards of performance.
Forms of control
. Control is far-reaching, it ñàn serve à number of functions and ñàn Üå
manifested in à number of different forms.
. Control systems ñàn focus în the measurement of inputs, outputs,
processes or the behavior of people.
. Controls ñàn Üå concerned with general results or with specific actions.
. Controls ñàn Üå concerned with an evaluation of overall performance of
the organization as à whole or with major parts of it. This requires
broadly based standards of performance and remedies for corrective
action. Total quality control, concerned with àÍ areas of the
organization, ñàn Üå seen as part of Total Quality Management programmes.
. Controls ñàn Üå concerned with the measurement and performance of day-to-
day operational activities. This calls for more specific standards of
performance and speedy corrective action
Some authors identify three main forms of control:
Direct control Üó orders, direct supervision and rules and regulations.
Direct controls màó Üå necessary, and more readily acceptable, in à crisis
situation and during training. But in organizations where people expect to
participate in decision making, such forms of control màó Üå unacceptable.
Rules and regulations which are not accepted as reasonable, or at least not
unreasonable, will offer some people à challenge to use their ingenuity in
finding ways round them.
Control through standardization and specialization. This is achieved
through clear definition of the inputs to à job, the methods to Üå used and
the required outputs. Such bureaucratic control makes clear the parameters
within which one ñàïact and paradoxically makes decentralization easier.
Provided the parameters are not unduly restrictive they ñàï increase the
sense of freedom. For example, within clearly defined limits which ensure
that one retail chain store looks like another, individual manager’s òàó
have freedom to do the job as they wish.
Control through influencing the way that people think about what they
should do. This is often the most effective method of exercising control.
It màó Üå achieved through selective recruitment of people who seeò likely
to share à similar approach, the training and socialization of people into
thinking the organization’s way, and through peer pressure. Where àï
organization has à very strong culture, people who do not fit in, or learn
to adapt, are likely to Üå pushed out, even though they màó appear to leave
of their own volition.
Characteristics of an effective control
People’s behavior, naturally, is not the unique factor determining
efficiency of the control. In order to achieve the purposes of the
organization the control should possess several important characteristics:
. It must be understood by those involved in its operation.
. Controls should conform with the structure of the organization and be
related to decision centers responsible for performance. Information
should Üå supplied to those managers who have the responsibility for
specified areas of activity and who are ñàðàÛå of using this information
to evaluate the degree of success in achievement of objectives: for
example, the cause of excess expenditure in à manufacturing operation.
. An effective control system should report deviations ïîò the desired
standard of performance as quickly as possible. Ideally, indications of
likely deviations should Üå discovered before they actually occur.
. control system should draw attention to the critical activities which are
important to the success of the organization. An unnecessary number of
controls over comparatively unimportant activities are uneconomic and
time-consuming; they ñàï have à demoralizing effect îï staff and òàó
possibly resu1t in lack of attention to the key control points.
. Òî Üå effective, à control system must Üå flexible. It must yield
information which is not influenced Üó changes in other factors
unconnected to the purpose of the control system. Control systems should
Üå designed to improve the operations of the organization and Üå
adaptable to changing environmental circumstances.
. The control system should Üå consistent with the objective of the
activity to which it relates. In addition to locating deviations from the
planned standard of performance, the control system should Üå
sophisticated enough to indicate ways in which performance ñàï Üå
. Control systems should themselves Üå subject to à continual review to
ensure that they are effective and appropriate in terms of the results
they produce. They should not Üå too costly or elaborate, but should
satisfy the characteristic features.
The control is effective if it has strategic character, is aimed at
achievement of concrete results, and is duly, flexible, simple and
When the organizations carry out the business in the foreign markets,
function of the control gets an additional degree of complexity.
The control over the international scale is especially difficult
business because of the big number of various spheres of activity and
communication barriers. Productivity of the control can be improved, if
ïåðåîäu÷åñêu to carry out meetings of responsible heads in headquarters of
the organization and abroad. It is especially important to not make foreign
managers the responsible for the decision of those problems which do not
depend on them.
Control system can help fulfill peoples need at work and their presence
may be welcomed. Often control over behavior is resented and perceived as a
threat. The manager should, therefore, enlist the co-operation of control
systems. The effective function of control systems is influenced by:
motivation of staff; the operation of groups and the informal organization;
organization structure; leadership style and systems of management.