Management is the basic process of an organization's routine activities and can be observed in our daily life. As the resources are scarce and the wants are unlimited, resources should be managed accordingly to satisfy the human wants in the most effective manner. Management is in fact a process through which the manager develops, maintains, plans and controls the resources and operations of an organization. It involves the activities like decision making on a continuous basis so that the organization should function with maximum efficiency. The process begins with the recognition of a problem or a need and then further leads to other related activities like evaluation, planning, implementation and control. The process of management involves the coordination and cooperation of several individuals in the organization. It is therefore important for the managers to develop close relationships with their subordinates and peers so that they can effectively manage their tasks.
The process of management is not just restricted to the management and effective handling of organizational resources. In fact, management principles and theories can be applied to almost every activity whether it be planning a family budget or launching an advanced scientific research program. Advancements in the field of science and technology can also be attributed to effective management practices. The emergence of major technological industries is a result of proper planning, efficient implementation and effective control. This paper will discuss the five basic functions of technology management and will consider the management functions performed by the first level and second level managers in the Navy. In addition to this, I will emphasize on my personal strengths and weaknesses with respect to these five functional areas.
The five basic functions of management discussed in the paper are: 1) Planning and Forecasting, 2) Decision making, 3) Organizing, 4) Leadership and 5) Controlling.
1) Planning and Forecasting:
Planning is a crucial function for organization's effectiveness. It enables the managers to establish goals and objectives on the basis of future estimates and anticipations. As a result of this, managers are able to give directions to their subordinates for the successful implementation of their plans. In addition to this, continuous change in the environment necessitates the planning activity, as the organizing cannot remain prosperous and successful without properly preparing to adapt with change. Planning can also be termed as an activity through which managers analyze the current performance and resources of the organization, so that they can effectively devise strategies for the future of the organization. One of the primary reason for which managers feel the need for planning is that the organization feels that it is presently not performing with the maximum efficiency or if the management feels that there is a room for further improvement. Although, planning is a continuous process, it can be developed with either a short-term or long-term perspective. Short-term planning is concerned with the near future, within a time span of a few months or a year depending on the industry in which the organization is operating. On the other hand, long-term planning ranges over a time span of five or more years, again depending on the industry in which the organization is operating. However, it should be noted that with the increase in time duration, the accuracy and effectiveness of planning decreases.
Considering the above-mentioned discussion of planning with the perspective of technology management, the process of planning is necessary for technology companies in order to remain successful and competitive. With the improvement in technology and development of new and advanced products, it becomes increasingly difficult for an organization to remain competitive with its current line of products. In case of Navy, if the United States Navy wants to remain the leading naval force in the globe, it is important for it to continuously develop new technologies and keep its fleet up-to-date. In addition to this, the first level managers primarily perform the planning and forecasting functions but it requires the approval of the first level managers. Thus it can be said that it is a combined function of first level and second level managers.
2) Decision Making:
Decision-making is one of the principal responsibilities of managers. Decision making of managers provides a direction to the organization. In simplistic terms, decision-making can be regarded as the choice made by an individual, considering several alternatives. However, it would not be wise to consider such a simple concept of decision-making. In case of minor day-to-day decisions, decision-making involves simply making a choice out of several alternatives. However, in case of complex decision making processes, as is mostly the case in technology management, managers have to consider the long-term consequences and implications of their decisions. In case of complex decision-making, ignoring the consequences may lead to a false or poor decision, which may even cost a fortune to the organizations. Thus, managers should consider all the aspects of the problem before reaching to a decision. With the perspective of technology management, managers should consider the past issues related to the problem, evaluate the present situation & available alternatives and forecast the future consequences of making any particular decision. It is also important to note that complex decision-making situations, especially, in the areas of research and development, require a considerable level of planning, research and investigation. However, in an environment where the managers are facing a problem, which requires an urgent response, it is appropriate to take an early decision.
Majority of the decision-making activities are for the purpose of solving problems. This notion is particularly true in case of technology management. With the perspective of problem solving, the process of decision-making involves perceiving and defining the problem, taking action to resolve the problem and finally evaluating the effectiveness of decision. In this regard, the identification of the problem is the most important activity, as it is not easy task. In most of the cases, reluctance of the support staff to accept the change or the inability of the managers to identify the problem, leads to the development of further problems in the future. Effective identification of problems is necessary because managers cannot take appropriate actions until and unless the problem is not truly defined. It is therefore essential to clearly define a problem so that necessary action should be taken. Once the decision is made, its effectiveness should be evaluated in terms of its consequences.
Decision-making in most of the organizations is the function of the first level managers, as it requires a proper insight and understanding of certain issues, which can only be gained through experience. However, certain minor decisions are made by second level managers, which do not require considerable allocation of resources or do not involve significant level of risk.
Organizations have limited resources and they continuously face increasing demands. It is not possible for the organizations to fulfill all the demands through the resources, which they own. However, managers can seek to fulfill the maximum possible demands by effectively organizing the resources. It should however be noted that the organizing function is not restricted to the organization of resources. Organizing can involve organization of resources, organization of staff or organization of company processes. Hence, a manager is not only responsible for looking after the effective utilization of resources but also is responsible for effectively training, staffing and managing its employees or subordinates. In addition to this, he or she is also expected to ensure the smooth operation of the organization and to keep the business operations running in the most effective manner. Organizing is a successor function to planning. Once the manager has planned any certain activity or has devised a strategy for the resolution of a specific problem, he has to further move ahead by defining the step-by-step activities to implement the plan. These step-by-step activities might include the allocation of resources for certain tasks or assigning personnel for a specific assignment.
With the perspective of technology management, organizing is a crucial function because organizations cannot afford to loose substantial resources in disorganized and mismanaged projects. Organizing provides a basis to the managers for the effective implementation of their plans. In addition to this, second level managers are primarily responsible for the organizing functions in most of the organizations. However, in case of large projects or projects of high importance, top management also continuously interact with the second level managers.
In order to be successful in overall managerial activities, it is important for the managers to possess good leadership skills. Strong leadership skills are crucial for the success of the managers because their subordinates are dependant on them in several respects and therefore need guidance and direction in their assignments from their manager. However, it is interesting to note that organizations are usually unable to find individuals with effective leadership skills. Therefore, leadership can be considered as a crucial as well as valuable skill. One should also note that the insufficiency of leaders is not because of the inability of managers to display effective leadership qualities but it is…