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Structure and Functions of Industrial Management


Industrial Management

During the course of this century management has emerged as a distinct occupational grouping throughout industrialized countries. This has been a function of increasing scale of capital intensification and technical complexity in Industry and has also been associated with a diffusion of share-ownership in privately owned companies. Management in fact, has tended to become differentiated from both ownership and other employees. Differentiation from ownership has given rise to the concept of adivorce of ownership from control. The emerging management ideology has tended to present managers as professional, rational experts who would marry technical expertise with impartiality.

The Nature of Management

Management as a concept cannot be defined in simple one dimensional terms. Management can, not only be analysed at different levels ranging from total economy to particular organizations and departments, but it can also be viewed from different perspectives Harbison and Meyers have identified three such perspectives;

  1. Management as an economic resource performing a series of technical functions comprising the organizing and administering of other resources.
  2. As a system of authority through which policy is translated into the execution of tasks.
  3. As an elite social grouping as an economic resources and maintaining the associated system of authority.

According to Henry Fayol, the management is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control. The manager in Wilfred Brown's view is a member of an organization who has subordinates to him with authorized roles into which, manager can appoint members and determine their work; manager is accountable for the work of the subordinates in their roles.

In particular, management in an organization cannot be fully understood in terms of its formally defined functions without due consideration of the social system, through and with in which managers have to work. This social system may involve managers in several sets of relationships, such as with groups largely 'external' to an organization (such as customers, share holders, trade union office bearers and government officials), with non managerial employees and with other members of the managing group itself.

Industrial organizations are fundamentally co-operative associations but with membership of different groups possessing divergent as well as shared goals and orientations - in this light they can be considered as plural societies.

Thus a key managerial problem in the reconciliation of demands made upon an organization by various groups and individuals (including managers) who. are in a position to abstract the implementation of technical requisite changes.

The perspectives with which sociologists are primarily concerned is that of a continuous social process maintained by a managerial group with in a structure of diverse industrial roles.

Management Structure

The management of nearly all (except very small industrial organizations) is normally differentiated, this differentiation is both of structural and cultural; structurally in the form of a Vertical' status hierarchy and a horizontal specialization of work roles and culturally in the form of the different occupational values, aspirations and social images held by managers. The forum and extent of managerial differentiation will vary in different situations. Categories of management structure;

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  • Senior management - Directors, Report reads in big firms.
  • Middle management - Generally positions occupying between senior management and first line supervisors.
  • Staff management - Specialists, Technicians and other experts - scientists, engineers, legal experts, personnel officers etc.,
  • First line Supervisors - Foreman, charge hands and section leaders.

Group 1,2 and 4 forum the backbone of most management hierarchies and are referred to as line management - ie., they perform functions which have a direct responsibility for achieving a company's objective rather than the functions which exist chiefly to provide advice and service.

The existence of roles positioned on the boundaries of management, whose incumbent may possess social ties with groups out side management, provides an instance, where cultural factors may reinforce structural differentiation in management. Executive directors, industrial scientists and foremen occupy such boundary roles, they are often subject to conflicting loyalties and may suffer elements of role strain as a result of such loyalties. Industrial scientists may face hostility from line managers with a markedly different training and outlook of their own or experience personal strain from conflict between the requirements of science and projects promising commercial returns. Foreman are the men in the middle, their role strain is often heightened by the fact that most foremen are skilled workers, who have been appointed to a position where they are now expected to represent managerial requirements. Thus they are also labeled as 'marginal men' of industry. This marginality has in large firms been increased by the growth of technical specialization.

The attempt to maintain unity between these various managerial groups generally results in the formalization of authority and work roles into an organization structure. Research in this area has indicated that suitable management structures and systems have to be chosen in the light of factors such as plant technology and the rates of change experienced by organizations. It was found that a number of structural characteristics showed a direct relationship with technological advance. For example the length of the time of command and the ratio of managers is related to total personnel. The number and nature of management decisions that had to be made were also found to depend on technological demands. More decisions had to be made in unit production than in other technologies. In mass production decisions were more varied both in character and importance, while in process production decisions were fewer but committed the firms further into future.

Burms and Stalker, indicated that mechanistic management system with clearly defined roles and an emphasis on hierarchical authority might perform effectively in relatively stable, technical and market conditions. Lit-walk, suggested similarly that format and hierarchy - based relationships would be more effective when dealing with routine, uniform tasks, and that informal relationships based on a more horizontal pattern of authority would be more effective with non uniform tasks.


Managerial Behaviour

Managerial use of time - Bums studying over 94 managers in ten different firms, found that more time was spent by the managers by talking the faster the rate of technology and other changes in the firms - an indication of the pressure towards an organic management system under conditions of rapid change. Earlier management stereo types are brought into question by findings, that the content of managerial work can be highly variable and even erratic, he even found that the average commitment to work was only forty three and a half hours per week.. Going down the managerial ladder, the proposition of time spent with superiors increases and a consequent increase in interaction with peers. Horizontal communication between organizational equals serves chiefly a coordinate function.

Decision making

Several studies have reported that a low proposition of managerial time is spent in taking decisions actually, while there is more prior collection and assessment of data relating to a particular issue. Dubin suggests that the time scale over which decisions are taken tends to be very much longer than a merely formalistic analysis leads one to expect managerial decisions of a more every day nature form part of continuous process. Decisions at higher levels were also considerably less clear cut and contained more elements of uncertainly.

The basic managerial functions could be understood better if we follow the approaches which explain the managerial functions in the organization.

  1. The functions approach (Toyol) - In every organization managers perform certain basic functions in order to achiever results these functions could be broadly classified into four categories such as planning, organizing, leading and controlling planning in organization involves selection of goals and objectives are set to reach the goals, the rules, procedures and methods are prescribed to reach the goals. Organization as a function involves the organization of human and physical resources of the firm. Leading involves the direction and supervisor of individuals towards organizational goals. To ensure that the objectives and plans of the organization are achieved is know as the controlling function.
  2. The role approach (Mintzherg) - According to this approach there are ten different but highly interrelated roles played by managers. These ten roles can be classified under three general categories; 1. Interpersonal roles - includes the functions which managers perform as figurehead, a leader and alias on. 2. Informational roles - includes the roles of manager as a monitor, a disseminator and as spokes person.
  3. Decisional roles include the roles of entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator and that of negotiator. The functions and role approaches are two sides of the some coin. These are different but related way9 of examining the same activity ie., what managers actually do.

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