Control is an important function of management. Without control, a manager cannot “do a complete job of managing”. All other management functions are the preparatory steps for getting the work done and controlling is concerned with making sure that there is proper execution of these functions. Control is necessary whenever a manager assigns duties and delegates authority to a subordinate. He must exercise control over the actions of his subordinates so that he can ensure that the delegated authority is being used properly.
Objectives of Management Control
A sound control system is needed for the following purposes:
1. To measure progress. Under the planning process the fundamental goals and objectives of the organization are established. The control process is necessary to measure progress towards these goals. According to Henry Fayol, “Control consists in verifying whether everything occurs in conformity with the plan adopted, the instructions issued and the principles established.” As the navigator continually takes readings to, ascertain whether he is relative to a planned course, so should the manager take readings to see whether his enterprise or department is at the predetermined course? He needs a control system to take such readings. The feedback enables us to compare targets with performance and to take corrective action where deviations occur.
2. To uncover deviations. Several forces pull off the enterprise from its charted course. An efficient control system is required to detect these deviations before they become serious. The main forces due to which an organization, may go astray are as follows:
- Change. Change is an integral part of business environment. Markets shift, new products emerge, new materials are discovered and new government policies are introduced. The control system enables a manager to detect changes that are affecting his organization. He can their take action to face the threats and exploit the opportunities, which these changes create.
- Delegation. When a manager, delegates authority, his responsibility to “his own superior is not reduced. A manager needs a control system to determine whether-his subordinates are accomplishing the tasks delegated to them. In the absence of a control system, he will not be able to check on the subordinate’s progress and corrective action cannot be taken until after failures occurred.
- Mistakes. Employees very often commit mistakes. Problems may be diagnosed incorrectly, pricing decisions may be faulty, wrong parts may be ordered, etc. Managers require a control system to detect and rectify these mistakes before they become serious.
- Complexity. Large organizations are complex due to decentralized and geographically scattered, operations. For example, sales at different retail stores/branches need to be recorded and analyzed accurately. Close monitoring of diversified product lines is needed to ensure that quality and profitability are being maintained. Such monitoring is impossible without a control system.
3. To Indicate corrective action. Controls are required to suggest the remedial actions. A control system may, for example, reveal that goals should be modified, tasks should be reassigned, staff should be trained further, etc. A sound control system not only reveals deviations but suggests the corrective actions required to overcome the deficiencies.
To sum up, once a plan becomes operational, control is necessary to measure progress, to uncover deviations from plans, and to indicate corrective, action.