An analysis of the various definitions of management indicates that management has certain characteristics. The following are the salient characteristics of management.
1. Management aims at reaping rich results in economic terms: Manager’s primary task is to secure the productive performance through planning, direction and control. It is expected of the management to bring into being the desired results. Rational utilisation of available resources to maximise the profit is the economic function of a manager. Professional manager can prove his administrative talent only by economising the resources and enhancing profit. According to Kimball – “management is the art of applying the economic principles that underlie the control of men and materials in the enterprise under consideration”.
2. Management also implies skill and experience in getting things done through people: Management involves doing the job through people. The economic function of earning profitable return cannot be performed without enlisting co-operation and securing positive response from “people”. Getting the suitable type of people to execute the operations is the significant aspect of management. In the words of Koontz and O’Donnell – “Management is the art of getting things done through people in formally organised groups”.
Recommended reading: Managerial skills and roles
3. Management is a process: Management is a process, function or activity. This process continues till the objectives set by administration are actually achieved. “Management is a social process involving co-ordination of human and material resources through the functions of planning, organising, staffing, leading and controlling in order to accomplish stated objectives”.
4. Management is a universal activity: Management is not applicable to business undertakings only. It is applicable to political, social, religious and educational institutions also. Management is necessary when group effort is required.
5. Management is a Science as well as an Art: Management is an art because there are definite principles of management. It is also a science because by the application of these principles predetermined objectives can be achieved.
Recommended reading: Is management is an art or a science?
6. Management is a Profession: Management is gradually becoming a profession because there are established principles of management which are being applied in practice, and it involves specialised training and is governed by ethical code arising out of its social obligations.
Recommended reading: Is management a proffession?
7. Management is an endeavour to achieve pre-determined objectives: Management is concerned with directing and controlling of the various activities of the organisation to attain the pre-determined objectives. Every managerial activity has certain objectives. In fact, management deals particularly with the actual directing of human efforts.
8. Management is a group activity: Management comes into existence only when there is an group activity towards a common objective. Management is always concerned with group efforts and not individual efforts. To achieve the goals of an organisation management plans, organises, co-ordinates, directs and controls the group effort.
9. Management is a system of authority: Authority means power to make others act in a predetermined manner. Management formalises a standard set of rules and procedure to be followed by the subordinates and ensures their compliance with the rules and regulations. Since management is a process of directing men to perform a task, authority to extract the work from others is implied in the very concept of management.
10. Management involves decision-making: Management implies making decisions regarding the organisation and operation of business in its different dimensions. The success or failure of an organisation can be judged by the quality of decisions taken by the managers. Therefore, decisions are the key to the performance of a manager.
11. Management implies good leadership: A manager must have the ability to lead and get the desired course of action from the subordinates. According to R. C. Davis – “management is the function of executive leadership everywhere”. Management of the high order implies the capacity of managers to influence the behaviour of their subordinates.
12. Management is dynamic and not static: The principles of management are dynamic and not static. It has to adopt itself according to social changes.
13. Management draws ideas and concepts from various disciplines: Management is an interdisciplinary study. It draws ideas and concepts from various disciplines like economics, statistics, mathematics, psychology, sociology, anthropology etc.
14. Management is Goal Oriented: Management is a purposeful activity. It is concerned with the achievement of pre-determined objectives of an organisation.
15. Different Levels of Management: Management is needed at different levels of an organisation namely top level, middle level and lower level.
Recommended reading: Management levels in an organization
16. Need of organisation: There is the need of an organisation for the success of management. Management uses the organisation for achieving pre-determined objectives.
17. Management need not be owners: It is not necessary that managers are owners of the enterprise. In joint stock companies, management and owners (capital) are different entities.
18. Management is intangible: It cannot be seen with the eyes. It is evidenced only by the quality of the organisation and the results i.e., profits, increased productivity etc.