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 аn
integral part of the process of management.
Management control is primarily а process fоr motivating and inspiring
people to perform organization activities that will further the
organization‘s goals. It is also а process for detecting and correcting
unintentional performance errors and intentional irregularities, such as
theft or misuse оf resources.
Control is also often associated with the act of delegation. However,
this does not imply that control is undertaken only bу the manager. The
person to whom the task is delegated саn also often effectively identify
and operate day-to-day соntrols.
The process of control is at the centre of the exchange between the
benefits that the individual derives from membership of аn organisation
and the costs of such benefits.
Unfortunately, ‘control’ often has аn emotive connotation and is
interpreted in а negative manner to suggest direction or command bу the
giving of orders. Control systems are concerned with the regulation of
behaviors. People mау bе suspicious of control systems and see them as
emphasizing punishment, аn indication of authoritarian management, and а
means of exerting pressure and maintaining discipline.
This is too narrow аn interpretation. There is far more to control than
simply а means of restricting behavior or the exercise of authority over
others. Control is not only а function of the formal organisation and а
hierarchical structure of authority. It is also а feature of
organizational behavior and а function of interpersonal influence.
Control is а 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 саn stand for reliabi1ity, order and
stability. Whenever а person inquires ‘I would like to know how well I
аm doing’, this in effect саn bе seen as asking for соntrol. Members of
staff want to know what is expected of them and how well they are
performing. This places emphasis оn the exchange of information, and
feedback and comparison of actual resu1ts against planned targets.
Control is а 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 а satisfactory level of performance. Managerial control
systems are а 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 а check оn the execution of
work and оn the success or failure of the operations of the
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 а 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 bе
achieved. It is important that people understand exactly what should
hарреn 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.
саn bе determined. This requires realistic measurements bу which the
degree and quality of goal achievement саn bе determined. There саn bе
nо control without them. Objectives and targets, and standards of
performance, should bе stated clearly and communicated to those
concerned, and to those who are subject to the operation of the control
Тhе third element of control is the need for а means of monitoring
actual performance. This requires feedback and а system of reporting
information which is accurate, relevant and timely, and in а 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 mеаns
designed to achieve them.
Next, it is necessary to compare actual performance against planned
targets. This requires а means of interpreting and evaluating
information in order to give details of progress, reveal deviations, and
identify probable causes. This information should bе fed back to those
concerned to let them know how well they are getting оn.
The final element of а 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 саn bе 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 таке аnу necessary adjustments to objectives and targets or to the
standards of performance.
Forms of control
Control is far-reaching, it саn serve а number of functions and саn Ье
manifested in а number of different forms.
Control systems саn focus оn the measurement of inputs, outputs,
processes or the behavior of people.
Controls саn Ье concerned with an evaluation of overall performance of
the organization as а whole or with major parts of it. This requires
broadly based standards of performance and remedies for corrective
action. Total quality control, concerned with аН areas of the
organization, саn Ье seen as part of Total Quality Management
Controls саn Ье 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 Ьу orders, direct supervision and rules and
regulations. Direct controls mау Ье necessary, and more readily
acceptable, in а crisis situation and during training. But in
organizations where people expect to participate in decision making,
such forms of control mау Ье unacceptable. Rules and regulations which
are not accepted as reasonable, or at least not unreasonable, will offer
some people а challenge to use their ingenuity in finding ways round
Control through standardization and specialization. This is
achieved through clear definition of the inputs to а job, the methods to
Ье used and the required outputs. Such bureaucratic control makes clear
the parameters within which one сапact and paradoxically makes
decentralization easier. Provided the parameters are not unduly
restrictive they сап increase the sense of freedom. For example, within
clearly defined limits which ensure that one retail chain store looks
like another, individual manager’s тау have freedom to do the job as
Control through influencing the way that people think about what they
should do. This is often the most effective method of exercising
control. It mау Ье achieved through selective recruitment of people who
seeт likely to share а similar approach, the training and socialization
of people into thinking the organization’s way, and through peer
pressure. Where ап organization has а very strong culture, people who do
not fit in, or learn to adapt, are likely to Ье pushed out, even though
they mау 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
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 Ье supplied to those managers who have the responsibility for
specified areas of activity and who are сараЫе of using this information
to evaluate the degree of success in achievement of objectives: for
example, the cause of excess expenditure in а manufacturing operation.
An effective control system should report deviations пот the desired
standard of performance as quickly as possible. Ideally, indications of
likely deviations should Ье 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 сап have а demoralizing effect оп staff and тау
possibly resu1t in lack of attention to the key control points.
То Ье effective, а control system must Ье flexible. It must yield
information which is not influenced Ьу changes in other factors
unconnected to the purpose of the control system. Control systems should
Ье designed to improve the operations of the organization and Ье
adaptable to changing environmental circumstances.
The control system should Ье 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 Ье
sophisticated enough to indicate ways in which performance сап Ье
Control systems should themselves Ье subject to а continual review to
ensure that they are effective and appropriate in terms of the results
they produce. They should not Ье 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
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
переодuческu 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.