The Four Functions of Management


TheFour Functions of Management


Administrationincludes mission identification, techniques, goals, tenets, and humancontrol capital of any business endeavor that further adds to thesame business venture. It thus implies effective communicationbetween an organization’s management and its employees. Theenvironment, as opposed to the mechanical or physical mechanism, alsoimplies successful outcome and motivation. Management, as such, isnot manipulation of mechanism, and can take place in both the illegaland legal business enterprise environment. Management is an importantsince it is aimed at improving relationships through planning,leading, organizing, and controlling. All the four functions ensuremanagement is effectively handled in an organizational or businesssetting. Management thus, must involve human beings, communication,and positive business endeavor. From the beginning, management wasoften viewed functionally to include quality, adjustment of plans,and meeting objectives. This also applies in certain situations whereother activities do not take place. This is why management isconsidered to have its functions.

Keywords: Management, planning, leading, organizing, controlling

TheFour Functions of Management

Inevery organization or business entity, whether local ormulti-national, should develop and implement management functions.Management therefore, can be defined as the function that directs andcoordinates people’s efforts towards accomplishing objectives andgoals in a business setup or an organization by using effectively andefficiently the available resources (Berkin, 2015)Thus, there arefour functions of management: Planning, leading, organizing, andcontrolling.

Forevery function stated, it plays an important role in the capabilityof the manager to support his or her organization’s strategic goalsand objectives. The organization’s management should be in a betterposition to demonstrate some level of proficiency in all four ofthese management functions. Management also encompasses manipulationand deployment of financial resources, natural resources, and humanresources. In addition, it can be referred to as an academicdiscipline, more so a social science, with an objective or a goal tolearn more of social organization.

Planningas a Function of Management

Onething that is more certain about any organization’s future ischange. Therefore, planning is an important bridge that connects thepresent and the future. It also increases the chance of achieving thedesired results. Planning is defined as the process of determiningwhether to try out a task, work out the best and most efficient wayof coming up with desired results, and prepare well to avoidunexpected difficulties, and with enough resources. Planning refersto the beginning of a process whereby an individual, business, or anorganization turns empty dreams into results and achievements(International Management Review, 2014). &nbspIt enables one toovercome the trap of trying hard but accomplishing very little interms of results. Planning is an initial investment with intangibleresults but eventually leads to success. It helps an organizationachieve desired effect from an initial input. In planning of anactivity within an organization, the administration is in idealposition to come up with particular goals and objectives, which couldguarantee that they are cut in accordance to the overall vision ofthe task. The organization sets a date to carry out a task.

Planningis thus done prior to the due date, with refinement and occasionalwatchful growth of the plan and the date. This is done byhighlighting tasks to be done by perfectly explaining and in linewith the timetable. This will guarantee that the plan is performedefficiently and effectively before the onset of the task. Planning asa function of management ensures that an organization in question isin a position to gather enough resources and effectively handle thetasks in the best possible way (Journal of Economics &amp ManagementStrategy, 2012). Planning ensures that the organization’s resourcesare conserved, make enough profit and be a useful firm. Again,planning enables a firm to figure out exactly what, where, when, andwhy they need to achieve the desired results.

Forexample, Melissa is a marketing manager of her organization. Her maingoal is to increase the number of sales by the end of February. Whatshe would be required to do is spend considerable amount of timemapping out and figuring out important steps she with her team ofrepresentatives, will have to follow in order to increase the numberof sales. What Melissa and her team are doing is referred to asplanning. Their steps may include activities like increasing thelevel of advertisement, preferably in areas where there is minimalawareness and demand. What they could include in their plan would bethings like specific items for sale, specific number of salesrepresentatives per every customer, and making contact with potentialcustomers to determine their level of demand on the product. Planningrepresents a cornerstone for effective formulation strategy in anybusiness of organization. As much as it may be considered to be thebackbone of management, most of the managers in a business settingare known to ignore. From the above example, Mellissa should be in abetter position to know that planning is a successful strategy thatwould see her overcome the odds and push for the organization’sproduct to the market (Journal of Economics &amp ManagementStrategy, 2012). Mellissa should know that she should evaluate herstrategy, which will involve good planning of organizing, givingmotivation, and handling organization’s activities.

Planningcan impact positively on an organization, business, or individualperformances. It allows for identification by the organization ofavailable external opportunities, while it minimizes the impact ofavailable external threats. Planning, especially within anorganization, involves extrapolating in the present from the pastinto the future. This function also includes coming up with a missionto forecast future trends and events, while establishing theobjectives and choosing strategic goals to pursue (Project ManagementInstitute, 2013).

Anyorganization can come up with a synergy as a result of planning. Wheneveryone within an organization pulls together as one team, there isexistence of sense in that kind of synergy. This is when all theindividuals are aware what to achieve, which in that case refersynergy to have the 21255 effect (Academy of Strategic Management,2013). To establish and communicate clear objectives, the managementteam and the employees within an organization can work effectivelytoward desire results. Powerful, competitive advantages can beachieved as a result of synergy. The process of strategic managementis often aimed at creating the kind of synergy needed in anorganization.

Finally,planning allow an organization to the changing market, and in turn isin a potion to change its destiny (Information Resources ManagementAssociation, 2012). Here, strategic management is viewed to be aformal process, which allows an organization to follow up onproactive and not reactive strategies. What successful organizationsare known to do is to control their futures and not react to theexternal events and forces as they happen. Historically, thoseorganizations or business that never conforms to change throughplanning became extinct. What is needed today is swift adaptation tochanging economies, markets, and competition. And for this to bedone, proper planning has to be done.

Organizingas a Function of Management

Thesole aim of organizing is to accomplish coordinated efforts throughdefinition of authority and task relationship, according to EuropeanJournal of International Management (2014). There are a few examplesthat goes back to history, which explain a well-establishedorganizations or business, which has successfully competed against,or in other cases defeated, what was considered stronger, but areless-organized institutions. A well-organized organization isgenerally characterized with motivated management executive team andemployees committed to seeing the success of the organization theywork in (International Journal of Integrated Supply Management,2012). Through organizing, resources are effectively allocated andefficiently used in a well-organized organization or business entitythan it is in less-organized one.

Managersare known to have finite amount of available resources, and they haveto use their organization skills to ensure they are effectively used.In Target retail stores for example, the management team are known tobalance simultaneously between the human resources and themerchandise inventory (International Journal of Management, 2014). AtTarget stores, it is possible that technologies are employed toensure the job of the management team becomes easier. Barcodescanners, for example, have made it possible for the managers to keephold of the running inventory of the entire products in the store.When a certain item is identified to be low on inventory, the teamcould then take the necessary action to order for the products forthe retail store. Additionally, time management software has beenused to tract Target’s employees, and ensures that the retail storeis fully staffed at all times (International Management DevelopmentAssociation, 2014). The use of technologies has greatly increased themanagement team’s ability to make well-informed decisions, choices,and effectively organize the resources.

Evenwith the use of technologies as seen at Target stores, organizing asa function of management is again viewed to consist of threeactivities sequentially related with each other. These includebreaking down of tasks into work-specialization jobs, jobscombination to create departments (departmentalization), anddelegation authority (British Academy of Management, 2012). To breakdown jobs requires job description development and specification ofjobs. The two tools make it clear for the management team and theemployees of what a particular within the organization, entail. &nbsp&nbsp

Tocombine jobs with the intention of getting results from thedepartments in an organizational structure, end up with a span ofcontrol and a command chain. A change in strategy requires a changein structure since new positions might be created, merged, or deleted(International Management Development Association, 2014). Thestructure within an organization dictates the manner in whichresources are often located and how the organization establishes itsobjectives. To allocate resources and establish objectives,especially geography for example, is a lot different thanaccomplishing it by the product or customer.

Themanagement team within an organization can carry out managementfunctions by following a number of steps. These steps includeidentification of activities, organizing activities within thedepartments, authority classification, and co-ordination between theauthority and responsibility (International Journal of Value-basedManagement, 2012). Identification of activities is handled first.These activities include making sales, accounts preparation, keepingrecords, and quality and inventory control. Within the department,activities are organized by combining groups with similar or relatedactivities into departments or manageable units (InternationalJournal of Human Resource Management, 2015). Classifying authoritygives ranks to ensure an order is created to form managerialhierarchy. With co-ordination relations are nurtured among differentgroups to guarantee smooth interaction towards organizationalobjectives and goals. This way, every individual within anorganization is made to be aware of his or her authority and whomthey are required to take orders from or are accountable. This way,all the employees are made to understand the organizationalstructure.

Leadingas a Function of Management

Leadingrefers to an alternative but paramount function of management. Thisis what a manager within an organization does to make sure thatwhatever errands delegated, are finished. Again, a great manager isrequired to be at the forefront as an exceptional guide. This isbecause tasks are instructed to be handles in an auspicious mannerand again up to particulars. To lead requires being in accordancewith the target of the venture or the task close by. There arecertain managers that do not bother to carry out a plan or evenorganize. This is because it depends on a specific approach of everysingle manager. A particular manager may have his or her own diversestyle of management. This is used to guarantee a fundamental need toincorporate conveyance of expectations, at the same time, keeping upwith the level of motivation of the workers.

Leadingcomes with motivation. Management team in an organization hasmastered the art of motivating their employees to ensure they are ina better position to influence them to accomplish specific goals andobjectives. With motivation, managers make sure their employees workharder than before. With leading alone, strategies, objectives,policies, and goals have minimal chance of succeeding if the managershave not motivated their employees, while leading (InternationalJournal of Management, 2014). The employees should be motivatedenough in order to implement objectives and strategies onceformulation is done.

Theleading function of the management includes four main sections:Leadership, communication, motivation, and change in organization.When in an organization, managers and their employees strive toachieve high productivity levels, this shows that there is goodleadership. Good leadership is characterized by rapport with amongthe subordinates, whose leaders empathize with concerns and needs setby the leaders (International Journal of Management Reviews, 2013).Leadership involves developing a clear vision of the organization’sfuture, at the same time, inspiring the same people to work harder toachieve set goals and objectives. International Journal of IntegratedSupply Management (2012) reported that there are particular traitsthat characterize who the effective leaders are. They includecognitive ability, honesty, drive, integrity, and self-confidence,and business knowledge.

Researchshows that certain behaviors in regard to the leader’s resultsreveal positive attitude towards change and high productivity thanthose with autocratic behavior. Through leading, management demandgroup dynamics to play a major role in boosting employee’ssatisfaction and morale to meet organization’s objectives andgoals. Leading coalitions from the management within an organizationmay range from being positive to negative (Information ResourcesManagement Association, 2012). Leadership thus dictates that strategyto lead identifies the nature and composition of informal groups tofacilitate formulation of strategy, evaluation, and implementationwith the management setting. &nbsp

GlobalPartnership Management Journal (2011) observes that perhapscommunication is more important in leadership within the management,more so in regard to motivation. The system of leadership determineswhether communication strategies can successfully be implemented. Atwo-way communication between the management and employees isimportant for gaining divisional and departmental policies and goals.Top-down communication can encourage leadership through bottom-upcommunication (European Journal of International Management, 2014).Leadership in strategic-management would turn out to be a lot easierwhen the employees are lead to discuss and present their grievances,and the managers would be able to provide recommendations across theorganization. Leading, therefore, is a primary reason to institutestrategic management of the employees in an organization in order tobuild and encourage effective leadership networks throughcommunication within the organization.

Controllingas a Function of Management

Controllingas a function of management include all the activities taken to makesure actual operations adhere to the initially planned operations.Every manager within an organizational structure is mandated withcontrolling responsibilities. He or she is also mandated to carry outvaluation performance, at the same time, necessary actions tominimize inefficiencies that might arise. This function of managementis of particular importance, especially for effective evaluation ofstrategy (British Academy of Management, 2012). Controlling consistof four steps: Measuring organizational and individual performance,establishing performance standards, comparison of the actual andplanned performance standards, and handling corrective actions.

Tomeasure an individual performance is frequently conductedineffectively or none at all in the organizations. This setbackensures evaluations that may create confrontations in which themajority of managers choose to avoid. This could also take more timeto accomplish than a lot of managers are willing to provide, and thuscould require certain skills that the majority of managers do nothave (International Management Review, 2014). There is no singleapproach that could measure an individual’s performance withoutlimitations. In this regard, an organization should thus examine anumber of methods, for example, the graphic rating scale,behaviorally anchored scale, and critical incident method, whichwould then be used to select or develop performance appraisalapproach, which best suits an organization’s needs.

Reflectingon the functions of management, controlling is essentially whatconnects the previous three functions. This is because it regulatescontrolled set-up and executes particular novels, which concernsexecution, preparation, and time obligation (Journal of Economics &ampManagement Strategy, 2012). In regulation of the process andexecution, checking and reporting is done multiple times to come upwith any progressions to be handled. This is done to ensure the tasksrun efficiently and smoothly, and if they have to change the assetsto achieve the target better, then altering of the faculty may bedone to meet the due dates. It thus reflects on the planning functionof the management.

&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Managerswithin management today are occupied and saturated with themanagement of intrusions, distinguishing blazes, and rushing formeetings. Decisions made in such meetings do not often produce thedesired results. These results may be required for controlling someskills to be in a better position to change arising situations. Thewhole process of controlling can therefore be regarded as a constantmonitor to establish objectives and goals. Journal of Market-focusedManagement (2013) observes that innovation is a force that wouldallow improvements to be executed on an organization’s goals andobjectives. Managers can therefore look for certain innovativeopportunities that would improve the organization’s performance.

InTarget Corporation for example, managers are known to scramble forinnovative products, and again to innovate data practices of theircustomers after a massive security breach (Project ManagementInstitute, 2013). In this regard, compromise of the customer’s datahas given the managers added motivation, which is required to controland handle the situation better, while looking out for innovativeideas to prevent identical future occurrence. Finally, controlling asa function of management is the last but important stage ofmanagement function. This is because it includes setting up andhandling certain standards achieved within an organization. Thefunction involve evaluation of results, which is in comparison withthe standards set and incase of any emerging variations.Additionally, it helps the management to come up the needed measures.


Forany organization to succeed, these four management functionsplanning, leading, organizing, and controlling, are consideredcrucial. Today, managers in every reputable organization are filledwith management intrusions. To learn how to balance each of the fourmanagement functions, will prompt a successful administration. Inorder for every administration in an organization to be successfuland productive, first, it has to accomplish targets and objectiveswithin the organization. To do this, inventive understanding isrequired in each of the four management functions. Additionally,along these lines, success demands that the administration be a lotmore productive and successful.

Accordingly,it should accomplish set objectives and goals, at the same time,engage in a manner that expenses to be incurred for accomplishment,is feasible. Finally, while there may a change in management trends,a trend have since been defined, which aims at embracing marketdiversity through management functions. Managers have since opted fortraining to be in apposition to encourage immense quality within thework place. This they do by increasing flexibility levels throughretraining and innovation. Training has therefore resulted in usingmeasurement techniques, better employee working environment, and withcharismatic sense of leadership.


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The Four Functions of Management



TheFour Functions of Management

TheFour Functions of Management

Literaturereview outline

Thispaper looks at the basic functions of management in organizations,including their importance and current trends in the modern businessenvironment. These functions of management are the primary functionswhich the management in an organization are expected to perform forthe effective running of the organization. Although businessorganization have different management structures, depending on theirsize and field, the functions of management remain common (Daft &ampMarcic, 2013). The basic functions of management include planning,organizing, controlling and leading. In some literatures, staffingand coordination are included as independent functions of management.Planning involves identification of organizational goals anddeveloping strategies on how the achieve the goals. Organizinginvolves the proper allocation of resources in the organizationsboth capital and human resources and ensuring that there are notchaos. Controlling involves ensuring that the activities in theorganization does not go out of control and remains focuses to thegoals of the organization. Leading involves staffing and humanresources management activities. Staffing involves all aspectsrelated to human resources management such as recruitment andselection, promotion, disciplining, remuneration and motivation ofworkers (Daft &amp Marcic, 2013).

Thearticle Cragg et al (2013) and Shirin et al (2014) looks at theimpacts of the four functions of management in the management oforganizations. Endot et al (2011) analyses the impacts of technologyon the basic functions of management. Seal &amp Mattimoe (2014),Breckova &amp Havlicek (2013) and Vuko &amp Ojvan (2013) focus oncontrolling as a function of management in business organizations.Boute et al (2011) focuses on the role of organizing in businessmanagement. Welch &amp Denice (2012), Bellemare et al (2011), Kuhn(2015) and Boudreau &amp Ziskin (2011) look at the leading andstaffing function of management in organizations. Zarzycka (2012),Gholamreza et al (2013), Qian (2015) and Blatstein (2012) outline theimportance of planning as a management fuction.


Cragg,P et al. (2013). “The Influence of IT Management Sophistication andIT Support on IT Success in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises”,Journalof Small Business Management,51(4) p 617–636.

Despitetheir small sizes, management of small and middle sized businessorganization requires sound management skills. This article looks atthe role of management functions such as planning, organizing,controlling and leading in the management of information technologyin small and middle sized organizations. The article identifiesmanagement functions, mainly planning and leading as the main factorsthat influence the success of information technology in small andmiddle sized business organizations.

Shirin,D. et al. (2014). “Project Monitoring and Evaluation: an enhancingmethod for Health Research System Management”, InternationalJournal of Preventive Medicine,5(4), p 505-510.

Thearticle identifies planning, organizing, staffing, leading andmonitoring as some of the basic functions of management. Although themain aim of program monitoring and evaluation, management functionsare highlighted as basic tools that are necessary for the success ofa project.

Endot,I. et al (2011). &quotThe management systems in the modern businessenvironment.&quot Advancesin Environmental Biology (2011):2129+. Academic OneFile.

Emergingtechnologies have an impact in management functions in modernorganizations. There are management systems that are dependentautomated applications have been developed to increase theeffectiveness and efficiency of management functions. This paperidentifies some of the modern technologies that can be useful tomanagers in executing their management functions.

Boute,R Van Dierdonck, R Vereecke, A. (2011). “Organizing for supplychain management”, InternationalJournal of Logistics-Research and Applications,14, p 297-315.

Inthe modern business environment, a robust supply chain management,especially in large business organization plans an important role inthe operations of an organization. In the supply chain management,organizing as a function of management plays a critical role. Thispaper uses data from different companies to explain the importance oforganizing by different managers in the supply chain in the creationof a coordinated and integrated system.

Seal,W. &amp Mattimoe, R. (2014). “Controlling strategy throughdialectical management”, ManagementAccounting Research,25(3), p 230-243.

Controllingis one of the most important functions of management. This articleprovides an overview of how controlling as a function of managementcan be used to manage tensions in workplaces. Tensions in workplacesare mainly associated with conflicts in different functional areasand departments within an organization. The paper recommendsdialectical management as a controlling strategy in organizations.

Vuko,T. &amp Ojvan, I. (2013). “Controlling and Business Efficiency”,CroatianOperational Research Review,4, p. 44-52

Controllingsystem in an organization is a basic management tool that has aninfluence on the efficiency and successfulness of a businessenvironment. The article defines controlling as “process ofdefining objectives, planning, and management control so that everydecision maker can act in accordance with agreed objectives.” Thearticle looks at the effectiveness of controlling as a function ofmanagement.

Breckova,P. &amp Havlicek, K. (2013). “Leaders Management and PersonnelControlling in SMEs”, EuropeanResearch Studies,16, p 3-14.

Oneof the most important challenges in the modern business environment,especially small and middle sized enterprises that have lessdevelopment functional structures is the management of humanresources. Personnel controlling is an important ingredient inpromoting business growth and success. The journal article outlinesthe role of personnel controlling as a strategic and operational toolof management.

Welch,C. L., &amp Denice E. W. (2012), &quotWhat do HR managers reallydo? HR roles on international projects.&quot ManagementInternational Review,July 2012: 597+. Academic OneFile.

Oneof the most important functional units of management is the humanresources management. This serves the staffing function ofmanagement. This includes the management of all aspects of theorganization related to personnel management such as recruitment andselection, employee turnover, promotion, firing, and remuneration.The journal article looks at the importance of human resourcesmanagement and staffing functions especially at the internationallevel.

Bellemare,G., Arieh, B. &amp Carl-Denis, B. (2011). &quotCompetency-BasedManagement–an integrated approach to human resource management inthe Canadian public sector.&quot PublicPersonnel Management,Spring 2011: 1+. Academic OneFile.

Increasingthe productivity and efficiency of human resources in a business ornon business organization is a focal point in the modern strategicmanagement strategy. Organizations are adopting different strategiesthat are aimed at improving the staffing aspect of their managementsystems. This article looks at competence based management approachin increasing the productivity of human resources in an organization.

Kuhn,M. (2015). ”Selecting the Good vs. Rejecting the Bad: RegulatoryFocus Effects on Staffing Decision Making”, Humanresources management,54(1), p 131-150.

Recruitmentand selection of employees is a critical role of the staffingfunctional unit of management. The aim of every organization during arecruitment process is to select the best candidate for the job whileavoiding bad hires. This journal article provides an insight on thebasic aspects of staffing and costs and benefits of various staffingapproaches and practices.

Boudreau,J. &amp Ziskin, I. (2011). “The future of HR and effectiveorganizations”, OrganizationalDynamics,40(4), p 255-266.

Staffingthrough the human resources functional unit of management has animportant role in making people within an organization moreeffective. Although this role is not likely to change, there arenumerous changes that are likely to take place in the future whichhave a direct impact on staffing as a function of management. Thisjournal article aims at creating awareness of some of the futurechanges in staffing and human resources management that are likely tohave an impact on organizational effectiveness.

Zarzycka,E. (2012). “Management Accountant`s Role and Functions in theEnterprise Resource Planning Environment-Author`s Own Research intoEnterprises in Poland”, ComparativeEconomic Research,15(2) p. 47-65.

Planningis essential in organizational management. There are various toolsthat can be used by organizations in improving the planning functionof management. One of these tools has been enterprise resourcesmanagement. The journal article provides an evidence based analysisof how enterprise resources planning systems have impacted positivelyin the management of business organization by integrating data thatis necessary for decision making processes.

Gholamreza,Z. et al (2013). “The Strategic Planning Process and CurrentPractices: A Comparative Empirical Study of UMW Toyota Motor andChemical Company of Malaysia,” AsianSocial Science,9(9).

Thisarticle looks at the strategic planning process and some of the bestpractices in planning. Planning can influence the success of failureof a business organization. The article uses comparative data of twodifferent companies with an aim of identifying the best practicesthat an organization management can use in the planning process inorder to improve its operations.

Qian,H. (2015). “Strategic Planning for Community-Based Small NonprofitOrganizations: Implementation, Benefits, and Challenges”, Journalof Applied Management and Entrepreneurship,19(1), p 43-57.

Planningplays an important role in promoting strategic thinking and businessenvironment that enables business organizations meets current andemerging challenges. Although strategic planning is an expensiveprocess, it is a critical function of management. This article looksat the processes that are involved in strategic planning as well assome of the current practices in specific organizations.

Blatstein,M. (2012). “Strategic Planning: Predicting or Shaping the Future?”OrganizationDevelopment Journal,30(1).

Themain reason why planning is one of the most important function ofmanagement in an organization is because it prepares the organizationfor the future. In the planning process, the management explores thedifferent aspects of the organization future. This article looks atthe intellectual journey through which organization management gothrough during strategic planning.


Daft,R. &amp Marcic, D. (2013). Understandingmanagement,Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.