What are the Main Characteristics of Organizational Controls?

Thus, control implies the existence of certain goals and standards. These goals and standards are provided by the planning process. Control is the result of particular plans, goals and policies. It is forward looking since one can control future happenings and not the past.

However, on the control process, always the past performance is measured because no one can measure the outcome of a happening, which has not occurred. In the light of these measurements, managers suggest corrective actions for the future period.

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2. Control Is both an Executive Process and from the Point of View of the Organizations of the System, a Result:

As an executive process, each manager has to perform control function in the organization. According to the level of manager in the organization, the nature, scope and limit of his control function may be different as compared to a manager at the other level. Administrative control constitutes the most comprehensive control concept. All other types of control may be subsumed under it.

3. Control Is a Continuous Process:

Though managerial control enables the manager to exercise control at the point of action, it follows a definite pattern and time table, month after month and year after year on a continuous basis.

i. Control is a coordinated and integrated system

ii. This emphasizes that although data are collected for one purpose, these data should be reconciled with one another. In a sense, control system is a single system, but it is more accurate to think of it as a set of integrated sub-systems

iii. Control is neither the beginning nor the end function of any management process, it is in-process

iv. Control is a dynamic process

v. Control is exercised at all levels of management

vi. It is identified with individuals

vii. It does not necessarily mean curtailment of the rights of the subordinate managers and individuals

viii. Control is not something as interference as Follet had pointed out long ago. In fact, control implies: (a) control by facts rather than control by means (b) correlation of many controls in place of superimposed control

4. Essentials of Good Control:

i. Control must reflect the nature and needs of the activity

ii. Control should be so designed that an activity, its implementation procedures and its very purpose become apparent. The control system should be adequate enough to understand the need of the activity, its implementation and its achievement

iii. Control should report deviations promptly

iv. The effective control system detects deviations before they actually occur. Manager should be provided with information as soon as possible so that he can prevent failures

v. Control should be objective. Therefore, the performance evaluation of subordinates should not be subjective; rather, it should be definite and objective. Subordinates’ respond favourably to the objective and impartial evaluation of their performance

vi. Control should be motivating, it should not be coercive

vii. Control system should motivate both controller and controlled. The design of control system should be such that aims at motivating people by fulfilling their needs

viii. There should be some managerial self-control

Other essentials for good control are as follows:

5. Forward-Looking Control:

Ideal control is instantaneous, self-correcting and forward-looking. Managerial control is not exactly similar to the mechanical or electronic control. Normally, there exists a time-lag between recording and reporting the deviations and the corrective actions to become operative. A manager should, therefore, structure his control system in a way so that deviations are predicted well in time, and corrective actions can be initiated before substantial deviations occur.

6. Flexible Control:

In order to accomplish objectives, if it becomes necessary to revise the plans, the control system must have the scope to adopt itself to new developments. The core idea is to make control process workable in dynamic business situations. Flexible plans tend to make the control adaptable to new situations.

7. Organizational Suitability:

Organizational suitability control is enforced through managers, whose role positions are embedded in the organizational pattern itself. Managers are provided with required authority, so as to enable them to exercise self-control and to initiate corrective actions. Control information flow should be in consistent with the prevailing organizational structure.

8. Control should be Economical:

Control system should be economical. Economical control system is cost effective. A cumbersome control system may sometimes have to be discarded because cost and benefit considerations do not warrant its installation.

A small company cannot always afford technology-empowered control systems like large companies.

9. Strategic Point Control (Pointing Out Exceptions at Critical Points):

All deviations are not of equal importance and do not require the same amount of attention. It is thus one of the essential requirements of an effective control system to highlight the critical or limiting points that deserve close management attention for appraisal and adjustments. Thus, efficient control system discriminates between important and unimportant factors and through it, makes the system more effective and less costly.

10. Control should be Simple to Understand:

Often control system experts recommend more sophisticated techniques of control systems overlooking their understandability to the managers of the organization. Also a cumbersome control system may not motivate people to use it, resulting dependence on the traditional informal control, based on grapevine information.

Thus, while launching a system of control, the management should see such tool is properly understood by all those who have to manage it. Mathematical formulae, complex break-even charts and detailed statistical summaries, though very useful may fail to prove as effective control devices if their meaning is not properly communicated to the executives who have to use them.

11. Control Suggests Corrective Action:

Effective control system should be capable to track deviations on time and suggest the required corrective actions. Simple tracking of deviations is not just enough. It should also be able to prevent deviations and errors, so that it does not occur.

12. Worker-Focused Control:

Modern control system is worker focused rather than work or job oriented. If any corrective action is called for, persons accountable for results are to be located for initiating remedial actions. Worker-focused control is generally associated with higher productivity.

13. Feedback:

A manager responsible for control needs a continuous flow of information relating to the actual performance so that deviations are promptly corrected in time. Information which flows back to the manager for this purpose is nothing but feedback. Feed forward information flows back from the manager to the performers.

Information may be given as a feedback informally or formally. Informal feedback is through personal contact, informal discussion and personal observation. Financial statements, reports, statistical analysis and other written communications furnish examples of formal feedback. In every organization, information is given as a feedback both formally, as well as, informally.

14. Interdependence of Control with Other Functions of Management:

Since control implies the existence of goals and plans, no manager can exercise control without them. He cannot measure whether his subordinates are operating in the desired way unless he has a plan. Without organization, it cannot be ascertained that who should make evaluations and who should take corrective actions. In absence of an effective direction, a manager cannot signify the impact of corrective action on the actual performance. Thus different phases of management process need to be effectively linked together. All these functions of management greatly facilitate the control process.

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