The Operational Approach to Management


Management is referred to as the science of using people and resources to achieve goals. Sometimes managers are involved in supervision and, therefore, management can further be interpreted as making sure people do their duties as assigned to them. This means that managers are mandated to ensure that productivity is realized in an organization (Fleet et al 48).

There are different approaches to management, which include contingency approach, operational approach, system approach, socio-technical system approach, mathematical approach, decision theory approach, social system approach, human behavior approach and empirical approach. This paper will discuss the operational approach to management (Fleet et al 49).

Operational approach theory

Operational approach is an approach that is borrowed from Bridgman’s work; this approach attempts to bring together the knowledge of management that is related to functions of management. Operational approach brings together management concepts, principles and techniques in the management practice (Fleet et al 76). According to Koontz and Weihrich, management involves designing and maintaining a working environment where individuals or people working in groups achieve their objectives efficiently.

This means that management cannot be successful without a strategic plan, proper coordination of activities and direction, as well as a good control of decision-making processes; therefore, managers should be equipped with skills in managerial competence as well as effectiveness in human resource management, administration, problem solving and leadership (Koontz and Weihrich 243).

Deming and McGregor are the founders of modern management which applies operational approach. Deming is known to influence the Japanese post war economic miracle. He suggested a creation of constancy so as to improve products and services and advised Japan to cease mass inspection dependency and built quality together with price (Homans 46).

He emphasized on training for management and adoption of leadership that is aimed at guiding people to do their best at work, ensure effective communication, discouraging fear and removing barriers between staffs and their departments and create adversarial relationships. He also encouraged the use of annual appraisal and objectives by the management, and education for self-improvement. H also emphasized that the top management should commit themselves to the improvement of quality and productivity.

Douglas McGregor had his idea of management; according to him, organizations run according to their manager’s beliefs. He uses ‘Theory X’, which shows a negative opinion management; he assumes that a big number of people are immature, therefore, they need to be directed and controlled, and he also assumes that they are not capable of being responsible (Koontz 279). According to him, most people dislike work and are lazy; therefore, they require financial inducements for them to work hard.

He also presents his argument using ‘Theory Y’, which says that people fulfill themselves through self-development, seeking of self-respect, as well as self-fulfillment at workplace. This theory assumes that human dislike for work depend on the kind of work and management, and the effort one put in work are influenced by the threat of punishment (Koontz 282).

The theory also assumes that when people are rewarded for achievement they commit themselves to work towards gives objectives, and human beings learn under favorable conditions.

This shows that it is through the functions and role of managers that human being can be made productive by committing themselves to work and do it considering the set objectives and goals. Therefore, management is seen as all the operations that are geared to the success of the company, group, enterprise or organization.

Management roles

Management in its operations, it is faced with a task of solving problems; these are problems that emerge as the organization strives to achieve its set goals as well as objectives. Management should have skills that will enable it to solve problems efficiently and effectively; first, the management should be in a position to identify a problem. When a problem is correctly identified, the management will not waste much of its time because solving would be easy and the problem can be solved once (Koontz and Weihrich 134).

In case, the problem is not correctly identified the management will waste a lot time dealing with the wrong cause and, therefore, the problem will keep own recurring. After problem identification, the management should work on the solution basing on the cause, and at this stage, the management should also have the ability to choose the right solution and implement the solution successfully (Enz 2).

Management plays an administrative role, which involves laying down procedure in an organization; these procedures are used in solving management crisis, delegation, communication, control and execution. The procedure help the management to ensure that the company is running smoothly and incase there is any anomaly in the running of the company or section of management, there are procedures that are followed to correct the anomaly.

Managers are also mandated with the integrating of human resource, assessing of workers and ensuring that workers and shareholders share ideas on the development and success of the company. This way, the management will be promoting responsibility, team work and a feeling of belonging, which gives the workers morale and commitment of working towards the company’s goal (Fleet et al 367).

Again in the line of its leadership, the management has to develop interpersonal relationship with shareholders and workers, encourage teamwork and instill the sense of self motivation within the workforce. The management should be have the emotional strength and be mature enough to handle situations in its area of management and have personal integrity.

Management objectives

As the management executes its role, it should do so with objectives, and one of these objectives is meeting goals and targets set by the organization, and this should be done with a minimum cost and waste. To meet this objective, the management should organize workers and other resources in a way that they meet the goals and objectives of the organization (Koontz 419).

Another objective of management is to make sure that the staff’s health and welfare, as well as safety, are taken care of; this improves the operation of the organization. The management also has to protect resources together with the machinery of the organization. The management, therefore, has to evaluate all these objectives and balance them; sometimes there are the organization might have opposed views, and in such situations, the management should reason with all the groups involved and come up with a common stand.

Sometimes, the management in its operation finds itself in a dilemma brought about by employees, consumers and government policies; in such a case, management is challenged to find a way of balancing the needs of the stakeholders in the issue at hand and in doing this, the management realizes that it cannot satisfy every need for each group (Koontz 415).

To achieve all the objectives, the manager should use the time given to him or her as well as that if the other workers well. The manager should also ensure efficiency in his or her dealings in order to finish given tasks in time; however, this should not compromise the quality of output; the manager should make sure that his work is effective and correct output is achieved the first time (Stoner et al 109).

For the manager to be effective, he or should apply knowledge and at the same time learn to trust his ‘gut feelings’, and when it comes to technical situations he or she should be in a position to use special skills as well as apply his or her training to solve the problem.

Managers should have skills that will help them understand others; there are people with no formal training, but they are excellent managers because of their understanding and adaptive nature. Managers can gain management techniques and skill through life experience and working on their mistakes.

Management functions

Management has its functions in an organization; these functions include planning, controlling, leading, staffing and organization. The management function of planning involves choosing organization missions and objectives as well as actions that will lead to their achievement (Koontz 304).

This function requires that the manager should have the ability to make decisions; this will help him or her to choose the best actions out from a pool of alternatives. Planning involves focusing at the future and developing actions that would be executed to achieve a given goal or objective in the future. For instance, developing a budget on how the money will be spent in the future and briefs the organization of areas where costs are high.

The management is mandated with the planning and making decisions; sometimes, this function is challenging but it gives an organization focus (Fleet et al 402). The plan presented by the management is not always final; it can be revised over and over again to achieve the desired results. There are other planning activities, which include ordering or supplying of goods, scheduling of employees and setting deadlines.

As people work together, they have goals to achieve and for these people to achieve the goals each and every individual should have a role to play and their role must be well structured and defined by an individual who want them to work or contribute to group in a specific way (Stoner et al 151).

This is the point where the organizing management role comes in; the manager should consider the required resources and activities, the manager then assigns to the employees responsibilities. Managers should also give authority to employees for them to accomplish tasks; he or she should ensure that all employees have tasks to accomplish and everything is accomplished according to instructions (Stoner et al 153).

Sometimes the manager can choose to break down tasks into small, simple tasks; this is done to simplify complex tasks and ensure quality work. The function of organizing is difficult because the manager is faced with difficulties in making structures work for given situations; this includes identifying a job that should be done and choosing the right person for the job.

In an organization everything has to be put in order and records kept and a manager is mandated to do this. Staffing is a function that relates to this task and it entails filling documents and keeping the filled documents in an orderly and easily retrievable manner.

To do this function effectively and efficiently, the manager should identify the requirements of a company’s work-force, the people available for inventory and recruiting and selection procedures, placement, promotion and appraisal, training, and preparing of candidates to complete their tasks efficiently and effectively.

To manage people effectively, managers should have an influential character; they should influence other workers to work towards the goals and objectives of the organization. This character depends on the interpersonal way of managing.

This function is full of challenges because of people have different attitudes and desire and when working in groups or as individuals they have behave differently, leading and bringing these people together to work towards common goals and objectives is something that might sound difficult for many people (Stoner et al 189).

A manager who passes through these challenges and manages to organize these people together passes the test of leadership. As leaders, managers are supposed to motivate people to when working as a group and as individuals, and this depends on ones leadership style and the way of communication (Homans 67). Motivation may be through rewarding, promotion of employees who achieve the best and praising them when they do something good.

Communication is also important; a good leader should always encourage communication between the management and those under the management, this ensure that everything is done smoothly (Fleet et al 407). A leader should be ready to listen to opinions of others and encourage dialogue in case of any issue; this makes the employees trust him or her. Listening to employees helps managers to understand them and working together becomes easier.

In any institution, there must be a limit or measure to something and directions are given by the management. A manager should have the ability to control all activities under his jurisdiction so that the activities conform to the plans of the organization.

There must be a measure of performance considering the goals and the plans put in place to achieve them; this measure will help the organization to determine negative deviations from the plans and devise ways that would correct deviations. Planning always comes before controlling, but because plans cannot execute themselves; their deviations can be influenced by those who execute them (Koontz 267).

Plans are used by managers for guidance on the manner in which resources would be used to achieve company goals; therefore, activities should be checked to see if they are in-line with the proposed plans. In case of any deviations, the manager will trace individuals responsible for the deviations in the planned actions and devise ways that bring the plan back to its intended track. This shows that the controlling function of the manager helps to control the outcomes of an organization.

The activities of the plan need to be coordinated, and it is through this is also a function of the managers. Coordination is done to harmonize the efforts of individuals with the goals set for a group or organization.

This is because individuals have a different way of interpreting similar interests, and this means that their efforts are automatically not in-line with other people’s efforts; therefore, the manager is the one who will bring together the different interests, efforts, timings and approaches and harmonize each individual’s goal to contribute the overall goals of the group or organization (Koontz 274).

All these functions of the management affect the organization’s internal environment and this affect the performance within an organization. However, managers also work in an external environment; therefore, they need to understand elements of the external environment such as ethical factors, technological, political and social factors, which affect their operation.

Goals of managers

All managers aim at increasing their level of goals’ achievement, therefore, they have to create an environment that is favorable for more achievements of more goals with the available resources of money, time and labor. Such managers are referred to as strategic managers (Megginson et al 256). Managers are also supposed to be more productive, and any organization considers it as an urgent goal and for effective productivity, the manager should perform both his or her managerial, and non-managerial functions well.

Productivity is also achieved through effectiveness and efficiency; an effective manager strives to achieve objectives while an efficient manager achieves the objectives with the least available resources. Therefore, managers should first define their goals then proceed to work with the available resources to achieve the goals.

Importance of managers

Managers have a responsibility of influencing individuals to contribute to group or organization’s objectives. This means management applies to both small and large organizations, manufacturing and service industries, profit making and non-profit making enterprises (Mondy and Premeaux 379).

However, management differs considering levels present in an organization or an enterprise; there can also be differences in scope as well as problems in different levels of management. Managers who use operational approach in their groups or environment get good performance by establishing an environment that is favorable for the group or organization endeavor.

Managerial functions are functions that are carried out by all managers irrespective of the level and type of organization or enterprise; however, each function is unique because of the difference in time requirement (Megginson et al 512).

For instance, managers at top level use much of their time planning and organizing, this is as opposed to the manager in lower levels of management, and when it comes to leading, managers who are first-line supervisors use most of their time. The time used for the controlling function of managers is slightly different at various levels of management.

Management is considered as an institution that is dynamic, and it gives life in business organizations or enterprises; this is because, lack of leadership from managers makes resources not productive despite the abundance. Also, an organization that is operating in an environment that is full of competition need the quality services of a manager to survive and succeed (Megginson et al 612).

Management roles are paramount in today’s business; business people discuss management and labor, as opposed to the earlier years where capital and labor were the most paramount issues. Also, ‘responsibilities of management’ is the vocabulary on every businessman who wishes to succeed in his or her business.

Managerial skills

Managers require skills in their operations, and these skills include human and technical skills, and conceptual and design skills. Technical skill involves knowledge in activities that involve methods, procedure of operation and process involved in production; this skill helps the manager to learn to work with tools as well as specific methods or techniques.

Managers also require human skill in performing their functions; they should learn to work with people and cooperate as a team. Managers should also create an environment that is free for people to feel secure and willing to share their opinions with others (Koontz 319). Another important skill is conceptual skill, which shows the ability of a manger to recognize elements of a situation, as well as have a good understanding of the relationships between the elements.

This skill will help a manager to solve problems or handle situations effectively. Managers are often faced with a challenge of solving problems, and for them to do it in a way that benefits the organization, the managers need to have design skill; they should have debility to identify a problem and more (Koontz 278). This skill will help them come up with practical solutions to the real problem. All this skills are different in importance at different levels of management, in an organization.

Technical skills are useful for managers who are supervisors and those in middle management levels, while human skills are important at all levels of management because each manager frequently interacts with his or her juniors and seniors (Koontz 324). Conceptual skills are not that crucial to supervisory managers, but gains it importance from the middle level of management to the top level. Design skills together with conceptual skills are crucial at the top management level.


Operational approach is seen as a modern and the most effective approach to management. The management has different roles and functions, and it is through its roles and functions such as planning, leading, coordination, staffing, organizing among others that contribute to the success of an organization.

The organization has resources which are limited these resources need someone who will plan for them and organize them in a way that they become productive, and to do this one need to have skills that will help him make the available resources productive in a more efficient and productive manner. This is where managers in their operations use their natural and acquired skills perform their functions.

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