Classical Management Functions

Many management books are subdivided into major segments under each of these five categories, although the function, coordinating, is not used as often as the others. To check if Miner’s assertion fits contemporary textbooks, the first author used a convenience sample of the newer management textbooks in his office. Of the 21 books identified with publication dates between 1983 and 1986, 17 used at least four of the classical Payola functions to organize the book. Three of the remaining books used at least three of the functions in their organization.

All 21 books mentioned the Payola functions in describing managerial work and 20 texts included a chapter on the nature of managerial work. Most management textbooks begin with a discussion of the nature of managerial work which indicates that this topic is the basis of the subject matter of management Just as Payola indicated many years ago. However, during the past ten ears or so, the usefulness of the classical functions for classifying managerial work activities has been questioned by a number of writers, especially Mentoring (1970, 1971, 1973, 1975), who developed his own typology for describing managerial work.

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Cotter (AAA, Bibb) also developed a conceptualization of the manager’s Job as has Stewart (1974, 1976, 1982). Eleven of the twenty-one textbooks examined described Midwinter’s conceptualization along with the classical functions as descriptions of what managers do but, in no case were these two different perspectives integrated, indicating uncertainty about how they fit together, if at all. In some books only Midwinter’s raw research data was mentioned. Cotter’s research was not included in the chapter on managerial work in any text.

It seems clear that authors are having some difficulty in handling these diverse perspectives on managerial work. This is indicated by their consistent failure to integrate these different perspectives in a way that is clear to the reader. A few studies have attempted to test Midwinter’s roles in actual operating situations. In four of Midwinter’s ten roles (figurehead, contaminators, disturbance handler, and negotiator) overlapped too much with the activities found in other roles to be considered separate.

Also an examination of the McCall and Grist (1980) factor loadings for the items they used to measure Midwinter’s roles indicates that many of the items for the remaining six Mentoring role scales also loaded heavily on several factors rather than one. Luau, Newman, and Breeding (1980) used Midwinter’s framework to develop 50 questionnaire items which were administered to 210 government managers and then factor analyzed.

Instead of Midwinter’s ten roles, they found four actors (leadership and supervision, information gathering and dissemination, technical problem solving, and executive decision making-planning-resource allocation). Although this study indicated that managers spend some time in leadership as well as in information gathering and dissemination activities as Mentoring indicated, it was not supportive of Midwinter’s findings. Seeker and Aldrich (1983) observed four top executives (two public/two private) for one week.

Using Midwinter’s coding categories, they found these managers carried out a large number of different activities per day, that the Jobs were hardhearted by brevity, variety, and fragmentation, and oral communications with a wide variety of people both inside and outside the organization. However, this study did not test the validity and usefulness of Midwinter’s ten roles for classifying managerial work activities. Other research on Midwinter’s roles also produced mixed results (Snyder & Wheeled, 1981).

Based on not Just these results, but on Midwinter’s model itself, it has been pointed out that Midwinter’s role theory lacks specificity, does not point out the relationship between his role types and organizational effectiveness, and was developed n the basis of the questionable practice of not going beyond the observable work activities Midwinter’s Model Everyone is well aware of Midwinter’s (1970, 1971, 1973, 1975) criticism of the validity and usefulness of the classical managerial functions in describing managerial work.

He described the classical functions of Payola and others as “folklore” (Mentoring, 1975). He also said “Payola’s feathery description of managerial work is no longer of use to us” (Mentoring, 1971). In addition, he subordinates is not very helpful in disentangling the complexity of managerial work (Mentoring, 1973). Mentoring, n research based on behavioral observations of five chief executives plus a study of their mail, found that the manager’s Job was characterized by many brief episodes carried out with a wide variety of different people from inside and outside the organization.

The topics covered and contacts made varied considerably in importance and relevance. Most communications were verbal, carried out on the telephone or in unscheduled meetings. Typically, managers received a great deal more information than they transmitted to others. Mentoring, on the basis of a review of other observational studies using diaries and interviews, indicated that his conclusions applied to other types of managers (foremen, branch managers, vice presidents in charge of divisions, etc. ) besides Coos (Mentoring, 1971).

However, most of the discussion of Mentoring in textbook chapters on managerial work focuses on his conceptualization of the manager’s Jobs in terms of ten work roles, not simply the number of activities a manager carries out in a day. In his topology, Mentoring formulated three interpersonal roles (figurehead, leader, and liaison), three informational roles (monitor or nerve center, disseminated, and postman), and four decision-making roles (entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource locator, and negotiator).

He indicated that managers in different types of Jobs and at different levels vary in the relative importance of these roles to their overall responsibilities. 39 (1975) and they are congruent with the results of a study by Has, Port, and Vaughan (1969). Furthermore, a work sampling study carried out by Mahoney, Jeered, and Carroll (1963)indicated that it is quite possible to relate the specific observable task activities of managers to these more fundamental managerial functions simply y asking the managers why they are carrying out each particular activity.

In this study 21 managers were signaled at a random minute of every half hour for each work day for a tweeze period. Each time they completed a brief questionnaire describing what they were doing at that time. Table 1 presents the results from this which of the PRINCESS basic responsibilities was involved in each work activity sampled. The observed time allocations related fairly accurately to previous estimates by these managers of such time allocations (Mahoney, Jeered, & Carroll, 1963).

Furthermore, other empirical evidence indicates that such sampling observational approaches provide the same information as previous time estimates and other work observational approaches using an outside observer. In a study by Carroll and Taylor (1968, 1969) estimates of time spent in various activity categories were compared to self-observations made at random times when individuals were signaled to do so and to observations made at a different set of random times surreptitiously by an outside observer.

This study showed that self- observation by work sampling produced about the same exults as previous time estimates and the observations made by an outside observer. Data relevant to this issue have been presented by Allen (1981) and Hughes and Singles (1985) on the activities carried out by managers on the job. In the Allen study, 932 managers surveyed by questionnaire reported a variety of planning and controlling activities, although this study did not report on the percentage of time spent in these ways.

The Allen study indicated that more than 80 percent of the sample of managers were involved in formal planning activities such as themselves (Snyder & Wheeled, 1981). While mom studies (Alexander, 1979) supported Midwinter’s hypotheses that sales Jobs require more interpersonal roles than production manager s jobs and information roles are especially important on staff Jobs, such results appear obvious and do not require documentation. Nevertheless, in the management textbooks evaluated, rarely was any criticism of Midwinter’s typology found.

Some articles favored his perspective, indicating that his is the only valid one (Backscatters, 1981). Other writers have commended the realism of his approach when compared to the abstract description of managerial work painted y the classical writers. Empirical Studies Focusing on the Classical Functions A number of empirical studies, not directly cited by Mentoring (1973), have shown that managers spend time in the classical management functions.

Several studies, including Williams (1956) and Hemophilia (1959), have gone beyond that managers at all levels participate in planning, coordination, control, and problem solving activities. Mahoney, Jeered, and Carroll (1963, 1965) reported that managerial time can be allocated to a set of eight basic managerial functions which can be called the “PRINCESS”factors (Planning, Representing, Investigating, Negotiating, Coordinating, Evaluating, Supervising, Staffing).

In this study, Payola’s five functions were expanded to eight because preliminary pilot studies indicated that five functions missed managerial work activities such as “representing the organization to outside groups. ” (Mentoring, 1971, also pointed out this problem. ) This study of 452 managers indicated that there appeared to be a minimum core of time spent in each of these functional responsibilities but managers in various Job and level categories had different time patterns with respect to these responsibilities.

The findings of Mahoney, Jeered, and Carroll (1963, 1965)were replicated in a study by Penciled Table 1 Job Time Proportions of 28 Managers Among Various Management Functions, Work-Activities, and Types of Interpersonal Contacts developing forecasts and preparing budgets; 70 percent in maintaining written objectives and goals; and 60 percent in maintaining performance standards and evaluating and correcting performance relating to those standards. The Allen study indicated that 70 percent of the 932 managers had specific objectives; however, only 32 percent had worked out specific steps for these objectives.

In the Hughes and Singles (1985) study, more than 700 managers were surveyed about the relative importance of the various functional areas to first line, second line, and general marketing managers. They found that the importance of directing, controlling, and organizing was fairly constant from one level to another, but the importance of planning increased and the importance of staffing decreased, as managers progressed from the first level of management to top management. These results were very similar to those found in the Mahoney, Jeered, and Carroll study (1963). Manager’s Job. Brush and Alicia (1982) had a panel of five management theorists sort 251 behavioral criteria of managerial effectiveness into “miscarriages” according to the similarity of their content. This was done for three samples; they found a technical competence factor as well as coordinating, and supervisory activities clusters, in at least two samples of activities. In addition, the Luau, Newman, and Breeding (1980) study found a supervision and a planning factor among government managers.

Payola (1949), Rick (1952), and other classical writers said that not only do managers carry out the classical functions, but also they should carry them out and that skill in such areas was related 101% Note. Based on 2240 work sampling observations of 28 managers in one company during a period of two weeks. (Gillie & Carroll, 1985), 103 unit managers in 10 industrial enterprises were studied using the assumption that unit managers do primarily perform managerial activities rather than technical or staff activities which are carried out by lowered managers and staff managers.

The basic management responsibilities studied were taken from the earlier Mahoney, Jeered, and Carroll (1963, 1965) studies, but two of the PRINCESS categories, representing and negotiating, were dropped since a pretest indicated little time was pent in these activities. The managers in each company were ranked by the assistant plant manager or equivalent in each of the remaining six areas of staffing, planning, investigating, coordinating, evaluating, and supervising (now called the SPICES categories).

The rankings were converted to standard scores by the plant manager or equivalent and correlated to a measure of unit productivity-efficiency (developed previously by Mahoney and Whittle, 1969). The sample was then broken down into a manufacturing sample of 56 units and an aerospace sample of 48 units to test for consistency and the results are shown in Table 2. As the table indicates, supervising and planning skills were significantly related to unit productivity-efficiency in both samples and staffing skills performance in the manufacturing and aerospace samples respectively. O managerial success. A number of studies indicated that time spent by managers on some of these classical functional areas and skill in performing them does result in higher organization and unit performance, and in managerial mobility (Miner, 1982). For example, Stagger (1969) found that the time 109 chief executives spent in organizational planning was related to the firm’s profitability. There is some evidence that planning is important at the lowest management level as well as at the top.

For example, a study of foremen at the General Electric Company (1957) revealed that foremen with higher production records spent more time in long-range planning and organizing than did foremen with poorer production records. Also, strong evidence for the importance of planning to managerial success was found in the AT&Tassessment center studies which correlated various skills of more than 8,000 entry-level managers to their later upward mobility and rated effectiveness (Bray, Campbell, & Grant, 1974).

Skill in planning/decision making as measured in assessment center exercises was one of the strongest predictors of managerial success. Botanist (1982) also found a goal setting/planning skill of competence related to managerial effectiveness. Another more recent study also related skill in the classical managerial functional areas to the performance of the units supervised. In this study Table 2 Relationship of Managerial Skills to Unit Productivity/Efficiency Managerial Skill Sample 1 Manufacturing Firms (56 units) Supervising skill Planning skill Investigating skill Coordinating skill Evaluating skill Staffing skill

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Classical Management Functions. (2017, Jul 19). Retrieved from