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The people who administer a company, create policies, and provide the support necessary to implement the owners' business objectives.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.


1. The persons or institutions that administer a company. That is, management has the responsibility to direct employees, set and enforce policies, and generally ensure that the company fulfills its goals (which management itself often sets). Management is responsible to the board of directors (of a publicly-traded company) and ultimately to the company's owners. In small companies, owners and managers are often the same people.

2. See: Asset management.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


The process of organizing and directing human and physical resources within an ORGANIZATION so as to meet defined objectives. The key management roles are:
  1. planning how to carry out the various activities which are required to achieve the objective. This involves establishing an action programme (see BUSINESS PLAN) and an appropriate organization structure within which tasks can be subdivided (for example into production, personnel, marketing and finance); RESPONSIBILITY for them delegated; and PAY and reward systems instituted (see JOB DESIGN AND REDESIGN, WORK ORGANIZATION);
  2. CONTROL, by comparing current performance with that planned in order to monitor progress of the work. Such comparisons reveal where additional resources may be needed to achieve desired performance or when plans may need to be modified in the light of experience;
  3. COORDINATION of the tasks being undertaken, which involves synchronizing and balancing work loads and ensuring effective collaboration between the various DEPARTMENTS and GROUPS within the organization;
  4. MOTIVATION of the members of the organization, encouraging them to work effectively in performing their assigned task.

CLASSICAL MANAGEMENT THEORY portrayed management as a rational activity largely concerned with establishing routines and procedures for administering the work. More recently this emphasis has been questioned in a number of respects. Research has shown that much of the manager's working day is spent on tasks other than those suggested in this approach, for example attending retirement presentations, responding to telephone enquiries etc. Much of the manager's job involves ad hoc reactions to events. Other research has shown that managers ‘muddle through’, aiming at achieving satisfactory rather than optimum outcomes (see SATISFICING).

Recent writing on management has emphasized the LEADERSHIP aspect of the managerial function. The key issue here concerns the means by which managers can achieve effective performance from their subordinates. Two basic approaches are identified in the literature (on MANAGEMENT STYLE):

  1. task orientation, where managers' relationship with their subordinates is essentially directive, being primarily focused on getting the job done;
  2. people orientation, where managers show a greater concern for their subordinates' well-being, on the grounds that a contented workforce performs effectively.

Some believe that good leaders are born with certain personal qualities whilst others believe that these can be instilled through MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT. Whatever perspective is taken it should be remembered that leadership involves more than a leader: it also involves subordinates and a context. Good leadership is that which produces appropriate behaviour from others in particular situations. See ORGANIZATIONAL ANALYSIS, BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson
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