CONTROLLING -MEANING, FEATURES, IMPORTANCE, AND LIMITATIONS

J.O. EMMANUEL
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Controlling can be defined as the function of management which involves taking a systematic effort to compare performance with predetermined standards, plans, and performance.

It involves determining whether performance is in line with predetermined standards so that corrective actions or measures can be taken.

Controlling may also be defined as the process of monitoring performance and taking corrective action to ensure that everything goes according to the laid down plan.

It involves setting standards, measuring performance, and taking corrective action against deviation.

Control ensures that the overall action and direction of individuals and groups in the organization are consistent with the long-term goals and objectives of the organization.

Features Of Controlling

1. Forward-looking and backward-looking: Controlling is both forward-looking and backward-looking.

Controlling is forward-looking because it compares actual results with the expected result, which are then use as basis for making future decisions..

Controlling is also backward-looking because it analyzes, evaluates, and compares past performance with set standards.

2. Continuous: Controlling is not a one-time activity. It must be carried out continuously.

Controlling involves setting and resetting standards, comparing performance to the set standards, and taking corrective action to achieve the set standards.

Controlling is a continuous activity because set standards have to be continuously revised in light of current realities, and actual performance has to be compared from time to time with set standards.

3. Related to planning: Controlling is highly intertwined with planning.

Planning involves determining objectives and setting plans to achieve the objective.

Controlling, on the other hand, involved comparing performance with the set plans and objectives made through the planning process. 

Planning serves as the basis of controlling, and without control, even the meticulously drafted plan may go astray.

4. Purpose of controlling: The main purpose of control is to take action against derivation.

Controlling ensures that deviation is easily identified and that corrective action can be taken against possible deviation.

Importance of Controlling

1. Attainment of objectives: Controlling helps in the achievement of organizational objectives.

Controlling detects any deviation from organizational objectives and takes corrective measures to ensure that the actions of individuals are consistent with the objectives of the organization.

2. Efficient utilization of resources: This is yet another important of controlling.

Controlling ensures the efficient utilization of resources by correcting deviations that would have resulted in wastage of resources 

Through controlling, managers can identify sections of the business that are not making the best use of resources by comparing actual performance to expected performance.

With such knowledge, the manager can take remedial actions to ensure that the resources of the organization are used more efficiently.

Moreover, through controlling techniques, like budgetary control, a manager can set a budget for each unit of the organization, thus reducing the chance of wastage.

3. Improves coordinating: Controlling involve taking corrective action aim at aligning the activities of individuals and groups in the organization to the long-term goals of the organization.

By doing this, controlling improves coordination in the organization.

4. Aids decision-making: Information obtained by comparing employee performance with set standards can be used for making future decisions in the organization.

Controlling therefore supports decision-making.

5. Structures and control behavior in the organization: Controlling is the function of management that regulates the behavior and action of everyone in the organization.

An effective control system will ensures that employees and managers behave and perform according to the laid-down plans, policies, procedures, and code of conduct.

Without a controlling system, every member of the organization will perform the way they like. 

A controlling system creates an effective means of comparing actual performance with set standards so that organizational members know that their behavior and actions will be compared. 

So, this encourages employees and managers alike to perform well because they know that disciplinary action could be taken against anyone who performs below expectations.

Limitations of Controlling

1. Difficult to set quantitative standards: Controlling involves comparing actual performance to set standards.

However, setting quantitative standards alone, however, is not enough because quantitative standards only assess organizational components that can only be expressed in numerical terms

Criteria such as job satisfaction, employee morale, and commitment are not well measured using quantitative methods.

So, using quantitative measurement as a way of gauging employee performance may not be hundred percent accurate.

2. Affected by external factors: External factors can sometimes influence the effectiveness of control.

Government policies, technology advancements, and other external factors are all outside the control of the organization. 

While the control system can control internal factors, it will be very difficult for the influence of external factors to be checkmated by the controlling system.

3. Very expensive:  It will take a lot of resources, time, and effort to create a good control system.

A good controlling system has to keep a record of the past and present performance of employees, which requires a lot of paper works.

Also, controlling requires that the employees periodically report to their superiors. You will agree with me that this takes a lot of time and effort.

Therefore, controlling is expensive in terms of the amount of money, energy, and resources that will be used.

To summarize, controlling is defined as comparing actual performance with set standards and taking remedial action against deviations.

Controlling has four features, namely; forward and backward activity, continuous activity, related to planning, and correcting activity.

Controlling is importance because it promotes the achievement of goals, ensures the effective use of resources, enhances coordination, supports decision-making, and controls human behavior.

On the flip side, controlling has few limitations, including difficulty in establishing standards, exposure to outside influences, and very expensive to operate. 

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