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Management activities

Work is of two kinds; first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid.
Bertrand Russell

Management bear the responsibility for ensuring that the organization operates to meet its objectives, taking into account the various participants, regulatory authorities and laws. Management activities include setting objectives, controlling work, reviewing results, applying corrective action and providing an environment that stimulates and motivates.

Are the right things being done?
 Often, the time consumed by management activities is in inverse proportion to the importance of them, for example, when an inordinate amount of time is spent approving trifling expenses as compared to the time given to defining where the organization sees itself in ten years time.  Managers often do the easy things to appear busy, rather than contemplate difficult issues.  Management should evaluate its activities to see which are really required.  The question should be asked: ‘Is the time and effort we spend on a particular issue worth more than the results obtained?’  If not - why do it? For example, if people were allowed to spend money on expenses without prior authorization and only spot checks were made, how much money would the organization actually lose compared with the saving in management time?

Sundry activities: 
Management activities are not the same as the activities of a manager.  The latter may include many other activities as well as managing work and people; indeed some 'managers' may not do any actual managing at all! These other activities could involve professional work, being a media spokesman or sitting on various external committees. They really come under the category of support or incidental activities.

Problems with appraising: 
An important management activity is appraisal and benchmarking, that is, comparing various aspects of the organization with internally imposed objectives, other similar organizations or government imposed standards.  However, monitoring and appraisal can be overdone - continually asking someone how well they are coping, producing financial accounts more than necessary or continually assessing students, may make the manager look busy but is actually obstructive and counter productive. >>>