Four Functions of Management: The POLC Framework

POLC Framework: Four Functions of Management


A lot of planning goes on daily inside organizations. Planning is considered an important preliminary step before you start a new project or set out to achieve a new target. Planning mainly involves setting objectives and then determining the course of action to achieve those objectives. Managers should remain aware of their industry environment and make forecasts based on the available data and information regarding the future of their business. However, planning is not as simple as it looks since managers need to be good decision-makers to plan successfully. While planning includes multiple steps, it begins with environmental scanning. Managers must first scan their environment to know their industry environment, the overall economic environment, the level of competition, and the needs and preferences of customers.


A firm can fully utilize its resources whether financial, operational, or human resources only if they are properly organized. Organization is the function of management that is considered with developing an organizational structure and then allocating human resources efficiently in order to accomplish the organizational objectives. The organizational structure which is generally represented through an organizational chart mostly provides the framework for coordinating efforts organization-wide.


In today’s industry environment, managers also need to be effective leaders in order to inspire their followers to perform their tasks successfully. If managers can lead effectively, it motivates their subordinates to make efforts to achieve organizational objectives. While leaders are different from managers, some leadership is always involved in a manager’s job. It means some leadership traits in managers help them be more effective at their jobs. According to Kotter, leadership skills can be acquired and honed just like management skills.


Controlling is also a crucial management function that ensures that organizational performance is in line with set standards and objectives are being accomplished. There are three steps involved in controlling which include establishing the standards, comparing performance against these standards, and then taking corrective actions whenever required. At an organizational level performance standards are generally set in financial or operational terms. Performance standards may be financial like net revenue, net income, and total operating costs or non-financial like net units produced, level of product quality and level of customer service. Managers use various scales to measure performance including financial statements, sales reports, performance appraisals, results from customer satisfaction surveys. To some extent managers from all levels inside an organization are involved in the controlling function.



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