The Five Functions of Management
MGT330: Management for Organizations
The five functions of management are essential to the operational functions of any organization. All companies big or small have managers to ensure these functions are executed in alignment to the goals of the organization. “The five management functions include planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling human and other resources to achieve organizational goals” (Baack, Reilly, & Minnick, 2014). This paper will discuss the five functions of management in detail and how a manager of a Amazon warehouse can apply them.
A recently promoted manager of a midsize warehouse needs to plan how to oversee the entire warehouse operations if they are to be successful in their new role. According to Baack, Reilly, and Minnick, “planning is a systematic process in which managers make decisions about future activities and the key goals that the organization intends to pursue”. A tool used to analyze key goals and future activities is a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats. It is important to examine each section of the SWOT tool with the team of supervisors as they can have valuable input and ideas for improvement. This collaboration is also useful for team building. Open dialogue in the first meeting can promote communication and cooperation, not only among the supervisors, but also with the new manager. People are the most crucial part of any organization and building a positive team culture is essential to the entire operation. To understand how to build a positive team culture, the new manager must examine each employees’ performance and attitude towards their current job. An employee’s performance and attitudes is an indication on how well the company has done in the same basic areas: recruiting rewarding, and training. (Baack, Reilly, Minnick, 2014) First, a survey can be conducted amongst all the employees to gauge their attitude and identify areas for improvement. This information is important to understanding what programs, processes, policies are working, which are not, and which can be improved. Second, the new manager can delegate each supervisor to review nine packers and present an analysis on their performance. Packers showing potential for leadership roles will be recommended for management training, packers working above standards will be rewarded, and packers not performing satisfactory will be suspended and/or terminated. Lastly, with a team of 100 it is realistic to expect the new manager to know each person’s name and address them by it within the first 90 days. This practice is a form of recognition and contributes to a positive employee attitude. “A company culture in which workers feel empowered bodes well for present and future circumstances” (Baack, Reilly, Minnick, 2017).
“Organization design is the process of structuring the organization in a way that facilitates employee productivity and supports the organization in reaching its goals” (Wienclaw, 2013). Amazon organizational structure can be classified as hierarchical since there are two CEOs, three senior VPs, and one Worldwide Controller all reporting to CEO Jeff Bezos. The new manager of an Amazon Fulfillment center needs to understand what structure the warehouse falls under. An Amazon Fulfillment center is classified as mechanistic. “Mechanistic organizations are characterized by the high use of rules and procedures, a greater number of levels in the organization, and formal relationships between workers” (Baack, Reilly, & Minnick, 2014). This is evident by the standardization of each center, the formalization of packing/fulfilment, and the computerization of orders needed to be packed/filled. “Standardization is the use of a series of job titles that are exactly the same, and the workers perform the same activities. Formalization refers to the presence of rules and procedures. Mechanization/computerization measures the reliance on computers and technology to maintain operations (Baack, Reilly, & Minnick, as cited in Blau & Schoenherr, 1971) Standardization ensure that all the fulfillment centers are doing the same tasks at each level of the hierarchy from the packers, to the supervisors, and lastly the warehouse manager. Formalization allows for all tasks to be completed efficiently and streamlines the fulfillment process in all centers. One tactic the new manager can use to streamline operations is to create teams of nine. Each team answers to one supervisor and each supervisors report to the warehouse manager. Further, direction will come from the warehouse manager and trickled down to each packer through the supervisor. Conversely, questions, issues, or comments from the packers are first addressed by the supervisor and if no solution can be provided, the warehouse manager can be approached for resolution.
“Departmentalization is an organizational tool that involves placing various jobs into individual departments or divisions including accounting, marketing, and production” (Baack, Reilly, & Minnick, 2014). For a Amazon warehouse, departmentalization by product is most effective. Product departmentalization groups related tasks to a particular product or product line under one senior manager who specializes in that aspect of the company’s business. (“What is product departmentalization? definition and meaning”, 2018) The warehouse manager has top-level control of the facility and the ten supervisors are each responsible for a different department of products, for example one supervisor for home goods and another supervisor in charge of apparel.
The most important resource a company has are humans. People are the most valuable asset of an organization. At the same time, people can be the most expensive part of running a business and often pose the greatest challenges to effective management. (Mathis & Jackson, 1997) The purpose of effective staffing is to find the right people with the right attitude and provide comprehensive training and support to new hires. An employee’s first impression of the organization during orientation and training will ultimately lead to their overall attitude about their job and the their future in the company. A positive impression for a new hire is feeling supported if they have questions about their role. That support can come from the training materials provided, other coworkers doing the same task, or their direct supervisor. Further, another action for a positive first impression, is the warehouse manager conducting the final interview. If the candidate is hired, the warehouse manager will inform the individual and be the first person to welcome them at orientation. Consequently, if an employee is not performing, the warehouse manager is responsible for terminations. This policy is mostly due to training a top-level manager receives on how to effectively terminate an employee without legal ramifications.
It is said, leaders lead from the front. In other words, effective leading means inspiring others through your own actions. An effective leader needs to know how to motivate others to develop themselves to achieve their maximum potential. “Effective leaders motivate individuals to increase the level , direction, and persistence of effort expanded at work” (Baack ,Reilly, Minnick, 2014). The key is to get people to do complete the task not because they have to, but because they want. The warehouse manager must have clear communication skills and explain the purpose of their plan to gain the employee’s respect. They must also explain the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) to the employee and how their actions can impact their career advancement or pay incentives. As Amazon grows, it’s leaders must be able to cope with changes and guide their staff to align with the company’s new direction. For example, Amazon may decide to upgrade the computer software for fulfillment at the warehouse right before the holiday season. The warehouse manager needs to lead their supervisors to embrace the change. They can gain the supervisors acceptance by explaining how the money Amazon is saving from the software upgrade will transpire to incentives if productively is improved. According to Benson (2013), an “employee’s performance is directly related to how motivated they are to achieve their goals. Having the skills alone is often not enough for an employee to achieve high performance at their job. As such, it is the leaders’ jobs to motivate their employees to the extent that they can achieve high performance with their current skills and limitations”.
According to Baack, Reilly, and Minnick (2014), “controlling is the process of evaluating performance against established goals and creating methods appropriate to take corrective action to maintain or improve performance in any area of the organization”. It is the warehouse managers duty to ensures all functions of the warehouse are operating efficiently. The manager uses controlling methods to establish the standards for performance. They also monitors employee productivity to ensure these standards are being met. Controlling is an constant process utilized to check the warehouse is aligned with Amazon’s goals. The four stages to the control process are establishing methods for measuring performance, evaluating performance, deciding if the performance is up to standards, and lastly taking corrective action (Baack, Reilly, Minnick, 2014). The warehouse house manager first needs to decide how to measure an employee’s performance, then analyze their output, next decide if it is up to standards, and if it is not take action to correct the behavior. Quarterly reviews are used along with an end of year review that is tied to compensation increases.
A manager is any organization is responsible to incorporate the five functions of management if the organization is to be successful. Planning is important to understand what process are working towards the company goals and which are not. Organizing creates structure and establishes authority using a hierarchy system. Staffing is the most important because it involves people and people are any business’s greatest resource. Leading is essential to the growth of the organization because leaders motivate others and embrace change. Lastly, control is the process by which managers evaluate and decide if the people are helping or hurting the overall vision of the organization. The effective utilization of five functions of management ensure any organization is operating systematically and is prepared for future changes.
Baack, D., Reilly, M., & Minnick, C. (2014). The five functions of effective management (2nd ed.). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/
Benson, J. D. (2013). Leadership and Motivation. Research Starters: Business (Online Edition),
Mathis, R. L., & Jackson, J. H. (1997). Human resources management (8th ed.). Minneapolis, MN: West Publishing Company.
Wienclaw, R. A. (2013). Organization Development. Research Starters: Business (Online Edition),
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