Robbins and Coulter are reported to be among the best authors of the books covering organizational management practices; this paper will therefore critically take a look at the management book ninth edition written by the four authors. In essence this book actually focuses on the management concepts that are meant to be helpful to the managers while carrying out their business practices. The authors in this book state that management in business is all about trying to solve business problems creatively. It is all about directing the employees in an organization so that the goals are met. This is where the resources available in an organization are manipulated. These resources include the natural resources, technological resources, financial resources, and the human resources. From the book we therefore find that there are various functions through which management operates. Planning as a function involves deciding the future occurrences or activities in an organization. This can include activities done in the week, month, year or more (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, and Coulter, 2005).
The authors of this book note that organizing is all about using the available resources to accomplish the plans in the institution. Controlling is just monitoring the plans to ensure the plans are implemented. It involves feedbacks and modifications. Leading means being in the forefront and helping the employees achieve the desired results. In management there is the use of power given by the position in an institution. Leadership has to do with using power to influence the entire people in an organization to achieve the desired results.
The book states that planning is the process of developing the company’s mission and defining specific methods of accomplishing it which can either be on a broader or narrow perspective depending on the scope of the business. They note that planning comes in a number of ways since all sectors in any other business require some form of planning in order to stick to what has been planned. First, there is financial planning which entails the budgeting allocations for all the programs being undertaken within the company. Sponsorship is part of financial planning in that money is needed each year to cater for the teams and individual players being sponsored by companies.
It also includes the setting and monitoring the financial spending of the Company in view of auditing any misappropriation of funds. Provision of benefits, compensations and salaries are also taken care of at this stage. Another section of business organizations that need planning is the policy formulation section. This is critical in that as a profit making company, strategies must be placed correctly to counter marketing issues such as competition from companies which manufacture the same product e.g. In Nike Company, Reebok and Adidas’ production of counterfeit products w affects the company’s reputation. (Rampton, 2003)
Local policy development, creation and implementation come hand in hand with policy planning. Human resource planning is crucial to achieving the best from employees. Planning its recruitment, hiring, evaluating, training and maintaining the calibre of the workers in any organization is important ensuring that skilled workers are employed in organizations
The authors also indicate the other process of planning as a business concept which is that of strategic planning which refers to the process of determining an organizational mission and basic objectives and defining the strategies which will govern in acquisition and utilization of resources to achieve these objectives and accomplish the mission. In order to enhance this approach much attention need to be directed to formulation of workable strategies. They further define a strategy as the calculated means by which the enterprise deploys its resources to accomplish its purpose and basic objectives under the most advantageous circumstances (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, and Coulter, 2005).
They implied that a strategy defines the direction in which the organization intends to move and establish the framework of action through which it intends to get there. Strategy therefore provides a framework for guiding any business thinking and actions. The book indicates that strategic planning the organization’s mission is defined, corporate objectives established, and strategies developed following a thorough process of environmental and situational analysis. Strategic planning guides the organization’s behaviour and set the directions of an organization and how this business enterprise can constantly adapt to its environment. Strategic planning ensures that there is a good fit between the firm or organization and its environment within which it interacts. A firm that fits well to its environment increases the chance of survival and prosperity as compared to that does not fit to its environment. It is therefore prudent for any firm to establish and maintain a positive relationship with its environment. (Kroon, 1990)
They claim operational planning which addresses the activities and resources required to implement set strategic plans. This approach is mainly dedicated to the allocation of resources, scheduling of actual working activities rather than selection and formulation of strategies as in the case of strategic planning. In essence this approach deals with implementation and execution of the organization chosen plan that involves putting organization’s resources in to place and assigning responsibilities to individuals and organizations units for example strategic business units (SBUs). Under this approach the organization must ensure that the specific performance targets in all functional areas within the firm are attained without jeopardizing the survival and continued growth for the business.
The book states that the low level managers for example the supervisors have the responsibility of ensuring activities are carried out within a set specific time, using the required resources, and meeting the set targets without much difficulty. Short-term operational plans for small or elementary units of the organization such as individual departments and at times individual managers are implemented to ensure the success of the organization. Key functional strategies for example HR, marketing, financial strategies should be adhered to avoid any risk of losses associated with poor performance (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, and Coulter, 2005).
The authors point out that certain variables that stress achievement of goals and centre on output are normally used to facilitate operational planning approach which may include, quality in production and efficiency in the work done. Under this case the management of any firm needs to improve on managerial activities by building people skills through friendly management and also motivation of employees. They state that management also needs to put in place enough machinations to cope with the ever changing environment through continuous improvements of operations and continued update of knowledge and skills by the workers through training. Also the organization has to emphasize the importance of work groups in achieving results. The book also indicates that it is a challenge to the entire management to be effective in the activities and much need to be done including training of managers in order to cope with change that may be brought about by globalization (Hilltop, 1994)
The book also states organizing as another managerial concept which indicates how the internal structure of the company is set. It generally focuses on the division, coordination of activities and how tasks are controlled within the company. General company procedure demand good organization from the leaders and managers. In any organization the management is responsible for organizing the annual general meetings that brings together all the stakeholders on board. They also organize daily and monthly meetings within the specific affiliate factories when an issue arises. Proper organization of a meeting or how a project will be conducted results in a successful meeting.
The authors state that after planning, organizing is immediately carried out in any business organisation. This is where the available tasks are assigned to various people and departments in the organization. The resources available in the organization are then allocated to enable the accomplishment of the tasks. The book emphasizes that in organizing there is the division of labour and work specialization is carried out. At this stage systems in an organization are designed. This enables employees to easily coordinate across departments. There is the delegation of duties such that each person knows what he or she is supposed to do. This increases accountability in any organization (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, and Coulter, 2005).
Leadership is also described by the book as directing people to do specific duties by influencing their personal behaviour through incentives and motivation, teamwork, individual dynamics and discipline. According to the authors, the core purpose of leadership is to channel all the employees’ behaviour towards attaining the company’s objectives. They further argue that leadership is thus essential in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture within any business organization. Leading does not necessarily come from that in power but from any individual who provides information and suggestions on the way forward (Garth and Jennifer, 1998).
The authors further reckons that decision making within organizations rests on the shoulders of the managers and leaders in the organizations who usually take risks whenever an issue that requires to be addressed arises. They further note that leading should aim at bringing change in any organization. It also involves giving inspiration to people. In leadership there is a lot of motivation that is carried out. For instance they note that, in any job, there comes a time when one feels like giving up, the drive to work is not there and at such moments employees need to be motivated to work. Leading is therefore quite interpersonal in nature; it is not just the manager in an organization that is supposed to lead but it should even exist between employees. In brief according to the authors leadership is an aspect that has to do with mutual influence. (Coade, 1997)
The authors note that controlling is simply following up on plans to ensure proper implementation; this according to their supposition means that planning and controlling are closely related. The authors further presume that in management activities within an organization controlling acts as the final link i.e. management cycle is never complete without controlling executed. (Hilltop, 1994)
They also indicate that under this function of controlling there is setting, communication and application of the performance standards of employees or people. When mechanisms to monitor employee’s activities are put in place and the corrective action applied then the control aspect can be termed as effective. The manager or the leader normally observes what is happening in the organization and compares with what was initially planned to happen. If what is happening is not as per what was supposed to happen then corrective action is taken such that those below standard required standard attain this standard. They also point out that when there is delegation of activities by the manager to employees then the control facilitation is quite effective. He can then ascertain whether the ideas are being implemented or not. Timely feedback on what the employees are doing is important to the supervisor because he is always accountable on matters concerning performance of the employees. In this case, effective internal control in an organization is a fundamental responsibility of the organization’s management. The resources should be used effectively and efficiently in achieving the results. The resources are used without mismanagement and with very little wastage to achieve the planned results (Kottler, 1996).
For instance total revenues and expenditures should be accounted for. Therefore the authors in this respect notes that control as a management tool should not be isolated in to exist alone. Rather it should be incorporated with auditing, budgeting and planning. Control is never effective if it doesn’t give feedback to the organizations management. When controls are too many they may be ineffective. Control also helps organizations to comply with laws and regulations like meeting standards in quality. It ensures that financial reporting is reliable and helps operations be efficient. (Rampton, 2003)
Robbins and Coulter, notes that any organization is always faced with problems at some point and these problems usually require decisions to be carried out ethically. Situations usually arise which call for implementation of ethical standards and in this issue there is always universalism and relativism. There are different conceptions of rights that govern universalism. Ethical decision making should be done consistently by managers under universalism. In relativism, the local norms are considered in making the decisions ethically. Ethical decision making involves transparency in making the decisions. This is being transparent mostly to the people that are affected by the decision
The writers attempts to uncover several ethical considerations and they argue that in such attempts it is good to consider the effects of making the decision to be taken. What are the harmful effects? Managers should consider how they can avoid such effects. For decision making to be ethical, it has to be fair. This is in relation to everyone that is affected by it. Do they consider the decision made fair? So if the decision is transparent, fair and it has no harmful effect then it is quite ethical (Maundy, 2001).
Robbins and Coulter further identifies the concept of business ethics which they define it as the norms or standards of behavior that guide moral choices about the conduct of the personnel in a business organization and the relationship with its publics. According to them the goal of business ethics is to ensure the safety of the employees, management, and the external publics from suffering the consequences from the business activities of the particular organization.
Robbins and Coulter assert that business ethics along with social responsibility defines what the organization ought to do in the management of the business. According to authors, the social responsibility aspect of a business organization towards the society merits considerations in all the faces of strategic management, whereby the organization must exercise strategic planning through environmental and organizational appraisal in order to provide answers to what an organization might do and what it can do (Ferreira, 2000).
Further they presume that the span of business ethics is extensive and can be measured from different perspectives. In this case the organizations’ management should ensure that several ethical considerations must be balanced for the business to be successful in its operations and relations with its employees and the surroundings of its business, this includes;
They also make some attempts in explaining the importance of Corporate communication; which they define it as a process that is used to facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge of the enterprise with the individuals who have a direct relationship with the organization. According to them; this practice is normally applied in the internal communications management as from the sharing of the knowledge to decision making with employees, suppliers, investors and the firms partners among other interested stakeholders. They argue that corporate communication is normally used to build the firm’s reputation among its stakeholders and effective communication system involves the following: change management, issue management, corporate social responsibility, crisis communication and internal relations (Maundy, 2001).
The authors note that the objectives of corporate communications is to inform and influence other people, promote policy change, raise funds, to monitor progress and to revise plans and to leave experience documented for the future of the firm. An enterprise needs a good internal communication system for it to build a consistent messages and analysis of its progress, to provide accurate and timely information to those who need it and to enable it develop an institutional memory and experience (Anthony and Govindarajan, 2003)
They also attempt to critically look at other culture which to them it means the environment surrounding an employee at work. This is meant to shape the relationship of an employee and his work in an organization. Robbins and Coulter in their writings argues that the aspect of culture represents an employee’s personality that carries principles, attitude, fundamental interests, knowledge, and background that create a person’s behavior.
They also note that Culture is particularly inclined by the organization’s management team due to the roles in decision-making and strategic direction they impose in the organization. The manger should put in mind that culture is learned thus employees are capable of learning how to perform, employees value rewards that are not associated with behaviours since they have different needs, shared rewards from co-workers or have their most important needs met in their departments or project teams (Robbins, and Barnwell, 2006).
From the writings of Robbins and Coulter we can deduce that any business organization has to have effective decision making processes that go along not only with basic management functions but also with effective strategies that fits present contemporary business world. Effective decision making is crucial to an organization and the authors note several underpinnings that are very important in order to achieve their objectives. Every organization needs to re-evaluate their performance in order to develop strategies that are compatible with existing challenges as well as opportunities. The authors’ position therefore is clear that management is the procedure of getting things done by means of and through human resource personnel by directing and inspiring their hard work towards achieving universal goals. Further we can deduce that human resource in any organization is the most important asset since without them the management cannot attain the achieved goals since they are the one coordinating the activities of any particular organization (Maundy, 2001).
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