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Controlling consists of verifying whether everything occurs in conformities with the plans adopted, instructions issued and principles established. Controlling ensures that there is effective and efficient utilization of organizational resources so as to achieve the planned goals. Controlling measures the deviation of actual performance from the standard performance, discovers the causes of such deviations and helps in taking corrective actions

According to Brech, “Controlling is a systematic exercise which is called as a process of checking actual performance against the standards or plans with a view to ensure adequate progress and also recording such experience as is gained as a contribution to possible future needs.”

According to Donnell, “Just as a navigator continually takes reading to ensure whether he is relative to a planned action, so should a business manager continually take reading to assure himself that his enterprise is on right course.” Controlling is a four-step process of establishing performance standards based on the firm’s objectives, measuring and reporting actual performance, comparing the two, and taking corrective or preventive action as necessary. Performance standards come from the planning function. No matter how difficult, standards should be established for every important task. Although the temptation may be great, lowering standards to what has been attained is not a solution to performance problems. On the other hand, a manager does need to lower standards when they are found to be unattainable due to resource limitations and factors external to the business. Corrective action is necessary when performance is below standards. If performance is anticipated to be below standards, preventive action must be taken to ensure that the problem does not recur. If performance is greater than or equal to standards, it is useful to reinforce behaviors that led to the acceptable performance.

Steps of Controlling Process
Controlling is a function in the management cycle closely related toplanning. Controlling is a six-step process that involves several systematic approaches to ensure performance standards are met in the most efficient way possible. While controlling is a complicated management function, its importance must not be under-rated.

 Establish performance standards. Performance standards give employees an idea of what is expected of them and tells them how you assess their performance. This is key to maintain management control.

 Conduct a job analysis and create a job description for each position within the company. Give feedback regularly and give annual performance appraisals. This makes the employee aware of her individual strengths and weaknesses.

Monitor and measure performance. Draw up a new business plan and assess current performance against expectations. Refocus the efforts of managers, employees and stakeholders as needed.

 Compare your measured performance against established standards. If anticipated performance is below average, take preventive corrective actions to ensure compliance to specified performance standards before a problem occurs.

 Take corrective action. This is often a difficult aspect of the controlling function of management. When problems arise, handle the situations fast and efficiently. Ignoring a challenging situation only makes things worse.

 Practice preventative methods like coaching in order to avoid corrective action. Coaching allows for consistent feedback from management. It also helps train employees on a daily basis and eliminates the need for severe corrective action except in extreme circumstances.

Characteristics of Control

• Control is a continuous process
• Control is a management process
• Control is embedded in each level of organizational hierarchy • Control is forward looking
• Control is closely linked with planning
 • Control is a tool for achieving organizational activities The control process is cyclical which means it is never finished. Controlling leads to identification of new problems that in turn need to be addressed through establishment of performance standards, measuring performance etc. Employees often view controlling negatively. By its very nature, controlling often leads to management expecting employee behavior to change. No matter how positive the changes may be for the organization, employees may still view them negatively. Control is both anticipatory and retrospective. The process anticipates problems and takes preventive action. With corrective action, the process also follows up on problems. Ideally, each person in the business views control as his or her responsibility. The organizational culture should prevent a person walking away from a small, easily solvable problem because “that isn’t my responsibility.” In customer driven businesses, each employee cares about each customer. In quality driven dairy farms, for example, each employee cares about the welfare of each animal and the wear and tear on each piece of equipment. Controlling is related to each of the other functions of management. Controlling builds on planning, organizing and leading.

Kinds of Control
Control may be grouped according to three general classifications: (1) the nature of the information flow designed into the system (that is, open- or closed-loop control), (2) the kind of components included in the design (that is man or machine control systems), and (3) the relationship of control to the decision process (that is, organizational or operational control).

Open-Loop and Closed-Loop Control

The difference between open-loop control and closed-loop control isdetermined by whether all of the control elements are an integral part of the system being regulated, and whether allowable variations from standard have been predetermined. In an open-loop system, not all of the elements will be designed into the system, and/or allowable variations will not be predetermined. A street-lighting system controlled by a timing device is an example of an open-loop system. At a certain time each evening, a mechanical device closes the circuit and energy flows through the electric lines to light the lamps. Note, however, that the timing mechanism is an independent unit and is not measuring the objective function of the lighting system. If the lights should be needed on a dark, stormy day the timing device would not recognize this need and therefore would not activate energy inputs. Corrective properties may sometimes be built into the controller (for example, to modify the time the lights are turned on as the days grow shorter or longer), but this would not close the loop. In another instance, the sensing, comparison, or adjustment may be made through action taken by an individual who is not part of the system. For example, the lights may be turned on by someone who happens to pass by and recognizes the need for additional light.

Man and Machine Control

The elements of control are easy to identify in machine systems. For example, the characteristic to be controlled might be some variable like speed or temperature, and the sensing device could be a speedometer or a thermometer. An expectation of precision exists because the characteristic is quantifiable and the standard and the normal variation to be expected can be described in exact terms. In automatic machine systems, inputs of information are used in a process of continual adjustment to achieve output specifications. When even a small variation from the standard occurs, the correction process begins. The automatic system is highly structured, designed to accept certain kinds of input and produce specific output, and programmed to regulate the transformation of inputs within a narrow range of variation.

For an illustration of mechanical control, as the load on a steam engineincreases and the engine starts to slow down, the regulator reacts by opening a valve that releases additional inputs of steam energy. This new input returns the engine to the desired number of revolutions per minute. This type of mechanical control is crude in comparison to the more sophisticated electronic control systems in everyday use. Consider the complex missile-guidance systems that measure the actual course according to predetermined mathematical calculations and make almost instantaneous corrections to direct the missile to its target. Machine systems can be complex because of the sophisticated technology, whereas control of people is complex because the elements of control are difficult to determine. In human control systems, the relationship between objectives and associated characteristics is often vague; the measurement of the characteristic may be extremely subjective; the expected standard is difficult to define; and the amount of new inputs required is impossible to quantify. To illustrate, let us refer once more to a formalized social system in which deviant behavior is controlled through a process of observed violation of the existing law (sensing), court hearings and trials (comparison with standard), incarceration when the accused is found guilty (correction), and release from custody after rehabilitation of the prisoner has occurred. Organizational and Operational Control

The concept of organizational control is implicit in the bureaucratic theory of Max Weber. Associated with this theory are such concepts as "span of control", "closeness of supervision", and "hierarchical authority". Weber's view tends to include all levels or types of organizational control as being the same. More recently, writers have tended to differentiate the control process between that which emphasizes the nature of the organizational or systems design and that which deals with daily operations. To illustrate the difference, we "evaluate" the performance of a system to see how effective and efficient the design proved to be or to discover why it failed. In contrast, we operate and "control" the system with respect to the daily inputs of material, information, and energy. In both instances, the elements of feedback are present, but organizational control tends to review and evaluate the nature and arrangement of components in the system, whereas operational control tends to adjust the daily inputs. The direction fororganizational control comes from the goals and strategic plans of the organization. General plans are translated into specific performance measures such as share of the market, earnings, return on investment, and budgets. The process of organizational control is to review and evaluate the performance of the system against these established norms. Rewards for meeting or exceeding standards may range from special recognition to salary increases or promotions. On the other hand, a failure to meet expectations may signal the need to reorganize or redesign.

Management Control Strategies
Managers can use one or a combination of three control strategies or styles: market, bureaucracy and clan. Each serves a different purpose. External forces make up market control. Without external forces to bring about needed control, managers can turn to internal bureaucratic or clan control. The first relies primarily on budgets and rules. The second relies on employees wanting to satisfy their social needs through feeling a valued part of the business. Self-control, sometimes called adhocracy control, is complementary to market, bureaucratic and clan control. By training and encouraging individuals to take initiative in addressing problems on their own, there can be a resulting sense of individual empowerment. This empowerment plays out as self-control. The self-control then benefits the organization and increases the sense of worth to the business in the individual. Designing Effective Control Systems

Effective control systems have the following characteristics: 1. Control at all levels in the business (Figure 19.1)
2. Acceptability to those who will enforce decisions
3. Flexibility
4. Accuracy
5. Timeliness
6. Cost effectiveness
7. Understandability
8. Balance between objectivity and subjectivity
9. Coordinated with planning, organizing and leading

Dysfunctional Consequences of Control
Managers expect people in an organization to change their behavior in response to control. However, employee resistance can easily make control efforts dysfunctional. The following behaviors demonstrate means by which the manager’s control efforts can be frustrated: 1. Game playing: control is something to be beaten, a game between the “boss and me and I want to win.” 2. Resisting control: a “blue flu” reaction to too much control 3. Providing inaccurate information: a lack of understanding of why the information is needed and important leading to “you want numbers, we will give you numbers.” 4. Following rules to the letter: people following dumb and unprofitable rules in reaction to “do as I say.” 5. Sabotaging: stealing, discrediting other workers, chasing customers away, gossiping about the firm to people in the community 6. Playing one manager off against another: exploiting lack of communication among managers, asking a second manager if don’t like the answer from the first manager.