what is controlling

What is Control? Definition, Meaning, and 7 Important Characteristics

What is Controlling? What is Control?

Controlling is the process of measuring the actual performance achieved with that of planned performance and taking corrective action if actual performance is not in accordance with planned performance. It is one of the important functions of management. It is also known as a key to the management for the implementation of a plan.

In controlling, management first prepares plans and policies and later implements them to achieve predetermined objectives. According to the time interval, the management evaluates the actual performance of each department and employee. And, compares the actual performance with that of standard performance, and if any variation is found in actual performance, it takes corrective steps in time to maintain the standard.

The basic part of the controlling is to achieve predetermined goals in stated time and standard. Its motive is to facilitate the most effective and efficient attainment of organizational objectives.

Some definitions of control are:

DeCenzo and Robbins – Control is the process of monitoring activities to ensure that they are being accomplished as planned and of correcting any significant deviations.

George R. Terry – Controlling is determining what is being accomplished, that is, evaluating the performance and if necessary, applying corrective measures so that performance takes place according to plans.

Robert Kreitner – Control is the process of checking, testing, regulation, verification, or adjustment to ensure that the organization’s mission and objectives are accomplished as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Thus, controlling is a management tool that facilitates measuring actual performance against planned performance and taking necessary steps if any deviation exists.

Nature/Characteristics of Controlling

7 important characteristics of controlling are:

nature/characteristics of controlling

#1 Management Function

Controlling is a crucial function of management. It is a controlling function that brings about a balance between actual and planned performance. Without it other functions of management become worthless. It measures actual performance with standard performance and takes corrective measures if any deviation between them so that planned organizational goals can be achieved.

#2 Pervasive Function

It is a pervasive function in all levels of management from the top-level to the first line. However, the degree of control depends upon the nature of management and level of responsibility and authority. Generally, the chief executive controls departmental managers, departmental managers control supervisors, and supervisors control the operating level employees.

#3 Continuous Process

It is a never-ending process and lasts till the existence of the organization. It involves a continuous analysis and study of the implementation of standards, policies, and procedures of the organization. Establishment of standards, measurement of actual performance, comparison of actual performance against the standards, and taking corrective action if there is any deviation are a continuous process of controlling.

#4 Dynamic Process

The standards of operation of an organization will be reviewed on the basis of the changing environment of business. The procedures and systems of control must be changed to adapt to the changing standards of operation. The manager has to introduce new techniques and strategies so that he is able to control the performance in a systematic way. Therefore, the controlling system must be flexible according to the time and requirements of the organization.

#5 Forward Looking

Controlling is not concentrated on the past and present performance only, but it also focuses on the future performance. It is designed to measure actual performance achieved and provide early information if there is any deviation. The early detection of weaknesses and errors in work contributes to taking corrective action in time. This leads to effectiveness in future performance and will prevent such repetition of defaults in the future.

#6 Measurement and Comparison

Controlling is a managerial tool that measures and compares actual and standard performance and takes corrective measures if there is deviation. Organizational authority is concerned with this process. The effective measure between actual and planned performance helps to achieve organizational goals in the defined standards.

#7 Corrective Action

It is a management function through which a manager takes necessary steps if actual work is done is not in accordance with the standard work. It takes necessary action for the proper utilization of available resources. It is a must for the efficient completion of predetermined work. Tactful action at the right time is the essence of controlling.

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