Controlling is the process of regulating organizational activities so that actual performance conforms to expected organizational standards and goals/Plans
In the controlling process managers set up control systems. A control system is a set of mechanisms designated to increase the probability of meeting organizational standards.
Control systems may be developed to regulate an area that a manager considers important e.g quality of services, products, products, profit margins, client satisfaction, timeliness of deliveries, quality procedures etc.
Role of Control
Control assists managers in 5 ways: 1. Coping with uncertainty – Uncertainty arises because organsiational goals are based on future estimates yet the actual often differs from such forecasts. Environmental factors often bring about changes. Managers should therefore develop control system to monitor specific activities and react swiftly to environment changes.
2. Detecting irregularities – Controls help managers detect undesirable irregularities such as poor quality, cost overruns or rising personal turnover. Early detection of such irregularities helps prevent minor problems from mushrooming into major ones.
3. Identifying opportunities – Controls help highlight situations in which things are going on better than expected, thereby alerting management to possible future opportunities.
4. Handling complex situations – As organizations grows larger, controls enhance co-ordination. They help managers keep track of various major elements to be sure that they are well synchronized.
5. Decentralizing authority – Controls affords managers more latitude to decentralize authority. With proper controls managers can foster decision making at lower levels in the organization but still maintain a hand on progress of the same.
Nature and characteristics of control:
i. Pervasive function in the sense that it is required at all levels of management and in every type of organization.
ii. It is a continuous process in the sense that it involves review of performance and revision of standard operations on a continuous basis as long as the organization exists, control continues to exist.
iii. It is an action oriented process in the sense that the manager starts comparing actual performance with the planned performance immediately after actual activities have been undertaken. A good control system always facilitates timely action in the form of corrective measures to prevent the recurrence deviations in future.
iv. Basis of control: Planning is the basis of control because it lays down the standards attainable against which actual performance is compared under controlling function. The concept of control presupposes the existence of planning. Without planning, no control is possible.
v. Backward and forward looking process: In the sense that it compares actual performance which has been or is being carried out with the planned performance. Control is a forward looking process in the sense that it improves future planning by suggesting revision of existing plans and targets and adoption of new plans on the basis of information derived from past experience. It looks at future through the eyes of the past.