Everything you need to know about controlling. Control or controlling techniques are nothing new to business. They are as old as the business itself.

Controlling is necessary for even the very best can be improved. Control implies information combined with action. It is a process of directing a set of variables towards predetermined objectives.

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 organisational 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.”

Learn about:-

1. Introduction to Controlling 2. Definitions of Controlling 3. Importance 4. Features 5. Areas

6. Functions 7. Factors 8. Principles 9. Behavioural Implications 10. Problems.

What is Controlling: Definitions, Nature, Scope, Functions, Principles and Other Details



  1. Introduction to Controlling
  2. Definitions of Controlling
  3. Importance of Controlling
  4. Features of Controlling
  5. Areas of Controlling
  6. Functions of Controlling
  7. Factors of Controlling
  8. Principles of Controlling
  9. Behavioural Implications of Controlling
  10. Problems of Controlling

What is Controlling – Introduction

For making people act, different types of the methods like planning, the organising, the staffing, the leading etc. are used. But after the people start acting, generally the result that is obtained seems to be a mere waste. Now here, the role of the management of the organisation is very critical and should be performed very carefully.

The main responsibility of the management here is that it should take proper care of the fact that the results that are produced are strictly according to the objectives and none of them is a waste or use-less in the nature. This responsibility of the management of the organisation is often referred to as the ‘Controlling’.

The Controlling acts as a very useful managerial function or the tool as it ensures that the actions conform to the expected results with the help of the suitable feedback systems. This process also includes correcting any deviation time in order to see that the results are ensured within the proper time and the costs as per the planned standards.


One very important point that should be kept in mind is that for having the control, it is very necessary to plan the things, i.e., without the planning, the control cannot be obtained. The major reason behind this is that if we will not know about the things that are to be achieved, the resources that are available, the various things that are to be taken care of etc. then it will not be possible to carry on with the process in a controlled manner.

So now, it can be said that planning is very much needed both at the personal level as well as at the organisation level as it acts as a mental discipline and plays a very major role in the process of the controlling. But one very important thing that should be taken care of is that the planning that is done for controlling the process should be done very carefully and should not be vague in nature, i.e., should be very meaningful so that it can help in the establishment of the controlling standards.

Control or controlling techniques are nothing new to business. They are as old as the business itself. Controlling is necessary for even the very best can be improved. Control implies information combined with action. It is a process of directing a set of variables towards predetermined objectives.

Managerial function of control implies measurement and correction of the performance of subordinates in order to make sure that enterprise objectives and the plans devised to attain them are accomplished. Process of control ensures that what is done is what was intended. Thus, control is the function of management which comes at the end but is never ending. It is a function to be exercised at each level of management and not related to the top management only.

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 organisational 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.

What is Controlling – Definitions: By Koontz & O’Donnell, G. Terry, Brech and Donnell

Control is any process that guides activity towards some predetermined goals. Thus, control can be applied in any field such as price control, distribution control, pollution control, etc. However, control as an element of management process can be defined as the process of analysing whether actions are being taken as planned and taking corrective actions to make these to conform to planning. Thus, control process tries to find out deviations between planned performance and actual performance and to suggest corrective actions wherever these are needed.

For Example – Terry has defined control as follows:

“Controlling is determining what is being accomplished, that is evaluating the performance and, if necessary, applying corrected measures so that the performance takes place according to plan.”

Based on the definition of control, its following features can be identified:


1. Control is forward looking because one can control future happenings and not the past. However, on control process always the past performance is measured because no one can measure the outcome of a happening which has not occurred. In the light of these measurements, managers suggest corrective actions for future period.

2. Control is both an executive process and, from the point of view of the organizations of the system, a result. As an executive process, each manager has to perform control function in the organization. It is true that according to the level of a manager in the organization, the nature, scope, and limit of his control function may be different as compared to a manager at other level.

The word control is also preceded by an adjective to designate a control problem, such as, quality control, inventory control, production control, or even administrative control. In fact, it is administrative control, which constitutes the most comprehensive control concept. All other types of control may be subsumed under it.

3. Control is a continuous process. Though managerial control enables the manager to exercise control at the point of action, it follows a definite pattern and timetable, month after month and year after year on a continuous basis.


4. A control system is a coordinated-integrated system. This emphasises that, although data collected for one purpose may differ from those with another purpose, these data should be reconciled with one another. In a sense, control system is a single system, but it is more accurate to think of it as a set of interlocking subsystems.

In the words of Koontz & O’Donnell, “Controlling is the measuring and correcting of activities of subordinates to assure that events conform to plans”.

According to G. Terry, “Controlling can be defined as the process of determining what is to be accomplished, that is the standard; what is being accomplished, that is the performance; evaluating the performance; and if necessary applying corrective measures so that the performance takes place according to plans, that is, in conformity with the standard”.

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.”

What is Controlling – Importance

Control is a fundamental function of management that ensures achievement of goals according to plans. The absence of control could be very costly and unproductive. It is an essential feature of scientific and successful management.

The importance of control will be evident from the following:

(i) Basis of Execution of Plans:

Control is the only means to ensure that the plans are being properly implemented. It measures progress, un-covers deviations indicates corrective steps and keeps every things on track. It is an indispensable past of management. J. Beatty has saw that without watch fullness and feedback of an efficient control system there is little likelihood that even the best laid plans will even work out as expected.

(ii) Achievement of Goals:


It keeps activities on the right path because the process of control is goal oriented. If anything goes on wrong track, remedial steps are undertaken immediately. It helps to minimise wastage and losses.

(iii) Decentralisation of Authority:

An effective control system facilitates the delegation of authority and ensure that the subordinates do not deviate from a predetermined course of action. The feedback information helps managers check whether actions taken at lower levels are in the line with what has been planned or not.

(iv) Basis for Future Action:

The control system provides feedback information and reveals shortcomings in plans. It helps in preparing better plans in future. The long term planning is not possible until control information is available in time to the managers. It facilities decision making in future.

(v) Orders and Disciplines:


While pursuing goals, managers and their subordinates often commit mistakes. A good control system helps check and diagnose the problems before they turn serious in nature. It keeps the subordinates under check and brings discipline among them.

(vi) Promotes Coordination:

It facilitates coordination between different departments and divisions by providing them unity of direction. It builds the individuals and their activities with the common objectives. It also plays the role of bridge between different levels of authority.

(vii) Cope with Uncertainty and Change:

The environment in which organisations operate is complex and ever changing. The organisation should keep a watchful eye on such development and respond intelligently. The timely actions can be initiated to prevent mistakes from becoming serious threats.

(viii) Boosting the Morale of the Employees:


Every employee knows it very well that what he is expected to do and what are the standard of performance against which his performance is to be compared. Such healthy attitude on the part of employee toward the work place helps in keeping morale of employees at higher level.

What is Controlling – Top 8 Features: Basic Function, Continuous Process, Dynamic Process, Forward Looking, People Oriental and a Few Other Features

On the analysis of mentioned definitions, the features of controlling are as follows:

Feature # 1. Basic Function:

Control is an essential function of every manager who is performing the functions like planning, organising, staffing and directing. In fact it is a follow up action to other functions of management.

Feature # 2. Continuous Process:

Controlling is a continuous process having no definable end. It involves constant and regular monitoring of activities in order to improve the performance.


According to Koontz and O’Donnell, “just as the navigator continuously takes a planned action, so should the business manager continually lake a reading to assure to himself that his enterprise or department is on course”. The manager has to perform this function continuously along with other functions of management.

Feature # 3. Dynamic Process:

Control is dynamic in the sense, not static. It involves review of standards as well as corrective actions which may lead to changes in other managerial functions. A properly designed control system can help managers anticipate, monitor and respond to changing circumstances.

Feature # 4. Forward Looking:

Control is related to future because past cannot be controlled. It involves postmortem examination of past events. It seeks to improve future results on the basis of experience gained in the past. A successful control process is one that effects corrections to the organisation before the deviations become serious.

Feature # 5. People Oriental:

R.C. Davis has said that the approach of managerial control is people oriented. It is attained through people and not things. The attitudes of people are more important for the success of control.

Feature # 6. Pervasive Function:

It is an essential function of every manager. Every manager working in organisation irrespective of his position has to control and command over the activities of subordinates as to produce desired results. The nature and extent of control may differ from one level to another.

Feature # 7. Goal Oriented:

Control guides activities towards predetermined goals. The function of controlling is positive. It should not be considered negative in character. The primary focus of controlling is to active results.

Feature # 8. Action Oriented:

The essence of control lies in the corrective action taken to bridge the gap between standards and actual performance. The corrective action is designed to improve the performance in future. The timely action to correct defeats minimise waste of time, money and efforts.

What is Controlling – 12 Main Areas: Control on Wages and Salaries, Control over Capital Expenditure, Control over Costs and a Few Others

For effective control, it is important to know what the critical areas where control would be exercised are.

The identification of these areas of control enhances the management to:

(i) Delegate authority and fixing up of responsibility,

(ii) Reduce burden of supervising each activity in detail, and

(iii) Have means of securing satisfactory results.

Though controls are needed in every area where performance and results directly and vitally affect the survival and prosperity of the organization, these areas need to be specifically spelled out.

The following discussion points out the problems and methods of control in each major area:

1. Control on Wages and Salaries:

Control over wages and salaries are done by having programme of job evaluation, and wage and salary analysis. The functions are carried on by personnel and industrial engineering departments. Often wage and salary committee is constituted to provide help to these departments.

2. Control over Capital Expenditure:

Control over capital expenditure is exercised through the system of evaluation of projects, ranking of projects on the basis of their importance, generally on the basis of their earning capacity. A capital budget is prepared for the business as a whole. The budget committee or appropriation committee reviews the budget.

For effective control over capital expenditure, there should be a plan to identify the realisation of benefits from capital expenditure and to make comparison with anticipated results. Such comparison is important in the sense that it serves as an important guide for future capital budgeting activities.

3. Control over Costs:

Control over costs is exercised through making comparison between standard costs and actual costs. Standard costs are set in respect of different elements of costs. Cost control is also supplemented by budgetary control system, which includes different types of budgets. Controller’s department provides information for setting standard costs, calculating actual costs, and pointing out differences between these two.

4. Control over External Relations:

The public relations department regulates external relations. This department may prescribe certain measures to be followed by other departments while dealing with external parties.

5. Control over Line of Products:

A committee whose members are drawn from production, sales, and research departments exercise control over line of products. The committee controls through studies about market needs. Efforts are made to simplify and rationalize the line of products.

6. Control over Methods and Manpower:

Control over methods and manpower is keep to ensure that each individual is working properly and timely. For this purpose, periodic analysis of activities of each department is conducted. The functions performed, methods adopted, and time consumed by every individual is studied to eliminate non-essential functions, methods, and time. Many organizations create separate department or section known as organization and methods to keep control over methods and manpower.

7. Control over Organization:

Organization charts and manuals are used to keep control over organization structure. Organization manuals attempt at solving organizational problems and conflicts, making long-range organizational planning possible, enabling rationalization of the organization structure, helping in proper designing and clarification of each part of the organization, and conducting periodic check of facts about organization practice.

8. Control over Personnel:

Generally, personnel manager or head of the personnel department, whatever his designation may be, keeps control over personnel in the organization. Sometimes, a personnel committee is constituted to act as ail instrument of control over key personnel.

9. Control over Research and Development:

Control over research and development is exercised in two ways – by providing a budget for research and development and by evaluating each project keeping in view savings, sales, or profit potentialities. Research and development being a highly technical activity is also controlled indirectly. Improving the ability and judgement of the research staff through training programmes and other devices does this.

10. Control over Service Departments:

Control over service departments is effected either-

(i) Through budgetary control within operating departments, or

(ii) Through putting the limits upon the amount of service an individual department can ask, or

(iii) Through authorising the head of service department to evaluate the request for service made by other departments and to use his discretion about the quantum of service to be rendered to a particular department – Sometimes, a combination of these methods may be used.

11. Controls over Policies:

Policies are formulated to govern the behaviour and action of personnel in the organization. These may be written or otherwise, policies are generally controlled through policy manuals, which are generally prepared by top management. Each individual in the organization is expected to function according to policy manuals.

12. Overall Control:

Control over each segment of the organization contributes to overall organizational control. However, some special measures are devised to exercise overall control. This is done through budgetary control project profit and loss account and balance sheet. Integrating and coordinating budgets prepared by each segment prepare a master budget. The budget committee reviews such budget. This budget acts as an instrument for overall control. Profit and loss account and balance sheet are also used to measure the overall results.

What is Controlling – Top 4 Functions: Planning as the Basis, Action as the Essence, Delegation as the Key and Information as the Guide  

Control is closely related with other functions of management because control may be affected by other functions and may affect other functions too. Often it is said planning is the basis, action is the essence, delegation is the key, and information is the guide for control.

This reflects how control is closely related with other functions of management. In fact, managing process is an integrated system and all managerial functions are interrelated and interdependent. When control exists in the organization, people know what targets they are striving for, how they are doing in relation to the targets, and what changes are needed to keep their performance at a satisfactory level.

The relationship of control with major managerial functions can be described as follows:

Function # 1. Planning as the Basis:

Planning is the basis for control in the sense that it provides the entire spectrum on which control function is based. In fact, these two terms are often used interchangeably in the designation of the department, which carries production planning, scheduling, and routing. It emphasizes that there is a plan, which directs the behaviour and activities in the organization.

Control measures these behaviour and activities and suggests measures to remove deviation, if any. Control further implies the existence of certain goals and standards. The planning process provides these goals. Control is the result of particular plans, goals, or policies. Thus, planning offers and affects control. Thus, there is a reciprocal relationship between planning and control.

Thus, various elements of planning provide what is intended and expected and the means by which the goals are achieved. They provide a means for reporting back the progress made against the goals, and a general framework for new decisions and actions in an integrated pattern. Properly conceived plan become important elements in implementing effective control.

Function # 2. Action as the Essence:

Control basically emphasizes what actions can be taken to correct the deviation that may be found between standards and actual results. The whole exercise of managerial process is taken to arrive at organizational objectives set by the planning process. For this purpose, actions and further actions are necessary; each time there may be correction and change in the actions depending upon the information provided by control procedure.

Though it is not necessary that each time a corrective action is taken but control ensures the desirability of a particular action. This is important for organizational effectiveness. Thus, in a real sense, control means action to correct a condition found to be in error or action to prevent such a condition from arising and is never achieved without having action as an essential step.

Function # 3. Delegation as the Key:

Delegation is the key for control to take place because control action can be taken only by the managers who are responsible for performance but who have authority to get the things done. A manager in the organization gets authority through delegation and redelegation.

It does not make sense to make someone responsible for achieving results without delegating him adequate authority. In the absence of adequate authority, a manager is unlikely to take effective steps for correcting the various deviations located in the process of analysis. Taking of corrective actions may be seen in the context of controllability of a factor effecting the deviation or non-achievement of organizational objectives. Some of these factors are controllable and some are uncontrollable.

A controllable factor is the one which can be controlled by an executive action, while the uncontrollable factors lie outside his jurisdiction. A manager’s action is likely to be more effective if more factors are controllable by him. He can have better controllability if he has been authorized to take decisions on various matters concerning him and affecting his action. The best policy of delegation is the matching of responsibility and authority.

It suggests that a manager must have corresponding authority as compared to his responsibility. He has to control the operations, which are exercised by taking action, and action may be taken within the limit of the authority. So the only person who can directly control activities is the one who is directly responsible for them. This is the basic principle for effective organizations.

Function # 4. Information as the Guide:

Control action is guided by adequate information from beginning to the end. Management information and management control systems are closely interrelated; the information system is designed on the basis of control system. Every manager in the organization must have adequate information about his performance, standards, and how he is contributing to the achievement of organizational objectives.

There must be a system of information tailored to the specific management needs at every level, both in terms of adequacy and timeliness. Control system ensures that every manager gets adequate information. The criterion for adequacy of information for a manager is his responsibility and authority that is in the context of his responsibility and authority, what type of information a manager needs.

This can be determined on the basis of careful analysis of the manager’s functions. If the manager is not using any information for taking certain action, the information may be meant for informing him only and not falling within his information requirement. Thus, an effective control system ensures the flow of the information that is required by an executive, nothing more or less.

There is another aspect of information for control and other function, that is, the timeliness of information. Ideally speaking, the manager should be supplied the information when he needs it for taking action. For correcting the deviation, timely action is required by the manager concerned. For this purpose, he must have the information at proper time and covering the functioning of a period, which is subject to control.

The control system functions effectively on the basis of the information, which is supplied in the organization. However, the information is used as a guide and on this basis, a manager what action can be taken.

What is Controlling – 4 Major Factors: Perception Formation, Motivational Dynamics, Organizational Communication and Organizational Rules and Procedures  

The behavioural implications of control, as elaborated above do not mean that control should not be applied in the organization. In fact, control has many positive aspects, as discussed earlier. The basic necessity is that it should suit the participants to make it more effective. From this point of view, it is imperative that various organizational phenomena should be analysed, which affect the control system.

Though there are many such organizational factors and people are engaged in finding out the answer of this basic question, how people can be better controlled for organizational effectiveness, the main factors related directly to control are-

Factor # 1. Perception Formation:

The people’s perception is affected by a number of factors, as discussed earlier. In organizational situation, it is affected by the action of management, and the type of relationship between management and employees. The perception of people towards control is a major factor in determining the response to it.

Thus, if the perception of people about the control attempt is based on sound organizational climate, mutual trust and belief, there is more likelihood of getting favourable and better response from them. On the other hand, if it is based on general distrust, fear and suspicion, it is always that people resist a possibility that control attempt.

Factor # 2. Motivational Dynamics:

The control is affected by the motivational dynamics of people and how the organization is going to satisfy the various needs of the people. The motivational dynamics have twofold role in control. First, how the various attempts at control are in time with the needs of the people. Ideally speaking, a control system should focus adequately on the needs of the participants and must suit them. It means the control system should be tailor-made and no universal because people differ.

Thus, all people cannot be satisfied by the same system. Second, the organization itself provides motivation or, demotivation to the people to work. Human beings, being gregarious, seek to remain in the organization. Thus, many of his needs can be satisfied by this phenomenon. However, since organization, as a collectively of people, has certain norms of behaviour it becomes demotivation for the people if it is not in accordance with the people.

Thus, organizational phenomenon of how people are motivated is a crucial factor in control of behaviour of people in the organization. The various factors discussed above suggest that they actually decide the behavioural implications of control rather than the individual factors alone.

Thus, real implications may be understood in terms of interaction of individual and organizational factors. While many of the individual factors may be analysed on the lines suggested earlier in the previous part of the text, the organizational factors may be analysed throughout the remaining portion of this part.

Factor # 3. Organizational Communication:

The organization has to design a communication network for carrying the control, information both downward and upward. Through the downward communication, a superior sends the information about what a subordinate is expected to do; the upward communication is used to get control information from the subordinates, that is, what they have done. Besides, these channels also serve other purposes.

Thus, the organization depends to a large extent for exercising control through communication. If the communication system is not quite effective, it will affect the control system also, to that extent, in communicating what is expected from a subordinate and also how he is performing. Often communication blockade is a major source of confusion and frustration in the minds of the people and they resist control.

Factor # 4. Organizational Rules and Procedures:

Most of the organizations prescribe some standing measures for providing guidelines for people’s actions in the organizations in the form of policies, rules, and procedures. While these elements provide guidelines to them, they, particularly rules and procedures, prescribe rigidity in action. Thus, they leave very little scope for freedom in action. These rules and procedures also take away initiative and generate alienation.

Many times, they may not be able to isolate or sense the factors, which have caused a. particular situation. Thus, there may be tendency to put the blame on those who are not really responsible for a situation. Besides, the rules and procedures create more delay in action and consequently the result. Such a phenomenon is more frustrating to the individuals in the organization.

What is Controlling – 10 Important Principles: Reflecting Organizational Pattern, Promptness in Reporting Deviation, Simple and a Few Others

Control is necessary in every organization to ensure that everything is going properly. Every manager, therefore, should have an effective and adequate control system to assist him in making sure that events conform to plans. However, control does not work automatically, but it requires certain design.

While the basic principles involved in designing a control system in organizations may be universal the actual system in an organization requires some specific design. In this tailoring of control system, there are certain requirements, which should be kept in mind.

Principle # 1. Reflecting Organizational Pattern:

The control should reflect organizational pattern by focusing attention on positions in organization structure through which deviations are corrected. Organization structure, a principal vehicle for coordinating the work of people, is also a major means of maintaining control.

Thus, in every area of control, it is not enough to know that things are going wrong unless it is known wherein the organisation structure the deviations are occurring. This enables managers to fix up the responsibility and to take corrective actions.

Principle # 2. Promptness in Reporting Deviation:

The success of a thermostat lies in the fact that it points the deviation promptly and takes corrective actions immediately. Similarly, an ideal control system detects deviations promptly and informs the manager concerned to take timely actions. This is done through designing good appraisal and information systems.

Principle # 3. Simple:

Control system must be simple and understandable so that all managers can use it effectively. Control techniques which are complicated such as complex mathematical formulae, charts, graphs, advanced statistical methods and other techniques fail to communicate the meaning of their control data to the managers who use them. Effective control requires consistency with the position, operational responsibility, ability to understand, and needs of the individuals concerned.

Principle # 4. Objectives:

The control should be objective, definite, and determinable in a clear and positive way. The standards of measurement should be quantified as far as possible. If they are not quantifiable, such as training effectiveness, etc., they must be determinable and verifiable. If the performance standard and measurement is not easily determinable, many subjective elements enter into the process, which catch the controller and controlled on wrong tooting.

Principle # 5. Motivating:

Control system should motivate both controller and controlled. While the planning and control are necessary for economical operations, researches in human relations show that planning and control are, more often than not, antagonistic to good human relations. Sometimes, they may even tend to deprive the people in the organizations one of man’s basic needs-a sense of powerful and worthwhile accomplishment the design of control system should be such that aims at motivating people by fulfilling their needs.

Principle # 6. Economical:

Control should be economical and must be worth its costs. Economy is relative, since the benefits vary with the importance of the activity the size of the operation, the expense that might be incurred in the absence of control and the contribution the control system can make. The economy of a control system will depend a great deal on the manager’s selecting for control only critical factors in areas important to him.

If tailored to the job and the size of the enterprise, control will be economical. A large-sized organization can afford highly complicated techniques, sophisticated tools of control and more elaborate system of control, but a small-sized organization cannot afford these because of the cost factor.

Principle # 7. Forward Looking:

Control should be forward looking. Though many of the controls are instantaneous, they must focus attention as to how future actions can be confirmed with plans. In fact, the control system should be such that it provides aid in planning process. This is done in two ways – it draws situations where new planning is needed, and it provides some of the data upon which plans can be based.

Principle # 8. Pointing out Exceptions at Critical Points:

Control should point exception at critical points and suggest whether action is to be taken for deviations or not. Some deviations in the organizations have any impact while others, though very little in quantity may have great significance. Thus, control system should provide information for critical point control and control on exception.

The critical point control stresses that effective control requires attention to those factors critical to appraising performance against an individual plan. The control on exception requires that a manager should take corrective action when there is exceptional deviation. The more a manager concentrates his control efforts on exceptions, the more efficient will be the results of his control.

Principle # 9. Flexible:

Control system should be flexible so that it remains workable in the case of changed plans, unforeseen circumstances, or outright failures. As Geotz has remarked, a control system should report such failures and should contain sufficient elements of flexibility to maintain managerial control of operations despite such failures.

Having alternative plans for various probable situations can provide much flexibility in control. In fact, flexible control is normally achieved through flexible plans.

Principle # 10. Reflecting Organizational Needs:

All control systems and techniques should reflect the jobs they are to perform. There may be several control techniques, which have general applicability, such as, budgeting, costing, etc. However, it should not be assumed that these might be utilized in all situations. The managers should choose an appropriate tool for control, which helps him in controlling actions according to plans.

What is Controlling – Behavioural Implications: Nature of Control, Perception of People and Actions by Participants 

Though control should aim at satisfying the needs of the members of the organization, they often take it otherwise. This may be either because of the adverse real impact of control on them or because of misperception of the impact of control. Thus, while designing the control system, it must be kept in mind that almost everybody in the organization not only resents the idea of being controlled but also objects to being evaluated.

It means the results of the control may not same as anticipated by those who are exercising control. The major behavioural problems of control can be analysed by taking the nature of control, perception of those who are being controlled, and action taken by them.

1. Nature of Control:

Control often puts pressure for engaging in desirable behaviour by those who are subject to control. The basic question is: will they not behave in desirable way if there is no control? Though opinions may differ on this question, often it is recognized that people engage in that behaviour, which provides them satisfaction whether, control or no control.

It means if the organizational processes are in tune with the needs of the organizational participants, they can perform well in the absence of control and not in the presence of control. Behavioural scientists have concluded that people try to be self- actualized but the basic problem, which comes in the way, is provided by the organization itself. They are inherently self-motivated. For example- McGregor believes that more people behave according to the assumptions of Theory Y as compared to Theory X. In such a case, if their behaviour is controlled, it may be counterproductive for the organization.

The results may be against the organizational interests. Thus, the basic nature of control itself against the very basic nature of the people. However, this is not true in all the cases. Many people may still behave according to the assumptions of Theory X and they need rigid control. In fact, the best control system may be one which focuses attention on the individual needs also, as discussed earlier, otherwise if will provide more behavioural problems and may be detrimental to the organization itself.

2. Perception of People:

Another behavioural implication of control is the perception of people who are being controlled. Though perception may be that control is against the nature of people, it is further aggravated by the fact that people perceive it to be for benefit of the organization but against them.

Thus, perception may be right or otherwise, that control if brings better result, is shared by organization alone whereas it may, be brought by the organizational members. The control in most of the cases is used as a pressure tactic for increasing performance. This is true also because people may produce more if they are aware that their performance is being evaluated.

However, increased performance is also determined by several other factors, most important or them being how it is shared between the organization and its members. Thus, if they have positive perception about this aspect also, they will engage in higher performance. In an alternative case, they will take certain actions to thwart the control action. There is another implication of the people’s perception about control.

The manager may develop some plan for control, but there are many unplanned controls also necessitated by the organizational requirements. Thus, unplanned control is also the part of the organizational control. It is this unplanned control that has more serious repercussion and is more counterproductive. The participants may feel that it is due to improper planning on the part of management.

Thus, they are controlled not because of their own shortcomings but for the shortcomings of others. Naturally this may be more serious for those who are being controlled.

3. Actions by Participants:

Participants in most of the cases resist control attempt.

They will try to escape from the purview of control and may take several actions:

(i) They may try to bring behaviour which is satisfying to them but not necessarily satisfying to the organization;

(ii) They may engage in a behaviour which may appear to be in conformity with organizational requirements but actually it is not; and

(iii) If these are not possible they may try to engage in behaviour as required by the organization.

In the first case, people may try to overcome the pressure from control through fanning group. People can stand only to a certain amount of pressure. After this point is passed, it becomes intolerable to them and they will try to find out the alternatives. One of the alternatives is the formation of group if the people cannot reduce the pressure individually. Group helps them to absorb much of the pressure and thus relieves the individual personality.

It gets rid of the tension generated by the control and people feel more secure by belonging to a group, which can counteract the pressure. Now the question is: Does the group disappear if the control pressure is off? The answer is generally in negative because by the time, control pressure is off, people have socialized and identified with a particular group and the group has become attractive to them in more than one respect.

Thus, they are likely to continue to be the members of the group even after the control pressure is off. Another alternative of overcoming the pressure of control is that an individual solves it at his own level. This happens more so if control pressure affects only a few individuals. In such cases, the individuals may engage in a behaviour, which on the surface seems to satisfy organizational needs but actually it is not so.

In such cases, they will try to camouflage the information meant for control like providing wrong information or coming in time at the workplace but not quite engaging in meaningful behaviour or looking busy but without doing anything. This situation is also quite counterproductive. If the individuals are notable to go for any of these alternatives. They will fall in line with organizational control attempt.

This situation may, however, cannot be taken as ideal because it may be counterproductive in the long run. People may develop alienation to the work and to the organization which may have adverse effect on their efficiency. Organization in such cases may lose, not only the efficiency of their members but them also.

What is Controlling – 5 Major Problems: Magnitude of Change, Time Rate of Change, Communication Problems, Erroneous Standards and Workers’ Resistance

Problem # 1. Magnitude of Change:

Control system is mostly to cope with changes of certain magnitude. Certain decisions are made regarding which of the variables in the system can change, how much will they change, and what actions can be taken to correct changes. The system is designed around these variables. For example, management recognises that not all employees will show up each day on a production line and that production problems will occur because of equipment or material problems, or absence of workers in shop floor.

Therefore, it provides for alternative labour sources and for maintenance men or production engineers who can be called when technical problems occur. These corrective actions are programmed into the foreman’s decision rules. But these corrective actions can work only when the assumptions are met, e.g., when only one or two employees do not show up or only one machine at a time breaks down.

If 90 per cent of the workers go home after lunch because they had food poisoning after eating in the cafeteria, there is very little the foreman can do to correct the change. The variables have gone outside the range that the control system was designed to handle.

Problem # 2. Time Rate of Change:

Time lags in feedback can cause severe problems. Such time lags tend to slow down the adaptive process, that increase the length of time it takes for the control system to respond.

It is easy to see how lags can develop in a control system. Organisational control systems, particularly at higher levels in the organisation, often depend on written reports for their sensed information and or written memos or directives as the corrective feedback. But it obviously takes time to write and transmit such information. If the activity is changing rapidly, the problem will be entirely different by the time the corrective feedback reaches the activity.

Problem # 3. Communication Problems:

Problems in communication can affect the functioning for a control system, since it is dependent on information for its operation. This information must be transmitted through a variety of communication channels ranging from face-to-face verbal communication to formal, written letters. Semantic and transmission barriers can distort the information being communicated.

Problem # 4. Erroneous Standards:

Perhaps the most critical problem in a control system is that of some inadvertent mistakes committed in setting standards for comparison. Where mistakes in standards exist, it is obviously more difficult to discriminate between proper and improper output of the activity. The decision-maker is not certain whether the deviation message being received is the result of the activity being out of control or the standards being improperly set.

Problem # 5. Workers’ Resistance:

Human behaviour is complicated, and it is not easy to impose controls without leading to conflicts. Employees regard any control system as a tool to exert pressure on them. Thus a control system must first be “sold” before it is introduced.

Each of the three steps of the control system is fought with opposition and conflict. While establishing standards, people generally do not agree on the targets of production, sales and raw material consumption and cost standards.

The conflicts which originate during the first step come into sharp focus when the actual performance is being compared with the planned targets. People complain that the targets are unreal and non-feasible, control people lack objectivity, and the time span of appraisal is too short to enable a fair assessment or evaluation. People also resent the authority of the control department to sit in judgement and ask for explanations. In the final step when the corrective action is being taken, disagreement arises primarily over the location of the decision level regarding remedial action.