Stages In The Control Process

Controlling is the final step in the process of comparing actual performance with the plans and taking steps to initiate corrective action. The basic control process, wherever it is found and whatever it controls, involves the following steps:


1)     Setting standards: The total workload of the business is broken down into departments, sections and individuals. Each of them has specific objectives for detailed operation. These objectives are set in physical terms, such as quantities of products, units of service, labour-hours, speed or volume of rejections. They may be expressed in monetary terms, such as volume of sales, costs, capital expenditures or profits or it may be expressed in any other verifiable qualitative terms. These standards must be clear so that the checking of performance becomes possible. At the same time, it is essential that the responsibility should be identified with definite individuals in the organisation and he is accountable for the lapse, if the performance varies from the standard laid down.

Establishment of standard may be discussed with S-O-G-P chain. Standard is a measuring rod for the attainment of organisational objectives. These objectives aim at accomplishing the organisational goals, which is the ultimate purpose of every organisation.

Standards - Objectives - Goals – Purpose

As shown above, standards are used to control objectives, objectives are used to control goals, and goals are used to control purpose.


2)     Measurement of performance : The second step is to measure actual performance of various individuals, groups or units in the light of standards. Management should not depend upon the guess that standards are being met. It should measure the performance and compare it with the standards. Quantitative measurement is done in those cases where standards have been set in numerical terms. This makes evaluation easy and simple. In all other cases, the performance is measured in terms of qualitative factors. For instance, performance of Industrial Relations Manager may be measured in terms of attitudes of workers, frequency of strikes, and morale of workers. Attitude and morale of workers are not capable of being measured quantitatively. They have to be measured qualitatively. If standards are appropriately drawn and if means are available for determining exactly what subordinates are doing, appraisal of actual or expected performance is fairly easy.


3)     Comparing performance with standards and ascertaining the causes of difference, if any: The responsibility of a manager does not end with measuring the performance. Deviations from the standard, if any, must be noted and the causes of deviation ascertained. Comparing performance with the standard and ascertaining the causes of deviation involve the third stage of control. The causes of factors responsible for deviations may be defective material, machinery, process, slackening of efforts, etc. The comparative analysis should be done as close to the point of performance as possible. It assists in quick location of defects and results in correction with minimum losses.


4)     Adopting corrective measures: The final step in the control process consists of remedial actions so that deviations may not occur again and the objectives of organisation are achieved. Towards that end, managers must take appropriate decisions so as to meet immediate needs, or revising the existing targets and standards, or changing the methods of selection and training of workmen, or even drawing up revised plans.

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