Management is a distinct activity having the following salient features or characteristics:
Management is a purposeful activity. It co-ordinates the efforts of employees to achieve the goals of the organization. The success of management is measured by the extent to which the organizational goals are achieved. It is imperative that the organizational goals must be well-defined and properly understood by the mangers at various levels.
2. Economic Resource:
Management is one of the factors of production together with land, labour and capital. It is the most critical input in the success of any organized group activity. It is the force which assembles and integrates other resources, namely, labour, capital and materials. These factors do not by themselves ensure production, they require the catalyst of management to produce goods and services required by the society. Thus, management is an essential ingredient of an organization.
3. Distinct Process:
Management is a distinct process consisting of such functions as planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling. These functions are so interwoven that it is not possible to lay down exactly the sequence of various functions or their relative significance. In essence, the process of management involves decision-making and putting of decisions into practice.
4. Integrative Force:
The essence of management is integration of human and other resources to achieve the desired objectives. All these resources are made available to those who manage. Managers apply knowledge, experience and management principles for getting the results from the workers by the use of non-human resources. Managers also seek to harmonize the individuals’ goals with the organizational goals for the smooth working of the organization.
5. Intangible Force:
Management has been called an unseen force. Its presence is evidenced by the result of its efforts-orderliness, informed employees, buoyant spirit and adequate work output. Thus, feeling of management is result-oriented. One may not see with the naked eyes the functioning of management but its results are apparently known.
People often remark of the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of management on the basis of the end results, although they can’t observe it during operation.
6. Results through Others:
The managers cannot do everything themselves. They must have the necessary ability and skills to get work accomplished through the efforts of others. They must motivate the subordinates for the accomplishment of the tasks assigned to them.
7. A Science and an Art:
Management has an organized body of knowledge consisting of well-defined concepts, principles and techniques which have wide applications. So it is treated as a science. The application of these concepts, principles and techniques requires specialized knowledge and skills on the part of the manager. Since the skills acquired by a manager are his personal possession, management is viewed as an art.
8. System of Authority:
Management as a team of managers represents a system of authority, a hierarchy of command and control. Managers at different levels possess varying degrees of authority. Generally, as we move down in the managerial hierarchy, the degree of authority gets gradually reduced. Authority enables the managers to perform their functions effectively.
9. Multi-disciplinary Subject:
Management has grown as a field of study (i.e. discipline) taking the help of so many other disciplines such as Engineering, Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology. Much of the management literature is the result of association of these disciplines. For instance, productivity orientation drew its inspiration from Industrial Engineering and human relations orientation from Psychology. Similarly, Sociology and Operations Research have also contributed to the development of management science.
10. Universal Application:
Management is universal in character. The principles and techniques of management are equally applicable in the fields of business, education, military, government and hospital. Henri Fayol suggested that principles of management would apply more or less in every situation. The principles are working guidelines which are flexible and capable of adaptation to every organization where the efforts of human beings are to be co-ordinated.