Organizations have several resources at their disposal that aid in the production of the principal good(s) or service(s) that the organizations market. The major resources available to a company are the human and capital resources. For the organization to attain its goals and objectives, the resources must be properly coordinated. Management deals with the coordination of resources to ensure the organization meets its goals and objectives. Efficient management of the resources leads to the ultimate success of the business organization. Management comprises of various functions. Planning, decision-making, organizing, staffing, directing or actuation and controlling are some of the basic functions of management. First of all, the organization must define the goals and objectives of the process. Secondly, the management must choose the best alternative that would help in undertaking the process efficiently. Thirdly, management should structure the working of the team. Fourthly, the management must ensure that the employees have the capacity and capability of fulfilling the goals and objectives of the process. The management must also ensure that the employees have the necessary assistance in undertaking their duties. Finally, the management must ensure that it continually monitors and controls the processes to ensure it meets the goals and objectives of the company.
These management functions find applications in virtually all organizations. For example, Toyota is one of the companies that efficiently implement the above functions. However, the company has been unsuccessful in managing the “control” function, leading to massive recalls of vehicles in the past. The uniqueness of a healthcare service organization makes managers face difficulties in applying some of the basic functions of management. Regulation significantly affects how the organization controls various functions within the organization. The level of expertise in the healthcare industry also poses other difficulties. This necessitates the formulation of strategies to tackle some of the problems.
The Classical Functions of Management
Management is “working with and through people to accomplish the objectives of both the organization and its members” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 2). In an organizational setting, a manager does certain duties regardless of the manager's position. Every manager plans, makes decisions, organizes, staffs, directs or actuates and controls. The functions help in the smooth running of the unit, department, or organization that the manager heads.
Planning is arguably the most prominent feature of management. In the planning process, it is vital that the manager selects the objectives and sets goals. This helps the manager constitute a team, determine their tasks and duties and commence the process of delegation (Montana & Charnov, 2008). In addition, the manager must communicate with the people whose performance is necessary to attain the objectives (Drucker, 1999). It is only after the establishment of objectives that the manager can effectively control and evaluate the performance of the team.
Toyota has a philosophy of empowering its employees. This fosters creativity and innovation through encouraging participation of the employees in the planning process of the company. This also leads to increased employee loyalty. However, for this to be effective there must be mutual trust between the manager and the employees. Additionally, the manager provides the needed training to employees and heeds the recommendations that the employees propose. This is especially if the recommendations pertain to customer satisfaction (Plunkett, Attner, & Allen, 2007). At the planning stage, the manager ensures that the process is detailed, and there would be no engineering changes on the drawings upon their release to the production department for it to make prototypes (Balle, 2005).
Decision-making is another function that a manager must undertake. The manager should choose one alternative from several different alternatives during the planning process. The distinct difference of this function is that whereas other people may help in the planning process, only the manager can do decision-making. Decision-making involves the formulation of “alternatives, conscious choice, and commitment” (Liebler & McConnel, 2012, p. 54). At Toyota, managers make decisions at the lowest possible level. This ensures that there is a quick response to the users or customers’ demands. Empowerment of the employees means that the management involves them in determining the best alternative. However, the ultimate decision lies with the manager (Plunkett et al., 2007).
Organizing is the other main function of management. This function requires analytical ability for efficient implementation. This is because it requires economical use of rare resources (Drucker, 1999). Organizing involves the assigning of roles, determination of authority and responsibility, and formulating means of coordination. This prepares the ground for the efficient working of the staff. Toyota uses a lean production system that ensures the company has efficient management. The management focuses on structuring the setting performance of various actions to ensure the autonomy of the activities. The management ensures that communication between various groups and individuals within the team is non-hierarchical (Mitsuishi, Ueda, & Kimura, 2008). This helps in increasing the efficiency of the groups. The groups are able to solve various problems as they arise.
Staffing is the determination of the personnel who would help in execution of the process. The manager determines the needs of personnel, training, orientation, and evaluation of the employees responsible for organizing the process (Liebler & McConnel, 2012). Toyota has plants in various parts of the world. The company ensures that it gets the most experienced employees to run its operations. To ensure the employees of the company are competent, the company regularly gives the employees training to improve their knowledge.
Directing or actuation is the guidance or leadership by managers to ensure that the job employees undertake is goal oriented. The manager attempts to influence the employees to ensure they work efficiently. Thus, the manager may teach, coach, and motivate the employees (Liebler & McConnel, 2012). Toyota believes that the main function of management is to motivate every employee through “the appreciation that comes with education”. The managers of the company always strive to motivate the employees and continually maintain contact with the junior employees (Hino, 2006). The company uses psychological approaches effectively in motivating employees.
Controlling is the final function of management. It occurs after completion of all the functions of management. Controlling has a close association with other functions of management. Controlling helps in determining the efficiency of other functions of management. The control function of the organization also helps in measuring the efficiency of the control system (DuBrin, 2008). However, despite seeming to be the last step of the managerial process, this is not the case. Controlling has a close relationship to the other functions of management in a circular relationship. It involves correcting and analyzing of the other functions of management for deviations from the result the organization anticipated (Agarwal, 1983). Toyota ensures that there is better control in the company by ensuring that there is departmental and cross-functional control. The company controls the quality, cost, delivery, profit, and production in various plants in accordance with its lean production system (Akao, 2004). This leads to the improved efficiency of the production system.
Analysis of Toyota’s Management Practices
Toyota adheres to management principles that help in improving the competitiveness of the company. The company’s performance of functions of management contributes significantly to its competitiveness. The management involves the employees in planning of the processes. Employees are free to share their views on the undertaking of the process. Incorporation of the employee’s views ensures that the employees feel that they “own” the project. This encourages cohesion among the employees and management. This ensures that there is participation of the employees in the process. The company’s decision-making mechanism is also exemplary. Toyota ensures that decisions are made at the lowest possible level. This helps in reducing bureaucracy and ensures that there is a quick response of the immediate needs and challenges that the company faces.
One of the features that significantly help in increasing the efficiency of the company is effective communication mechanism in the organization. The managements ensure that there is non-hierarchical communication between various teams in the organization. This help in reducing the time taken by various teams to complete tasks. The team can communicate directly with other units that are necessary in completion of the project. In addition, the company ensures it motivates its employees to improve their productivity. The company has embedded a culture within the organization that ensures that managers are in continuous communication with the junior colleagues. In doing so, the managers provide leadership to the employees of the company.
However, there are certain areas where the management of the company has been unsuccessful. Despite the company being multinational, Japanese citizens dominate staffing of management and other senior positions. The lack of managers who are natives of the countries of operation leads to communication problems between local managers and the top executives of the company. However, the company is gradually ensuring that there is elevation of more local employees into management positions (Soble, 2010).
In the recent past, Toyota has experienced several problems in the control of its operations. The company had to recall more than 9 million vehicles to correct several mechanical defects of the vehicles (Daft, 2011). In addition, the company shut down production of the models that had defects until the problem was corrected (Schermerhorn, 2011). The problem exposed several hitches in the quality control of the company. Therefore, the company should improve its control process to ensure detection of potential problems early.
Healthcare Service Organization Management
Management traverses all spheres of organization. Management is vital in ensuring that the services offered in healthcare facilities are efficient. In a healthcare institution, the medical practitioners may assume management roles. Emergence of management roles may be gradual due to an increase in the number of patients, diversification of services, and specialization. The health practitioner may perform several management roles. These include: budget projections, updating and refining job descriptions, and reassessing and expanding staffing patterns. In addition, practitioners in private practice must perform management activities for their business enterprises (Liebler & McConnel, 2012). The medical practitioner must perform management activities to ensure his/her business enterprise continues to thrive.
However, managing a healthcare service organization is different from other management practices. Staffing is one of the unique features of healthcare management. In every department, the employees have undergone several years training to achieve the qualification that would enable them to work effectively. This necessitates the manager of the department to have knowledge of the activities carried out in the departments they head. The technicality of the activities may present several hurdles to managers in staff supervising, maintaining of a budget, and developing of the work plans of various employees in the department (Lombardi & Pynes, 2012). Lack of technical knowledge of the department may also present problems to the managers during the process or recruiting new staff. This is mainly because the medical profession is knowledge intensive and puts special emphasis on the level of education of the practitioners.
Healthcare is a highly regulated activity. Various standards regulate the provision of healthcare. The standards ensure that the healthcare facilities offer high quality services to patients. In addition, most healthcare facilities have external sources of funding. From time to time, the funding authorities may inspect the healthcare facility to ensure that the healthcare provides the services efficiently and effectively (Lombardi & Pynes, 2012). These regulations significantly affect how the healthcare facility undertakes the management processes. Regulations also help in improving the transparency of service provided by the healthcare facility. The healthcare facility must ensure that control of various processes within the organization meets the expectation of the donor agencies and complies with various regulations. In addition, the activities of the healthcare facility must meet the moral and ethical consideration of the society.
There are various management tools that manager use in planning and controlling. Most of the tools incorporate information technology in their working. The tools help in improving the efficiency of various processes within the organization. Managers in other industries are usually confident with the use of the tools in management practices. In the healthcare industry, various tools use information technology in improving the efficiency of the activities. However, these tools pose various challenges to the managers of healthcare facilities. The managers of healthcare service organizations are not comfortable and confident with the tools that aid in the management of administrative tasks (Buchbinder & Shanks, 2011). This is mainly because most healthcare managers have expertise in various medical fields and may find use of the tools foreign to their profession.
Management is vital in ensuring of the success in any business organization. Regardless of the industry in which a business organization operates, there are certain functions of management that managers must undertake. These include: planning, decision-making, organizing, staffing, directing, or actuation, and controlling. Toyota has been successful in efficiently managing some of the functions. However, the staffing of the Toyota and control of processes has not been efficient. Application of some of the functions of management in managing a healthcare service organization may prove to be difficult due to the unique nature of the organization processes and employees.