Controlling is a function performed by managers to ensure that the organization’s performance does not deviate from established standards. It is worth mentioning that “controlling” in this case does not refer to control or manipulation of behavior; or that managers should try to change the personalities, values, perspectives, or attitudes of their employees. On the contrary, controlling deals almost exclusively with the operation of the organization.
The controlling process takes place in three steps. First, the manager must determine which performances should be measured within the organization. In this step, management would set up Key Performance Indicators (K.P.I.) to measure the performance of their organization. K.P.I.s allow an organization to thoroughly measure their performance in the scope of time, expense, or quality to determine if established standards were met. The second step is comparing the organization’s actual performance against the established standards. Two commonly used control methods are budget and performance audits. The first, budget audits, consist of verifying the organization’s financial records against what was budgeted to see if procedures were followed regarding financial planning. The second, performance audits, are performed by comparing the actual performance of the organization against established standards. In addition to using financial statements, companies can utilize reports that track customer satisfaction, input, and output, the number of units sold, or the number of defective units to audit organizational performance.
The third step is taken if there is a disparity. Managers must make an assessment to determine where the gap exists between established standards and their performance. If so, corrective action is needed. For example, if customers are not satisfied with the company’s products, managers may choose to create a customer survey to determine the cause of the dissatisfaction then take measures to correct the issue. In the case of low customer satisfaction, for example, they could choose to train their employees to better cater to customer needs, or offer discounts if affordability was the consumers’ complaint. By the end of the control process, managers are able to “correct” the performance of the organization.
The P-O-L-C framework was developed more than a century ago to define the roles of a manager. Although it does not accurately depict or cover every function managers perform, this framework makes it easy for individuals to understand what to expect from managers.
Through this framework, people can understand what it means when a manager must plan, lead, organize, and control the activities of an organization. They can comprehend what a manager’s job entails. Even with advancements in technology and the environment, as well as advancements in this field such as Mintzberg’s Roles of a Manager, the P-O-L-C framework remains a valid and essential tool for managers to understand and perform their functions.