Five Essential Principles of Management

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Five Essential Principles of Management

  1. Planning
  2. Organizing
  3. Directing
  4. Controlling
  5. Leading


Strategic planning consists of the establishment of a vision and mission statement, as well as the “Why” of planning (McWay, 2014). Also, during strategic planning, the future of the organization is being considered, as opposed to normal daily operations (McWay, 2014). Strategic planning also defines the purpose (or the “why”) of the organization (McWay, 2014). This is explained using the organization’s vision and mission statements (McWay, 2014). To determine the effectiveness of strategic planning, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are analyzed (McWay, 2014).

Management planning consists of setting objectives and goals, and the “What” of planning (McWay, 2014). Whereas strategic planning focuses on the future of the organization, management planning focuses on results of planning (McWay, 2014). An example of management planning is management by ojectives (MBO) (McWay, 2014). MBO clarifies who does what, in what amount of time, and at what level of recognition (McWay, 2014). Although management planning is separate from strategic planning, the goal is for the results to line up with the vision and mission statements which are established in strategic planning (McWay, 2014).

Operational planning consists of method identification and the “How” component of planning (McWay, 2014). Some organizations use operational planning instead of strategic planning, while others may use it as an extension of strategic or management planning (McWay, 2014). One element of operational planning is the establishment of a budget (McWay, 2014). Next, policies for meeting objectives, as well as procedures for standardizing a routine are created (McWay, 2014). One example of operational planning is planning for emergencies (McWay, 2014). 

Real Life Scenario: Planning

One well-known and successful planner in history was Harland Bartholomew. His company (Bartholomew and Associates of St. Louis) is responsible for establishing a comprehensive physical plan for the city of Dallas (Fairbanks, 2003). Bartholomew’s plan for Dallas identified many metropolitan problems, as well as suggestions on how to address them (Fairbanks, 2003). The plan also included ideas for uses for private and public land and suggestions on where to place transportation facilities, roads, and parks (Fairbanks, 2003). The plan also included details on how to deal with housing problems (McWay, 2003).


Organizing is the determination of roles and responsibilities, establishing a reporting chain, and identifying decision authorities (McWay, 2014). The organizational design is the aspect of organizing that assigns certain activities with certain people (McWay, 2014). Organizational structure is the aspect of organizing that divides the organization’s work and responsibilities (McWay, 2014). The organizational chart is a map of departmental or organizational positions with principal lines of authority (McWay, 2014). One weakness of the organizational chart is its inability to accurately portray authority delegations (McWay, 2014).

Real Life Scenario: Organizing

Bartholomew organized a company to carry out his work. Harland Bartholomew and Associates of St. Louis was founded in 1919 (Social Networks and Archival Context, n.d.). This organization is still active today and has multiple regional offices throughout the country (Social Networks and Archival Context, n.d.).  Harland Bartholomew and Associates of St. Louis is responsible for designing city plans for hundreds of American cities (Social Networks and Archival Context, n.d.). Some examples of work from the firm’s portfolio are the 1920 Comprehensive Plan for the city of St. Louis, the 1920 Comprehensive Plan for University City, the Major Street Plan of 1932, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and the Washington D.C. Metro system and George Washington Parkway (Social Networks and Archival Context, n.d.). The firm has grown so large that it even has a satellite office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Social Networks and Archival Context, n.d.).


The directing element of the Five Essential Principles of Management consists of decision-making, instructing others, and work simplification (McWay, 2014). Decision-making is usually accomplished through a logical process, but sometimes is accomplished on a whim, instinct, or impulse (McWay, 2014). Another aspect of directing consists of assigning work and delegating (McWay, 2014). Assigning work to the right person for the task is vital to the success of work completion (McWay, 2014). Delegating is granting another individual the power or authority typically granted to another individual (McWay, 2014). Work simplification describes an effort to find a better, more effective way of completing work, by eliminating wasted materials, energy, and time (McWay, 2014). 

Real Life Scenario: Directing

As the founder of Harland Bartholomew and Associates of St. Louis, Harland Bartholomew was highly skilled in directing (Social Networks and Archival Context, n.d.). As mentioned previously, Harland Bartholomew and Associates of St. Louis had multiple offices (Social Networks and Archival Context, n.d.). This meant that Bartholomew had to make decisions involving many employees. Additionally, since he could not directly supervise all of the employees. He had to delegate supervision responsibility to regional managers. Also, in order for the firm to be successful, they achieved work simplification by dividing work up by regions, rather than having one office attempt to cover the entire country.


Controlling is taking responsibility for ensuring that planned activities are accomplished (McWay, 2014). This is achieved using a series of controls; input controls, process controls, and output controls (McWay, 2014). Input controls are used to predict and prevent anticipated problems from occurring (McWay, 2014). One example of an input control is completing preventive maintenance on expensive pieces of equipment (McWay, 2014). This prevents equipment downtime or failure (McWay, 2014).

Process controls are used to evaluate and measure the progress of work (McWay, 2014). Some examples of process controls are employee performance assessments (formal and informal) through occasional sampling and checking (McWay, 2014). Output controls use problems with effectiveness in order to make improvements in future processes (McWay, 2014). One example of output controls is performance appraisals (McWay, 2014). Evaluating past performance helps to identify areas of improvement for future performance (McWay, 2014).

Setting standards is a way for manager to guarantee that jobs are being completed accurately (McWay, 2014). Meeting set standards is assessed using quantity and quality assessments (McWay, 2014). Quantity is evaluated through audits and inspections, and quantity is evaluated by reviewing employee logs work samples (McWay, 2014). Monitoring performance is the third element in Controlling and is accomplished using either data extracted from an electronic database, or questionnaires or survey forms (McWay, 2014). It is vital to monitor performance in order to prevent uncorrectable problems (McWay, 2014).

Real Life Scenario: Controlling

Prior to Harland Bartholomew and Associates expanding throughout the country with regional offices, Bartholomew traveled from location to location (Social Networks and Archival Context, n.d.). At each job site, Bartholomew was in control of the plans and activities. As the head of the company, Bartholomew was responsible for ensuring the quality of the work being accomplished. This quality assurance was accomplished through setting standards and assessing work quality (McWay, 2014). Additionally, he had to monitor performance of all of his employees in order for the company to succeed and grow into the international business it is today (Social Networks and Archival Context, n.d.).


Leadership is inspiring others to accomplish the work that needs to be done, while also concurrently earning their respect and loyalty (McWay, 2014). People with positional power are granted authority based on the role they are filling in the organization, rather than earning employees respect through their actions (i.e. personal power) (McWay, 2014). Motivation is something that persuades an individual to perform a behavior or action (McWay, 2014). Directing others is achieved by establishing a clear focus and direction and promoting the advancement of a common vision (McWay, 2014). Resolving conflict may be achieved by using negotiation (McWay, 2014). This method resolves conflict when the parties involved come to an agreement through compromise or bargaining (McWay, 2014).   

Real Life Scenario: Leading

Based on the success of the company, it is safe to deduce that Harland Bartholomew was an effective leader. The expansion of the company to include multiple regional offices, a satellite office in Dubai, and being responsible for the planning of hundreds of cities, Bartholomew had to have established himself as a good leader (Social Networks and Archival Context, n.d.). whether it was positional power or personal power, he ensured the job was accomplished. This may be due, in part, to the firm having a clear focus and a common vision (McWay, 2014). Had he not been a good leader, his firm would likely have failed, and not been capable of thriving in today’s economy. 


In conclusion, the Five Essential Principles of Management are Planning, Organizing, Directing, Controlling, and Leading (McWay, 2014). Planning


  • Fairbanks, R. (01 Sep 2003). Harland Bartholomew and the Planning of Modern Dallas. Legacies. Fall2003, Vol. 15 Issue 2, p34-49. Retrieved from
  • McWay, D. (2014). Today's Health Information Management: An Integrated Approach. Chapter 13: Management Organization. Retrieved from!/4/260/6/56/[email protected]:0

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