Features and Importance of Controlling

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Controlling is the process of comparing the actual performance with the standards set by the company to make sure that activities are performed accordingly, if not, then take appropriate measures to correct them. Controlling is one of the important functions of management.


Robert N.Anthony states that “Management control is the process by which managers assure that resources are obtained and used effectively and efficiently to accomplish the organizational goals”.


The process of Controlling verifies that the tasks allotted to the employees are performed on time. It also ensures that the activities are carried out as per the plans and strategies. 

Controlling leads back to the first function in the management cycle which is planning, revising and taking proper measures if activities are happening incorrectly. It is executed at all levels in the organization.

Features and Characteristics of Control

  1. Control is a Management Function- In management, there are various functions like planning, directing, staffing, organizing and controlling. Controlling is one of the essential functions without which all other functions are rendered meaningless.

  2. Control is Embedded at each level of the Hierarchy- All managers follow the practices of control management to accomplish their tasks and keep a check on their reporters to ensure the attainment of goals. Although control exists at every level, it differs, for example, the top management involves strategic control, middle management in tactical control and lower management in operational control.

  3. Control is a Continuous Activity- Controlling is not a single time activity but instead a continuous process that involves a timely review of performances and results in corrective action.

  4. Control is both Backward and Forward-Looking- We compare the performance with the standards which are set during the planning and processing. The past data or activities are used for the analysis of deviations, hence control is backward looking. Control is also related to the future as the past activities cannot be controlled. The data analyzed is used to take corrective measures in the future.

  5. Control is Closely Linked with Planning- Planning and Controlling are closely linked and run hand in hand. Planning sets the action course while controlling keeps track of it. If there is any deviation in the course, controlling helps to find errors and design new strategies to get it back on track. The findings from the process of controlling act as an input to the planning process.

  6. Control is Related to Results- The assessment of progress is based on the results. Any deviation from the required results control has to be incorporated to take corrective actions.

Steps in Controlling

There are three steps in controlling:

1. Establishment of Standards- The first step in control management is establishing standards.

Standards are the paths that are planned by the organization towards which the performance has to be directed. They are obtained from the objectives of the organization based on which performances are measured. Standards may be set for different areas of the organization such as production, marketing, sales, personality development, profitability and so on.

2. Measurement and Comparison of Performance

Once the standards are set, the next step is to measure the actual performances and compare them with the desired standards to find any deviations. If there are deviations, then the reason for it must be found. The end report from this step consists of deviations and their causes which will be forwarded to the team who will be taking further necessary corrective actions.

3. Corrective Actions when Deviations Occur

The final step in controlling is taking corrective actions for deviations. The deviations are first investigated and appropriate actions have to be taken. The reason for deviations could be the flaws in standards that have to be revised and changed.

Importance of Control in Management

  • Accomplishing Organizational Goals: Control measures the progress of organizational goals and accentuate deviations, if any, and lays out the basis for corrective measures. It ensures that the organizational goals are on track.

  • Efficient Use of Resources: Wastage and spoilage of resources are reduced. For example, in damage control, the defective products are examined and the production will be modified to reduce errors and produce error-free products and thereby reducing further wastage of materials. Thus it ensures that resources are used in the most effective and efficient manner.

  • Judges Accuracy of Standards: The management will be able to verify whether the standards set by the organization are accurate. According to the changes in the environment, the standards can be reviewed and revised by exercising control.

  • Employee Motivation:  When standards are set by the organization, employees will know beforehand as to what is expected from them and perform accordingly, based on their performance, they will be appraised. When control is practised to check the tasks, the performances will be better and so will be the appraisals which in turn will motivate the employees.

  • Ensuring Order and Discipline: Controlling keeps a close check on the employee’s activities and ensures the activities are performed honestly. It fosters a sense of discipline and order in the organization.

  • Facilitating Coordination in Action: At every level in the management, the activities of the subordinates will be checked and coordinated by the managers which lead towards the accomplishment of organizational goals.

Limitations of Control Management

  • No Control over External Factors: The organizations do not have control over the changes in the external environment for example changes in technology, competition and changes in consumer requirements. 

  • Employee Resistance: Employees tend to oppose certain control procedures because it may limit their freedom. For example, time tracker machines or CCTVs may not be accepted by all employees.

  • Difficulty in Setting Standards: It gets difficult to measure performance because standards cannot be defined quantitatively which arise due to different problem areas such as human behaviours, employee morale and job satisfaction.

  • Costly: Controlling incurs a lot of expense, time, and effort hence gets costlier. It must be ensured by the management that the cost involved in running a control system should not exceed the benefits gained from it.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the three types of Control?

Ans: Different companies and organizations stress upon different types of control. The three types of control systems are:

  • Behavioural Control

  • Output Control

  • Clan Control

2. What is the main objective of Control?

Ans: The main objective of control is to make sure that the work performance is going according to the schedule as planned.