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People and Organisational management in the built environment

Management as defined by Mary Parker Follet is “The art of getting things done through people” (Torrington & Weightman, 1994, P: 17). Management is an ongoing activity to achieve important goals and to know how to perform major functions. A good management system is a challenge, it is the process of maintaining control over an organisation at the same time inspiring, leading, and making important decisions. In a management system it is the role of the manager to deal with the operation, structure and process of an organisation. The concept of management has been in existence from the time of human origin.

The approach to management has changed and a scientific approach to management evolved in the beginning of the 19th century which was the time of the industrial revolution. After the emergence of the industrial revolution the management theory split into 2 groups, i. e. the practising managers consisting of Taylor and the social scientists consisting of Mayo. Since then a lot of new management theories have evolved. The people and organisational management is the latest focus since each work tends to be different and the organisations need different strategies to achieve each objective.

Why are the Understanding of People and Organisational Management Important? Organisation is a complex world. In the construction industry, different organisations work together to meet a single objective. Here it is important to understand how the organisation works and how they influence the productivity of the people working in it. An effective management of people is important for the success of any organisation. The classical theorist F. W. Taylor, who is known as the father of scientific management said about the ‘one way of doing work’ (Management, Bartol & Martin, 1998).

But in a construction industry every project tends to be different and to reach the goal organisations have to adjust to changes. As Kerzner said “There is no such thing as a good or a bad organisational structure, there are only appropriate and inappropriate ones” (Kerzner, 2006, P: 89). So it is the organisation that has to adapt to the changes for the success of the work they do. In this rapidly changing environment, competition exists in all levels such as communication, work ethics, technology etc.

therefore to get along with these changes it is important to understand about the most important principle of people and organisational management. In an organisation if a manager wants to get the task completed, he must execute timely planning and organise how things have to be done. He must also find ways of working through controlling and coordination and ensure that the work is done in an effective way. Henry Fayol said about managing” is to plan, to organise, to command, to coordinate, and to control” (Cole, 2004, P: 14).

Planning is done in order to decide what to achieve and the achievement should have a certain criteria, considering all the aspects (Cole, 2004). The head of the organisation should be able to know what should be the output and plan accordingly. There fore it plays a very important role in management. In a construction project a variety of work has to be done at one time. The completion of each work has to be planned and the workers should be divided equally. For a particular work on site, for example steel fixing, the number of skilled and unskilled workers need to be planned and divided properly.

In Henry Fayol’s principle of management he said “Division of work reduces span of attention or effort for any one person or group” (Cole, 2004, P: 15). He emphasises on correct balance of workers for each work. The site condition, availability of workers, materials etc is also a very important criterion while planning a work on site. As said by F. W. Taylor, carefully studying the process of the job and eliminating all the unnecessary activities helps in making a good plan (Cole, 2004). Mere planning does not help in doing the work more efficiently. For that the work has to be organised properly.

The output of planning comes through proper organising. The correct distribution of work and responsibilities of an organisation by the manager is also very important. Proper communication and co ordination plays a very significant role in organising a work. Mintzberg talked about communication that “by virtue of his interpersonal contacts, both with his subordinates and with his network of contacts the manager emerges as a nerve centre of his organisational unit” (Morden, 2004, P: 90). Famous scientists like Eagen and Latham have defined good organisation as the result of good communication and coordination.

In bigger organisations the manager has to do different jobs at a time and need to organise each job to its merit. There fore co-ordination of each work is very important. In a construction site there are different works going on at the same time. Organising simultaneous jobs in a proper method helps the work to be done effectively. This helps in avoiding any confusion in the work completion procedure or the budget spent. In an organisation, apart from properly organising and planning the achievement of the goal, an important aspect is controlling it.

Henry Fayol defined control in terms of ensuring that events happen in accordance with plans and policies, for instance on time within budget. (Morden, 2004, P: 141). What ever be the objectives of an organisation, it needs a good controlling system to ensure that the objectives are met and completed. An organisation should have certain standards in controlling the quality, time, budget, output etc of a product. For all these factors to run successfully there should be a good top position person to act as a manager.

He should have the ability to convey his needs to the people working with him. It’s said that “The manager or any person who has responsibility to his juniors is accountable for their performance” (Calvert, Bailey & Coles, 1995, P: 42). There comes the importance of bureaucracy or the hierarchical system, where the people in the higher position have the power to order or insist on the out put. In the care of a construction industry it is the duty of the project manager to control the whole site and see that the work is done on time.

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