Business & Marketing

Controlling Process

The “Controlling Process” is a method that can be used to make sure standards are being met within an organization. It involves the careful collection of information about a system, process, person, or group of people in order to make necessary decisions about each.  The process typically has between 4 and 5 steps see an example below.

Definition: “Controlling” assures that the right things are done in the right manner at the right time. By controlling, a Program Manager checks the progress and compares it to what was planned. If the planned events are not the same, then corrective actions can be taken.

Controlling Process Steps

A five (5) step controlling process example is detailed below.

Controlling Process
Figure 1: The Control Process [1]
  • Step 1: Establish Clear Standards: Standards are the plans or the targets which have to be achieved in the course of business function. They can also be called the criteria for judging performance. Standards generally are classified into two:
    • Measurable or tangible: Those standards which can be measured and expressed are called measurable standards. They can be in form of cost, output, expenditure, time, profit, etc.
    • Non-measurable or intangible: There are standards that cannot be measured monetarily. For example- performance of a manager, deviation of workers, their attitudes towards a concern. These are called intangible standards.
    • Controlling becomes easy through the establishment of these standards because controlling is exercised on the basis of these standards.
  • Step 2: Monitor and Record Performance: The second major step in controlling is to measure the performance. Finding out deviations becomes easy through measuring the actual performance. Performance levels are sometimes easy to measure and sometimes difficult. Measurement of tangible standards is easy as it can be expressed in units, cost, money terms, etc. Quantitative measurement becomes difficult when the performance of a manager has to be measured. The performance of a manager cannot be measured in quantities. It can be measured only by:
    • The attitude of the workers,
    • Their morale to work,
    • The development in the attitudes regarding the physical environment, and
    • Their communication with the superiors.
  • Step 3: Comparison Results Against Standards: Comparison of actual performance with the planned targets are very important. The deviation can be defined as the gap between actual performance and the planned targets. The manager has to find out two things here- the extent of deviation and cause of deviation. The extent of deviation means that the manager has to find out whether the deviation is positive or negative or whether the actual performance is in conformity with the planned performance. Once the deviation is identified, a manager has to think about various causes which have led to a deviation. The causes can be:
    • Erroneous planning,
    • Co-ordination loosens,
    • Implementation of plans is defective, and
    • Supervision and communication are ineffective, etc.
  • Step 4: Communicate Results: Once the results have been determined, all stakeholder needs to be notified and keep up to date.
  • Step 5: If needed, Take Corrective Action: Once the causes and extent of deviations are known, the manager has to detect those errors and take remedial measures for them. There are two alternatives here:
    • Taking corrective measures for deviations that have occurred; and
    • After taking the corrective measures, if the actual performance is not in conformity with plans, the manager can revise the targets. It is here the controlling process comes to an end. Follow-up is an important step because it is only through taking corrective measures, a manager can exercise control.

AcqLinks and References:

  • [1] Nickels and McHugh, “Understanding Business” McGraw-Hill Irwin 2010

Updated: 6/25/2021

Rank: G1

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