USING INFORMATION

Use of Information

Planning

Planning is the process of deciding, in advance, what has to be done and how it is to be done. Planning should be based on good information.  Planning is not an end in itself; its primary purpose is to provide the necessary structure for decision-making and resulting actions, throughout the organisation.

The process of planning provides an opportunity to construct a sequence of actions that, when executed, will achieve the required aims and objectives.

Basically, planning means decisions by management about:

  • what is to be done in the future
  • how to do it
  • when to do it
  • who is to do it.

An objective is something that needs to be achieved and a plan contains the activities or actions required to achieve the objective.

Control

Control can be defined as the monitoring and evaluation of current progress against the steps of a pre-defined plan or standard. If these tasks are not proceeding in line with expectations then action is taken to bring the project back in line with what had been planned.

Control is carried out at strategic, tactical and operational levels. The type of control changes according to the level of management as does the amount of time spent on control.

At an operational level the majority of the time of the manager or supervisor will be spent on control activities where the work of staff is compared to very specific financial or quantifiable terms (e.g. how many boxes have been packed).

At higher levels, planning and control are more closely linked, with management being concerned with the monitoring of progress against the plan, assessing the suitability of the plan itself and predicting future conditions.

Organisations and individuals must plan in order to operate effectively. Likewise they must also operate controls to ensure that progress is being made against the plan. These controls are needed because unexpected events can cause actual results to change from the expected planned results.

Control activities attempt to keep the organisation in line with the original plan or to enable the organisation to change to meet the new conditions. Unexpected events range from short delays in the completion of an element of a plan – which may be relatively minor – to major disturbances such as a large new competitor entering the marketplace.

Control measures actual progress against what is expected and provides information upon which remedial action can be taken, if required, either to change performance in order to conform to the original plan or to modify the plan.

Decision-making

Decision-making is the process of selecting an action or actions from those possible based on the information available. Decision making involves determining and examining the available actions and then selecting the most appropriate actions in order to achieve the required results.

Decision-making is an essential part of management and is carried out at all levels of management for all tasks. All decisions are arrived at in the same way. The manager must choose, by some means, the result or results that s/he wishes to achieve and do some form of appraisal of the situation.

Decision-making is made up of four phases:

  • finding occasions for decision making
  • find possible courses of action (i.e. what choices are available)
  • choosing among these courses of action
  • evaluating past choices.


 

 



 

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