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Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. Management comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization (a group of one or more people or entities) or effort for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. Resourcing encompasses the deployment and manipulation of human resources, financial resources, technological resources and natural resources.
Since organizations can be viewed as systems, management can also be defined as human action, including design, to facilitate the production of useful outcomes from a system. This view opens the opportunity to 'manage' oneself, a pre-requisite to attempting to manage others.
The verb manage comes from the Italian maneggiare (to handle — especially tools), which in turn derives from the Latin manus (hand). The French word mesnagement (later ménagement) influenced the development in meaning of the English word management in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Some definitions of management are:
 Theoretical scope
At first, one views management functionally, such as measuring quantity, adjusting plans, meeting goals. This applies even in situations planning does not take place. From this perspective, Henri Fayol (1841–1925) considers management to consist of six functions: forecasting, planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. He was one of the most influential contributors to modern concepts of management.
Some people, however, find this definition useful but far too narrow. The phrase "management is what managers do" occurs widely, suggesting the difficulty of defining management, the shifting nature of definitions and the connection of managerial practices with the existence of a managerial cadre or class.
One habit of thought regards management as equivalent to "business administration" and thus excludes management in places outside commerce, as for example in charities and in the public sector. More realistically, however, every organization must manage its work, people, processes, technology, etc. to maximize effectiveness. Nonetheless, many people refer to university departments which teach management as "business schools." Some institutions (such as the Harvard Business School) use that name while others (such as the Yale School of Management) employ the more inclusive term "management."
English speakers may also use the term "management" or "the management" as a collective word describing the managers of an organization, for example of a corporation. Historically this use of the term was often contrasted with the term "Labor" referring to those being managed.
 Nature of managerial work
In for-profit work, management has as its primary function the satisfaction of a range of stakeholders. This typically involves making a profit (for the shareholders), creating valued products at a reasonable cost (for customers) and providing rewarding employment opportunities (for employees). In nonprofit management, add the importance of keeping the faith of donors. In most models of management/governance, shareholders vote for the board of directors, and the board then hires senior management. Some organizations have experimented with other methods (such as employee-voting models) of selecting or reviewing managers; but this occurs only very rarely.
In the public sector of countries constituted as representative democracies, voters elect politicians to public office. Such politicians hire many managers and administrators, and in some countries like the United States political appointees lose their jobs on the election of a new president/governor/mayor.
 Historical development
Difficulties arise in tracing the history of management. Some see it (by definition) as a late modern (in the sense of late modernity) conceptualization. On those terms it cannot have a pre-modern history, only harbingers (such as stewards). Others, however, detect management-like-thought back to Sumerian traders and to the builders of the pyramids of ancient Egypt. Slave-owners through the centuries faced the problems of exploiting/motivating a dependent but sometimes unenthusiastic or recalcitrant workforce, but many pre-industrial enterprises, given their small scale, did not feel compelled to face the issues of management systematically. However, innovations such as the spread of Arabic numerals (5th to 15th centuries) and the codification of double-entry book-keeping (1494) provided tools for management assessment, planning and control.
Given the scale of most commercial operations and the lack of mechanized record-keeping and recording before the industrial revolution, it made sense for most owners of enterprises in those times to carry out management functions by and for themselves. But with growing size and complexity of organizations, the split between owners (individuals, industrial dynasties or groups of shareholders) and day-to-day managers (independent specialists in planning and control) gradually became more common.
 Early writing
While management has been present for millennia, several writers have created a background of works that assisted in modern management theories.
 Sun Tzu's The Art of War
Written by Chinese general Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC, The Art of War is a military strategy book that, for managerial purposes, recommends being aware of and acting on strengths and weaknesses of both a manager's organization and a foe's.
 Chanakya's Arthashastra
Chanakya wrote the Arthashastra around 300BC in which various strategies, techniques and management theories were written which gives an account on the management of empires, economy and family. The work is often compared to the later works of Machiavelli.
 Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince
Believing that people were motivated by self-interest, Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince in 1513 as advice for the city of Florence, Italy. Machiavelli recommended that leaders use fear—but not hatred—to maintain control.
 Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations
Written in 1776 by Adam Smith, a Scottish moral philosopher, The Wealth of Nations aims for efficient organization of work through Specialization of labor. Smith described how changes in processes could boost productivity in the manufacture of pins. While individuals could produce 200 pins per day, Smith analyzed the steps involved in manufacture and, with 10 specialists, enabled production of 48,000 pins per day.
 19th century
Classical economists such as Adam Smith (1723–1790) and John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) provided a theoretical background to resource-allocation, production, and pricing issues. About the same time, innovators like Eli Whitney (1765–1825), James Watt (1736–1819), and Matthew Boulton (1728–1809) developed elements of technical production such as standardization, quality-control procedures, cost-accounting, interchangeability of parts, and work-planning. Many of these aspects of management existed in the pre-1861 slave-based sector of the US economy. That environment saw 4 million people, as the contemporary usages had it, "managed" in profitable quasi-mass production.
 20th century
By about 1900 one finds managers trying to place their theories on what they regarded as a thoroughly scientific basis (see scientism for perceived limitations of this belief). Examples include Henry R. Towne's Science of management in the 1890s, Frederick Winslow Taylor's The Principles of Scientific Management (1911), Frank and Lillian Gilbreth's Applied motion study (1917), and Henry L. Gantt's charts (1910s). J. Duncan wrote the first college management textbook in 1911. In 1912 Yoichi Ueno introduced Taylorism to Japan and became first management consultant of the "Japanese-management style". His son Ichiro Ueno pioneered Japanese quality assurance.
The first comprehensive theories of management appeared around 1920. The Harvard Business School offered the first Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) in 1921. People like Henri Fayol (1841–1925) and Alexander Church described the various branches of management and their inter-relationships. In the early 20th century, people like Ordway Tead (1891–1973), Walter Scott and J. Mooney applied the principles of psychology to management, while other writers, such as Elton Mayo (1880–1949), Mary Parker Follett (1868–1933), Chester Barnard (1886–1961), Max Weber (1864–1920), Rensis Likert (1903–1981), and Chris Argyris (1923 - ) approached the phenomenon of management from a sociological perspective.
Peter Drucker (1909–2005) wrote one of the earliest books on applied management: Concept of the Corporation (published in 1946). It resulted from Alfred Sloan (chairman of General Motors until 1956) commissioning a study of the organisation. Drucker went on to write 39 books, many in the same vein.
H. Dodge, Ronald Fisher (1890–1962), and Thornton C. Fry introduced statistical techniques into management-studies. In the 1940s, Patrick Blackett combined these statistical theories with microeconomic theory and gave birth to the science of operations research. Operations research, sometimes known as "management science" (but distinct from Taylor's scientific management), attempts to take a scientific approach to solving management problems, particularly in the areas of logistics and operations.
Some of the more recent developments include the Theory of Constraints, management by objectives, reengineering, Six Sigma and various information-technology-driven theories such as agile software development, as well as group management theories such as Cog's Ladder.
As the general recognition of managers as a class solidified during the 20th century and gave perceived practitioners of the art/science of management a certain amount of prestige, so the way opened for popularised systems of management ideas to peddle their wares. In this context many management fads may have had more to do with pop psychology than with scientific theories of management.
Towards the end of the 20th century, business management came to consist of six separate branches, namely:
 21st century
In the 21st century observers find it increasingly difficult to subdivide management into functional categories in this way. More and more processes simultaneously involve several categories. Instead, one tends to think in terms of the various processes, tasks, and objects subject to management.
Branches of management theory also exist relating to nonprofits and to government: such as public administration, public management, and educational management. Further, management programs related to civil-society organizations have also spawned programs in nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship.
As one consequence, workplace democracy has become both more common, and more advocated, in some places distributing all management functions among the workers, each of whom takes on a portion of the work. However, these models predate any current political issue, and may occur more naturally than does a command hierarchy. All management to some degree embraces democratic principles in that in the long term workers must give majority support to management; otherwise they leave to find other work, or go on strike. Despite the move toward workplace democracy, command-and-control organization structures remain commonplace and the de facto organization structure. Indeed, the entrenched nature of command-and-control can be seen in the way that recent layoffs have been conducted with management ranks affected far less than employees at the lower levels. In some cases, management has even rewarded itself with bonuses after laying off level workers.
 Basic functions
Management operates through various functions, often classified as planning, organizing, staffing, leading/directing, controlling/monitoring and motivation.
 Basic roles
 Management skills
 Formation of the business policy
 Implementation of policies and strategies
All policies must be discussed with all managerial personnel and staff that is required in the execution of any departmental policy.
 Policies and strategies in the planning process
 Levels of management
Most organizations have three management levels: first-level, middle-level, and top-level managers. These managers are classified in a hierarchy of authority, and perform different tasks. In many organizations, the number of managers in every level resembles a pyramid. Each level is explained below in specifications of their different responsibilities and likely job titles.
 Top-level managers
Consists of board of directors, president, vice-president, CEOs, etc. They are responsible for controlling and overseeing the entire organization. They develop goals, strategic plans, company policies, and make decisions on the direction of the business. In addition, top-level managers play a significant role in the mobilization of outside resources and are accountable to the shareholders and general public.
According to Lawrence S. Kleiman, the following skills are needed at the top managerial level. 
 Middle-level managers
Consist of general managers, branch managers and department managers. They are accountable to the top management for their department's function. They devote more time to organizational and directional functions. Their roles can be emphasized as executing organizational plans in conformance with the company's policies and the objectives of the top management, they define and discuss information and policies from top management to lower management, and most importantly they inspire and provide guidance to lower level managers towards better performance. Some of their functions are as follows:
 First-level managers
Consist of supervisors, section leads, foremen, etc. They focus on controlling and directing. They usually have the responsibility of assigning employees tasks, guiding and supervising employees on day-to-day activities, ensuring quality and quantity production, making recommendations, suggestions, and upchanneling employee problems, etc. First-level managers are role models for employees that provide:
 See also
Main article: Outline of business management
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