Management is putting the rational thought process into action.
This fits nicely with the definition of the “Rational Thought Process” identified by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale many years ago. His definition of the rational thought process was: knowing where you are, knowing where you want to go, and knowing how to get there.
A more detailed definition for management is:
Management is discovering where you currently are, deciding where you want to go, planning how to get where you want to be, and adjusting your current awareness, intended destination, and pace and path of getting to your intended destination as you proceed.
I offer a more somewhat more authoritative definition of management as a paraphrasing from the 1963 Encyclopedia of Management, (Reinhold Publishing, New York, Carl Heyel, Editor):
Management “….is the resolution of complexity and diversity in science and society into a system of controlled order”.
At 16 years of age, I discovered the above clause about management, but no formal definition of it, in the Reinhold Encyclopedia, while researching what I wanted to study in college. I used my research to create, in 1967, what I called my “wheel of knowledge” in preparing for that college-major decision. I later called it a “spiral of knowledge” to reflect its properties of continuous refinement. See my models related to this at http://www.one-world-is.com/rer/owis/gem-core/GEM_Core-Collection.htm, slides 29-32.
To further elaborate on my above definition:
- The “complexity” term relates to the many parts that affect, and are effected by, a given bounded, “situation needing to be managed” (hereafter, “situation”).
- The “diversity” term relates to the many different varieties of parts that affect, or are affected by a given bounded situation.
- The “bounded situation”, in terms of management, is called an “endeavor” – a purpose-driven effort.
- The “resolution” term relates to the need to reduce the complex and diverse things and relationships of a situation into simpler forms, typically by identifying, describing, categorizing, and organizing those things. This includes the steps of:
- (1) identification of the specific things in an endeavor;
- (2) characterization of the specific things;
- (3) categorization of the specific things into “types of things” by abstracting common-characteristic attributes;
- (4) modeling of the types of things, their relationships, and the type and relation attributes;
- (5) simulating the endeavor;
- (6) operating the endeavor;
- (7) gathering intelligence about the endeavor and its external environment; and
- (8) refining the endeavor by repeating this cycle.
- The “system of controlled order” term relates to the always-future intended state that is continuously sought by resolving the always-current “As-Is” complexity and diversity of an endeavor.
- The “order” term relates to the endeavor’s model, its representation in a structured form.
- The “controlled” term relates to the endeavor’s continuous refinement in the current and future life cycles.
- The “system” term relates to the continuous bounded efforts within the management process.
So the extended definition for management that I use is:
Management is the continuous resolution of the dynamic complexity, diversity, and chaos in and around the science, society, and perceptions of an endeavor into an evolving system of adaptive controlled order.
See slides 42-66 at the above URL for slides related to my “management” view.