Control is one of the managerial functions like planning, organizing, staffing and directing. It is an important function because it helps to check the errors and to take the corrective action so that deviation from standards are minimized and stated goals of the organization are achieved in desired manner.
According to modern concepts, control is a foreseeing action whereas earlier concept of control was used only when errors were detected. Control in management means setting standards, measuring actual performance and taking corrective action. Thus, control comprises these three main activities.
According to Henri Fayol,
Control of an undertaking consists of seeing that everything is being carried out in accordance with the plan which has been adopted, the orders which have been given, and the principles which have been laid down. Its object is to point out mistakes in order that they may be rectified and prevented from recurring.
According to EFL Breach,
Control is checking current performance against pre-determined standards contained in the plans, with a view to ensure adequate progress and satisfactory performance.
According to Harold Koontz,
Controlling is the measurement and correction of performance in order to make sure that enterprise objectives and the plans devised to attain them are accomplished.
According to Stafford Beer,
Management is the profession of control.
In 1916, Henri Fayol formulated one of the first definitions of control as it pertains to management:
Control consists of verifying whether everything occurs in conformity with the plan adopted, the instructions issued, and principles established. It ['s] object [is] to point out weaknesses and errors in order to rectify [them] and prevent recurrence.
Robert J. Mockler presented a more comprehensive definition of managerial control:
Management control can be defined as a systematic effort by business management to compare performance to predetermined standards, plans, or objectives in order to determine whether performance is in line with these standards and presumably in order to take any remedial action required to see that human and other corporate resources are being used in the most effective and efficient way possible in achieving corporate objectives.
Also control can be defined as "that function of the system that adjusts operations as needed to achieve the plan, or to maintain variations from system objectives within allowable limits". The control subsystem functions in close harmony with the operating system. The degree to which they interact depends on the nature of the operating system and its objectives. Stability concerns a system's ability to maintain a pattern of output without wide fluctuations. Rapidity of response pertains to the speed with which a system can correct variations and return to expected output.
A political election can illustrate the concept of control and the importance of feedback. Each party organizes a campaign to get its candidate selected and outlines a plan to inform the public about both the candidate's credentials and the party's platform. As the election nears, opinion polls furnish feedback about the effectiveness of the campaign and about each candidate's chances to win. Depending on the nature of this feedback, certain adjustments in strategy and/or tactics can be made in an attempt to achieve the desired result.
From these definitions it can be stated that there is close link between planning and controlling. Planning is a process by which an organisation's objectives and the methods to achieve the objectives are established, and controlling is a process which measures and directs the actual performance against the planned objectives of the organisation. Thus, planning and control are often referred to as siamese twins of management. controlling is the managerial function of management and correction of performance in order to make sure that enterpriseobjectives and the plans devised to attain them being accomplished.