Controlling and Managing Organizations

  • Elizabeth Chell


Anyone who is managing others must in some sense feel that the situation is under control; it is how this state of affairs is achieved which is at the crux of managerial success. To control is to ‘dominate, command; hold in check…’ (Fowler and Fowler, 1964). It is to have influence over others in such a way as to be able to hold their behaviour and actions in check (Tannenbaum, 1962). A person may dominate by means of coercion (for example, holding a pistol to someone’s head). This method of control is frequently used by terrorists and criminals, and increasingly by the police. Physical punishment as a means of controlling offending school children has, until recently, been used with restraint in schools. But coercion, i.e. the use of force, is not a common method for managing people in industry. The use of authority is a more normal practice. Authority arises from the hierarchical command structure. It gives seniority to some and subordinates others. It establishes a ‘pecking order’, clarifies a person’s work identity through their position within the hierarchy. It also legitimates their position. The armed forces rely upon this method of control, as does industry to a large extent, but the need to establish and maintain authority and discipline is by no means the whole story. Other aspects of control have to do with concepts like consent and involvement. In other words, there has to be a will to do what is required of one or the work will not get done.


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Copyright information

© Elizabeth Chell 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Chell
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Business ManagementUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneUK

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