Analyzing Managerial Control: Who do Managers Control?

When we talk about managerial control, we are referring to the process by which managers ensure that employees’ actions align with the organization’s goals. This crucial aspect of management is all about keeping the company on track and moving towards its defined objectives. It is a dynamic process that involves setting standards, measuring actual performance, and taking corrective action when necessary. Without effective managerial control, organizations risk deviating from their strategic path, leading to inefficiency or even failure.

Managerial control is not just about enforcing rules and procedures; it’s also about fostering a productive work environment that encourages individuals and teams to perform at their best. This balance between guidance and empowerment is what makes managerial control such a complex yet fascinating area of study.

So, who do managers typically control in an organizational context? The answer is quite broad: they exercise control over employees, teams, departments, and sometimes even other managers. While the degree of control may vary depending on the manager’s position within the company hierarchy, the underlying objective remains the same – ensuring that everyone is working together to achieve the organization’s goals.

Whether it’s setting performance goals for individual employees, coordinating team efforts, or making strategic decisions for an entire department, managerial control plays a pivotal role. However, this doesn’t mean that managers are omnipotent figures who dictate every action within the organization. On the contrary, successful managers understand the value of autonomy and trust, and they know how to strike the right balance between control and freedom.

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the intricacies of managerial control, exploring the responsibilities of managers, the dynamics of control over different groups, and the impact of managerial control on the organization as a whole. So, let’s get started on this insightful journey into the world of managerial control!

💡 Features of a Good Control System:

 Suitable: A good control system should be suitable for the needs and nature of the organisation.

 Simple: A good controlling system should be easy to operate and understand.

 Economical: The cost of setting, implementing, and maintaining a control system should not be more than the benefits gained from it.

 Flexible: A good control system should have the ability to adjust according to the changing business environment and internal conditions. 

Forward Looking: A good control system should move in a forward direction so that the managers can easily determine the deviations before they actually happen in the organisation.

 Objective: The standards of the organisation, its measurement of performance, and corrective actions should be impersonal and objective. 

 Management by exception: A good control system should focus its attention on the significant deviations which are crucial for the organisation, instead of looking for the deviation which does not have much impact on the business.

Understanding the Role of a Manager

In any organization, managers play a critical role that extends beyond simple supervision. Their responsibilities are manifold and vital for the smooth functioning and success of the organization. Let’s delve into these responsibilities to better understand the role of a manager.

Responsibilities of Managers

At the heart of a manager’s role are four primary responsibilities: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Planning involves setting goals and determining the best way to achieve them. It requires foresight, strategic thinking, and an understanding of the larger business context. Organizing, on the other hand, involves arranging resources and tasks to meet those goals. This could include assigning work, delegating authority, and allocating resources efficiently.

Leading is perhaps the most visible aspect of a manager’s role. It involves directing and influencing team members towards achieving organizational objectives. This requires excellent communication skills, empathy, and the ability to inspire and motivate. Finally, controlling involves monitoring performance, comparing it with goals, and correcting any deviations. This responsibility ensures that the organization is moving in the right direction and keeps everything on track.

Utilizing Authority and Leadership Skills

A manager’s authority is a powerful tool, but it must be used wisely. Effective managers use their authority to encourage growth, foster teamwork, and build a positive work environment. They set clear expectations, provide constructive feedback, and recognize the achievements of their team. However, authority should not be confused with autocracy. The best managers strike a balance between maintaining control and allowing their employees the freedom to innovate and make decisions.

Leadership skills are equally important for a manager. While authority is conferred by the organization, leadership is earned from the team. Managers need to inspire trust, build rapport, and create an environment where everyone feels valued and motivated. They need to be able to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and guide their team towards achieving their goals. Ultimately, a manager’s success is determined not just by their own performance, but by the success of their team.

Understanding the role of a manager is key to analyzing managerial control. Managers have significant influence over various aspects of an organization, and how they wield this influence can have far-reaching impacts. In the following sections, we will explore who falls under a manager’s control and how this control is exercised.

Who are Under the Manager’s Control?

In any organization, a manager’s influence extends to a wide range of individuals and groups. These include employees, teams, departments, and sometimes even other managers. Let’s examine each category in more detail.


Employees are at the core of who managers control. Managers direct employees’ work, set their performance goals, and evaluate their progress. They’re also responsible for providing feedback, both positive and constructive, to help employees improve and reach their full potential.


Managers often have authority over teams, working groups brought together to accomplish specific tasks or projects. The manager’s role here is to orchestrate the team’s efforts, ensuring that everyone is working harmoniously towards the shared goal. This includes facilitating communication, resolving conflicts, and promoting a collaborative spirit within the team.


In larger organizations, a manager might oversee an entire department. This means they’re not only responsible for individual employees but also for managing resources, setting departmental goals, and ensuring the overall performance of the department aligns with the company’s strategic objectives.

Other Managers

Interestingly, managers can also have control over other managers, especially in hierarchical organizations. A senior manager may delegate responsibilities to lower-level managers, set their targets, and hold them accountable for their departments’ results. In some cases, managers at the same level may exert influence over each other through peer control mechanisms, fostering mutual accountability and collaboration.

The level of control a manager has can vary significantly depending on their position within the company hierarchy. For example, a first-line manager directly supervising employees will likely have more hands-on control than a top-level executive who sets broad strategic goals. It’s a delicate balance, requiring managers to exercise both their authority and their leadership skills effectively.

The Dynamics of Managerial Control over Employees

When it comes to managing employees, the process involves much more than just issuing orders. It’s a delicate balance between setting performance standards, monitoring progress, and providing feedback. As managers, it’s crucial to establish clear expectations for your team members. This can be achieved by setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. By defining what success looks like, you provide a roadmap that can guide employees’ efforts towards achieving organizational objectives.

Monitoring an employee’s progress is another key aspect of managerial control. This involves keeping track of individual performance metrics, scrutinizing work quality, and ensuring employees are meeting their deadlines. However, this doesn’t mean hovering over employees’ shoulders every minute of the day. A good manager knows how to observe from a distance, stepping in only when necessary. This way, employees feel trusted and valued, rather than feeling like they are under constant scrutiny.

Feedback plays an integral role in managerial control over employees. Constructive criticism or praise based on an employee’s performance can significantly influence their future work habits. When given properly, feedback can motivate employees, improve their performance, and promote professional growth. Remember, effective feedback is specific, timely, and focuses on behaviors and actions, not personalities.

The Balance Between Direct Control and Employee Autonomy

While maintaining control is crucial, it’s equally important for managers to empower their employees with a certain degree of autonomy. This delicate balance can be one of the most challenging aspects of management. On one hand, managers need to ensure that work gets done correctly and on time. On the other hand, they must foster an environment where employees feel empowered to make decisions and take ownership of their work.

Empowering employees can lead to increased job satisfaction, improved morale, and higher productivity levels. It encourages creativity and innovation, as employees who feel respected and valued are more likely to contribute their best ideas. Striking the right balance between control and autonomy may require trial and error, but the result will be a more engaged and productive team.

In essence, effective managerial control over employees involves a blend of setting clear expectations, monitoring progress, offering constructive feedback, and striking the right balance between direct control and employee autonomy. By mastering these dynamics, managers can create a productive work environment that promotes both individual and organizational success.

Managerial Control over Departments and Teams

When we think about managerial control, it’s not just about controlling individuals. Managers also exert their authority over entire departments or teams. This oversight involves several critical aspects such as setting goals, allocating resources, and coordinating efforts.

Setting Goals and Allocating Resources

A significant part of a manager’s role is to establish clear, achievable goals for their teams. These aims provide direction and offer a roadmap for what needs to be achieved. They serve as the guiding light that everyone in the team can follow. After goals are in place, the manager then allocates the necessary resources to help the team meet these targets. These resources can range from human resources (like assigning specific tasks to certain team members) to financial resources (such as budgets for projects).

Coordinating Efforts

Once goals are set and resources allotted, managers must ensure that everyone’s efforts are coordinated towards achieving the set objectives. Coordination involves organizing activities, ensuring smooth communication, and resolving any conflicts that may arise. It’s like conducting an orchestra where every instrument plays its part at the right time to create a harmonious symphony.

Managing Diverse Teams

In today’s globalized world, managing diverse teams has become an increasingly common scenario. Such teams consist of individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and perspectives. This diversity can bring significant benefits to a team, including enhanced creativity and improved problem-solving. However, it also presents unique challenges that require effective strategies to manage.

Managers need to foster an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and their contributions are recognized. They need to be aware of cultural differences and promote mutual respect among team members. It’s crucial to facilitate open and transparent communication to avoid misunderstandings. Diversity training can also be beneficial to help team members understand and respect their differences.

In essence, managing departments and teams is a complex task that requires a delicate balance of setting clear objectives, judiciously allocating resources, ensuring seamless coordination, and appropriately managing diversity. The ability to effectively manage these elements can significantly impact a team’s productivity and overall job satisfaction.

The Influence of Managers over Other Managers

In the world of management, a fascinating dynamic comes into play when managers are interacting with other managers. This interaction can take many forms, but two stand out in particular – ‘managing up’ and peer control. These concepts add layers of complexity to our understanding of managerial control, providing insight into the subtleties of organizational power structures.

‘Managing Up’: How Managers Can Influence Their Superiors

The concept of ‘managing up’ refers to the unique situation where subordinate managers exert influence over their superiors. It’s an intriguing notion that flips traditional hierarchical relationships on their head. Rather than the usual top-down approach, managing up looks from the bottom up.

Managers may employ various tactics to ‘manage up’. They might strategically communicate their successes or challenges, provide constructive feedback to their superiors, or build strong rapport to increase their influence. By doing so, they can subtly shape decisions, strategic directions, or even the leadership style of those above them. However, it requires delicate maneuvering as it can be a sensitive area, given the potential for perceived insubordination or power plays.

Peer Control: Managerial Dynamics at the Same Level

On the other hand, peer control refers to the interaction, competition, and cooperation among managers at the same level in an organization. As peers, these managers do not have formal authority over each other. Yet, they often need to work together to achieve common goals, requiring a certain degree of influence and negotiation.

This dynamic can be complex, as it involves a balance between individual achievement and collective success. Managers may use persuasion, negotiation, or collaboration to influence their peers. Success in this domain often hinges on building strong relationships, demonstrating competence, and establishing mutual respect.

Understanding these unique dynamics of managerial control is crucial for navigating the intricate web of relationships within an organization. It shows us that managerial control extends beyond vertical lines of command and can manifest in less obvious, but equally important, horizontal interactions.

The Impact of Managerial Control

Managerial control has a significant impact on various aspects of an organization. It influences the morale of employees, their productivity, and the overall success of the organization. Let’s delve into how this works.

The Effects of Managerial Control on Employee Morale and Productivity

When managers effectively exercise control, it creates a structured and predictable work environment. This can increase employee satisfaction and morale. When employees know what is expected of them, they are more likely to meet or exceed these expectations, increasing their productivity. A study by Gallup discovered that managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores. This shows the crucial role managerial control plays in influencing employee morale and productivity.

Managerial Control and Organizational Success

Managerial control is also integral to an organization’s success. Managers who set clear goals, provide necessary resources, and offer constructive feedback help foster a culture of achievement. This not only helps in meeting business objectives but also contributes to overall organizational growth. According to a report by McKinsey, effective management practices, including control mechanisms, can improve a company’s productivity by up to 25% and profitability by 7%.

Potential Pitfalls of Excessive Control and Micromanagement

While managerial control is essential, excessive control or micromanagement can have adverse effects. Overbearing control can stifle creativity, inhibit innovation, and lead to employee burnout. Micromanagement sends a message that employees are not trusted, which can negatively impact morale and productivity. It’s a delicate balance. As Robert I. Sutton, Professor of Management Science at Stanford University, says, “The best bosses dance on the edge of over-managing, without crossing over into micromanagement.”

In essence, managerial control has both positive impacts when used effectively and potential pitfalls when overused. It’s a powerful tool in shaping the culture and success of an organization, but like all tools, it must be used with care and discernment.

Conclusion and Call to Action

In this blog post, we have delved deep into the concept of managerial control, exploring its significance, and understanding who falls under a manager’s authority. We started by defining managerial control and recognizing its importance in steering an organization towards its goals. It became clear that managers wield a considerable amount of influence within a company, controlling not just employees but also departments, teams, and even other managers.

We then explored the key responsibilities of managers, which include planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Utilizing their authority and leadership skills, they can effectively guide their subordinates and peers towards achieving organizational objectives. We learned that the level of control a manager exercises can largely depend on their position in the company hierarchy.

In our discussion about employees, we found that managers control their performance by setting standards, monitoring progress, and providing feedback. We also discussed the delicate balance between exercising direct control and empowering employees with autonomy.