What are the Basic Principles of Controlling?: A Beginner’s Guide

Controlling is a fundamental aspect of management that plays a crucial role in achieving organizational goals and ensuring success. It involves monitoring and evaluating performance, comparing it to established standards, and taking corrective actions when necessary.

The basic principles of controlling provide a framework for effective management and enable businesses to maintain efficiency and effectiveness. By implementing these principles, managers can not only identify deviations from plans but also take proactive measures to address them. From setting clear objectives and standards to establishing appropriate control systems and providing feedback, controlling encompasses a range of strategies and techniques. In this article, we will explore the essential principles of controlling and how they can be applied in various organizational settings.

Whether you are a seasoned manager or aspiring to be one, understanding these principles will empower you to make informed decisions and steer your team towards success. So, let’s dive in and uncover the key principles that drive effective controlling.

💡 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. 


Importance of controlling in business

Controlling is an integral part of the management process and plays a vital role in the success of any business. It ensures that organizational objectives are being met and helps in identifying and rectifying any deviations from the planned course of action. By implementing effective control measures, businesses can maintain efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Controlling not only helps in monitoring performance but also provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of various strategies and policies. It enables managers to make data-driven decisions and take corrective actions when necessary. Without proper control, businesses may face challenges such as wastage of resources, poor quality products or services, and missed opportunities. Therefore, controlling is essential for businesses to achieve their goals, maintain a competitive edge, and drive sustainable growth.

Establishing performance standards

One of the basic principles of controlling is setting clear objectives and targets. Performance standards act as benchmarks against which actual performance is measured. These standards can be derived from various sources such as industry best practices, historical data, or internal benchmarks. Setting clear and specific objectives helps in aligning the efforts of employees towards a common goal. It provides a clear direction and enables individuals to understand what is expected of them. Performance standards should be realistic, measurable, and achievable. They should be communicated effectively to all stakeholders to ensure clarity and avoid any ambiguity. By establishing performance standards, businesses can create a yardstick against which actual performance can be evaluated, and deviations can be identified.

Monitoring and measuring performance

Once performance standards are set, the next step in controlling is to monitor and measure performance against these standards. Monitoring involves systematically collecting data and information related to various aspects of performance. This can be done through regular reporting, observation, or the use of technology-enabled systems. Measuring performance involves comparing actual performance with established standards to identify any gaps or deviations. This can be done through quantitative measures such as key performance indicators (KPIs), financial ratios, or qualitative measures such as customer feedback or employee surveys. Monitoring and measuring performance provide managers with valuable insights into the effectiveness of various strategies and initiatives. It helps in identifying areas of improvement and taking timely corrective actions.

Taking corrective actions

Identifying deviations from established standards is only the first step in the controlling process. The next crucial step is to take corrective actions to address these deviations. Corrective actions can range from making minor adjustments to the existing processes to implementing significant changes in strategies or policies. The key is to take proactive measures to bring performance back on track and prevent further deviations. Corrective actions can include providing additional training or resources to employees, reassigning tasks or responsibilities, revising targets or objectives, or even reevaluating the entire strategy. The effectiveness of corrective actions depends on the accuracy and timeliness of the information gathered during the monitoring and measuring phase. By taking prompt and appropriate corrective actions, businesses can minimize the impact of deviations and ensure that performance is aligned with established standards.

Reviewing and evaluating results

The controlling process does not end with taking corrective actions. It is essential to review and evaluate the results of these actions to determine their effectiveness and make further improvements if necessary. This involves analyzing the impact of corrective actions on performance and comparing the results with the desired outcomes. The review and evaluation phase helps in identifying any unintended consequences or unforeseen challenges that may have arisen as a result of the corrective actions. It provides an opportunity to learn from past experiences and make informed decisions for the future. By regularly reviewing and evaluating the results, businesses can continuously improve their controlling processes and ensure that performance remains aligned with organizational goals.

Effective communication in the controlling process

Effective communication is a critical aspect of the controlling process. It ensures that performance standards, expectations, and corrective actions are clearly communicated to all stakeholders. Clear and transparent communication helps in fostering understanding, collaboration, and accountability. Managers should communicate performance standards and expectations to employees in a way that is easily understandable and actionable. Feedback should be provided on a regular basis to keep employees informed about their performance and areas for improvement. Communication channels should be open and accessible to all stakeholders, allowing for the exchange of information and ideas. By promoting effective communication, businesses can enhance the effectiveness of their controlling processes and create a culture of transparency and accountability.

Challenges and pitfalls of controlling

While controlling is an essential aspect of management, it is not without its challenges and pitfalls. One of the challenges is the availability and accuracy of data for monitoring and measuring performance. Businesses need to invest in appropriate systems and processes to collect and analyze relevant data. Another challenge is the resistance to change, as employees may be hesitant to accept corrective actions or modifications to existing processes. Effective change management strategies and communication can help overcome this challenge. Pitfalls in controlling can occur when managers rely solely on quantitative measures and neglect qualitative aspects of performance. It is important to strike a balance between objective data and subjective feedback to gain a comprehensive understanding of performance. Finally, controlling should not be seen as a one-time activity but as an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, evaluation, and improvement.


Controlling is a vital aspect of management that enables businesses to achieve their goals and maintain efficiency and effectiveness. The basic principles of controlling provide a framework for effective management and help in identifying deviations from plans. By setting clear objectives and standards, monitoring and measuring performance, taking corrective actions, and reviewing and evaluating results, businesses can ensure that performance remains aligned with organizational goals. Effective communication and addressing challenges and pitfalls are also critical for successful controlling. By understanding and applying these principles, managers can make informed decisions and steer their teams towards success. So, embrace the principles of controlling and empower yourself to drive effective management in your organization.