What are the Elements of Controlling? – A Comprehensive Guide

Controlling is an essential aspect of any organization, ensuring that goals are achieved, resources are utilized effectively, and performance is optimized. It involves monitoring and evaluating processes, making necessary adjustments, and taking corrective actions when needed. To successfully execute control, several key elements come into play. First and foremost, establishing clear objectives is crucial as it provides a benchmark against which performance can be measured. Secondly, gathering accurate and timely information is essential to identify any deviations or variances from the desired outcomes.

Moreover, setting performance standards helps in defining expectations and determining if goals are being met. Additionally, effective communication is vital for conveying expectations, providing feedback, and fostering accountability. Lastly, the element of feedback allows for learning and improvement by providing insights into what is working well and what needs to be adjusted. By understanding and implementing these fundamental elements of controlling, organizations can achieve greater efficiency, effectiveness, and success.

💡 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. 


The importance of controlling in organizations

Controlling plays a pivotal role in the success of organizations. It ensures that resources are allocated effectively, goals are achieved, and performance is optimized. Without proper control mechanisms in place, organizations may struggle to stay on track and may face various challenges. Effective controlling helps in identifying any deviations or variances from the desired outcomes and enables organizations to take corrective actions promptly. It provides a means to monitor progress, evaluate performance, and make necessary adjustments to ensure that goals are met. Furthermore, controlling enables organizations to identify areas of improvement, streamline processes, and enhance overall efficiency. By implementing effective controlling practices, organizations can achieve higher levels of productivity, profitability, and success.

Key elements of controlling

Setting goals and objectives

Establishing clear and measurable goals and objectives is the first and most crucial element of controlling. These goals act as a benchmark against which performance can be measured. Without clearly defined goals, organizations may lack direction and struggle to assess their progress. Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals provides a framework for performance evaluation and control. By having well-defined goals, organizations can align their efforts, prioritize tasks, and focus their resources on achieving desired outcomes.

Establishing performance standards

Performance standards are benchmarks or criteria that define the expected level of performance in various areas of an organization. These standards help in defining expectations and determining if goals are being met. They can be qualitative or quantitative, depending on the nature of the goals and objectives. For example, a performance standard for customer service may include response time, customer satisfaction ratings, or the number of resolved complaints. By establishing performance standards, organizations can set clear expectations for employees, departments, and processes, enabling better control and evaluation of performance.

Measuring actual performance

To effectively control, organizations need to gather accurate and timely information about their actual performance. This involves collecting relevant data, tracking progress, and measuring various key performance indicators (KPIs). Measuring actual performance allows organizations to assess their progress towards goals, identify any deviations or variances, and evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies and processes. It provides valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, enabling informed decision-making and effective control.

Comparing actual performance with standards

Once actual performance has been measured, it is essential to compare it with the established performance standards. This comparison helps in identifying any gaps or deviations from the desired outcomes. By comparing actual performance with standards, organizations can identify areas of improvement, pinpoint the causes of any discrepancies, and take necessary actions to address them. This step is crucial for effective control as it enables organizations to identify and rectify any issues or inefficiencies that may hinder the achievement of goals.

Taking corrective actions

When deviations or variances are identified through the comparison of actual performance with standards, organizations need to take corrective actions. These actions may involve making adjustments to processes, reallocating resources, providing additional training, or implementing new strategies. The purpose of corrective actions is to bring the performance back on track and ensure that goals are achieved. By promptly addressing deviations, organizations can minimize the impact of any setbacks and maintain control over their operations.

Tools and techniques for effective controlling

Various tools and techniques can enhance the effectiveness of controlling within organizations. These include:

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are quantifiable measures that reflect the performance of specific aspects or processes within an organization. They provide a means to track progress, evaluate performance, and identify areas of improvement. By selecting relevant and meaningful KPIs, organizations can gain valuable insights into their operations and make informed decisions.

Management information systems (MIS)

MIS refers to the use of technology and information systems to gather, analyze, and present data for effective decision-making and control. These systems enable organizations to collect and process large amounts of data, generate reports, and provide real-time information for monitoring and evaluation.

Performance dashboards

Performance dashboards provide visual representations of key performance indicators and other relevant metrics. They offer a quick and comprehensive overview of performance, enabling managers and stakeholders to monitor progress and identify any areas of concern.

Feedback mechanisms

Establishing feedback mechanisms, such as regular performance reviews, surveys, or suggestion boxes, allows for open communication and fosters a culture of continuous improvement. Feedback provides valuable insights into what is working well and what needs to be adjusted. It helps organizations identify areas of improvement, address concerns, and enhance overall performance.

Challenges and limitations of controlling

While controlling is crucial for organizational success, it also comes with certain challenges and limitations. These include:

Resistance to control

Implementing control mechanisms may face resistance from employees or departments who may perceive it as micromanagement or a threat to their autonomy. Overcoming resistance requires effective communication, involvement, and buy-in from all stakeholders.

Inaccurate or incomplete information

Effective control relies on accurate and timely information. If the data used for control purposes is inaccurate or incomplete, it may lead to incorrect assessments and ineffective decision-making. Organizations need to ensure the reliability and validity of the information used for control.

Changing environments

Organizations operate in dynamic and ever-changing environments. This can make control challenging as strategies and processes may need to be adjusted frequently to adapt to new circumstances. Organizations need to be agile and flexible in their approach to control to effectively navigate changing environments.

Cost and resource constraints

Implementing control mechanisms can incur costs and require dedicated resources. Organizations need to carefully balance the benefits of control with the associated costs to ensure that control efforts are justified and sustainable.


Controlling is a vital element of organizational management that ensures goals are achieved, resources are utilized effectively, and performance is optimized. By understanding and implementing the key elements of controlling, organizations can achieve greater efficiency, effectiveness, and success. Establishing clear objectives, gathering accurate information, setting performance standards, measuring actual performance, comparing with standards, and taking corrective actions are crucial steps in effective control. Additionally, utilizing tools and techniques such as KPIs, MIS, performance dashboards, and feedback mechanisms can enhance the effectiveness of controlling. While controlling comes with challenges and limitations, organizations can overcome them by fostering a culture of open communication, ensuring reliable information, adapting to changing environments, and balancing costs and resources. With effective controlling practices in place, organizations can navigate challenges, drive performance, and achieve their goals.