Principles of Fire and EMS Management

Read the article in the resources section Four Important Areas of Management Theories. Write a paper comparing and contrasting these four management theories. Identify how they are used or may be used in the FES environment.

Your paper should cover the topic completely. At least 400 words, excluding a reference page, title page, and abstract. Submit the assignment in the assignments section.

This is the article:

There are a variety of views about this term. Traditionally, the term “management” refers to the activities (and often the group of people) involved in the four general functions listed below. (Note that the four functions recur throughout the organization and are highly integrated):

1) Planning, including identifying goals, objectives, methods, resources needed to carry out methods, responsibilities and dates for completion of tasks. Examples of planning are strategic planning, business planning, project planning, staffing planning, advertising and promotions planning, etc.

2) Organizing resources to achieve the goals in an optimum fashion. Examples are organizing new departments, human resources, office and file systems, re-organizing businesses, etc.

3) Leading, including to set direction for the organization, groups and individuals and also influence people to follow that direction. Examples are establishing strategic direction (vision, values, mission and / or goals) and championing methods of organizational performance management to pursue that direction.

4) Controlling, or coordinating, the organization’s systems, processes and structures to reach effectively and efficiently reach goals and objectives. This includes ongoing collection of feedback, and monitoring and adjustment of systems, processes and structures accordingly. Examples include use of financial controls, policies and procedures, performance management processes, measures to avoid risks etc.

Another common view is that “management” is getting things done through others. Yet another view, quite apart from the traditional view, asserts that the job of management is to support employee’s efforts to be fully productive members of the organizations and citizens of the community.

To most employees, the term “management” probably means the group of people (executives and other managers) who are primarily responsible for making decisions in the organization. In a nonprofit, the term “management” might refer to all or any of the activities of the board, executive director and/or program directors.

Another Interpretation

Some writers, teachers and practitioners assert that the above view is rather outmoded and that management needs to focus more on leadership skills, e.g., establishing vision and goals, communicating the vision and goals, and guiding others to accomplish them. They also assert that leadership must be more facilitative, participative and empowering in how visions and goals are established and carried out. Some people assert that this really isn’t a change in the management functions, rather it’s re-emphasizing certain aspects of management.

http://managementhelp.org/management/terms.htm (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Driving Forces of Change
Around the 1960s and on to today, the environment of today’s organizations has changed a great deal. A variety of driving forces provoke this change. Increasing telecommunications has “shrunk” the world substantially. Increasing diversity of workers has brought in a wide array of differing values, perspectives and expectations among workers. Public consciousness has become much more sensitive and demanding that organizations be more socially responsible. Much of the third-world countries has joined the global marketplace, creating a wider arena for sales and services. Organizations became responsible not only to stockholders (those who owned stock) but to a wider community of “stakeholders.”

As a result of the above driving forces, organizations were required to adopt a “new paradigm,” or view on the world, to be more sensitive, flexible and adaptable to the demands and expectations of stakeholder demands. Many organizations have abandoned or are abandoning the traditional top-down, rigid and hierarchical structures to more “organic” and fluid forms.

Today’s leaders and/or managers must deal with continual, rapid change. Managers faced with a major decision can no longer refer back to an earlier developed plan for direction. Management techniques must continually notice changes in the environment and organization, assess this change and manage change. Managing change does not mean controlling it, rather understanding it, adapting to it where necessary and guiding it when possible.

Managers can’t know it all or reference resources for every situation. Managers must count on and listen more to their employees. Consequently, new forms of organizations are becoming more common, e.g., worker-centered teams, self-organizing and self-designing teams, etc.

Traits of the New Paradigm
Marilyn Ferguson, in The New Paradigm: Emerging Strategic for Leadership and Organizational Change (Michael Ray and Alan Rinzler, Eds., 1993, New Consciousness Reader) provides a very concise overview of the differences between the old and new paradigm. (The following is summarized.)

MANAGEMENT PROCESS, and FUNCTIONS
The managerial functions of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling are considered central to a discussion of management by many authors. These functions are relevant, regardless of the type of organization or levels of management with which one is concerned. When acting in managerial capacity – department heads, foremen, supervisors, college deans, directors and heads of government agencies all do the same thing. As managers they are all engaged in part in getting things done with and through people. Each manager, at one time or another, carries out all the duties characteristic of managers. Even a well-run household uses managerial functions, although in many cases they are used intuitively.

Planning involves setting goals and objectives for the organization and developing work direction that shows how these goals and objectives are to be accomplished. Once plans have been made, organizing becomes meaningful. Even thou there are unique characteristics of the fire and emergency services organizations, the same basic principles apply.

Along with planning and organizing, motivating plays a large part in determining the level of performance of employees, which, in turn, influences how effectively the organizational goals will be met. Motivating is sometimes included as part of directing along with communicating, and leading.

Another function of management is controlling. This involves feedback of results and follow-up to compare accomplishments with plans and to make appropriate adjustments where outcomes have deviated from expectations.

Even though these management functions are stated separately, and as presented seem to have a specific sequence, one must remember that they are inter-related, as illustrated below. While these functions are interrelated, at any one time, one or more may be of primary importance.

PLANNING CONTROLLING ORGANIZING MOTIVATING

The process of Management
The degrees of difficulty and emphasis vary, of course, from one level of management to another. Top executives, for example spend a great deal more time and effort planning and organizing. Although at the supervisory level these functions are not ignored, usually the primary emphasis is on motivating and giving orders and on controlling performances.

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