The Control Process

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For all companies, past success is no guarantee of future success. Even successful companies fall short or face challenges and thus have to make changes. Control is a regulatory process of establishing standards to achieve organizational goals, comparing actual performance to the standards, and taking corrective action when necessary to restore performance to those standards.

Control is achieved when behavior and work procedures conform to standards and when company goals are accomplished. Control is not just an after-the-fact process, however. Preventive measures are also a form of control.

The control process begins when managers set goals such as satisfying 90 percent of customers or increasing sales by 5 percent. Companies then specify the performance standards that must be met to accomplish those goals.

Standards are a basis of comparison for measuring the extent to which organizational performance is satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Benchmarking is the process of determining how well other companies (not just competitors) perform business functions or tasks. In other words, benchmarking is the process of determining other companies’ standards.

The next step in the control process is to compare actual performance to performance standards. The next step in the control process is to identify performance deviations, analyze those deviations, and then develop and implement programs to correct them.

The control is cybernetic because constant attention to the feedback loop is necessary to keep the company’s activity on course. Control is achieved when behavior and work procedures conform to standards, and goals are accomplished.

To determine whether control is worthwhile, managers need to carefully assess regulation costs, that is, whether the costs and unintended consequences of control exceed its benefits. Another factor to consider is cybernetic feasibility, the extent to which it is possible to implement each of the three steps in the control process. If one or more steps cannot be implemented, then maintaining effective control may be difficult or impossible.
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Management
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