POSDCORB | Functions of Management (Gulick)

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What Managers do: the 7 functions of management. Explanation of POSDCORB of Luther Gulick. (1937)

Contributed by: Meir Peleg



Luther Gulick 1892-1992, author of the POSDCORB conceptWhat is POSDCORB? Description

In 1937, social scientists Luther Gulick and L. Urwick (Papers on the Science of Administration) describe seven "major activities and duties of any chief executive". Since then, the acronym POSDCORB is used to describe the 7 functions of managers:

  • Planning. Working out in broad outline the things that need to be done and the methods for doing them to accomplish the purpose which is set for the enterprise.
  • Organizing. The establishment of the formal structure of authority through which work subdivisions are arranged, defined and coordinated for the defined objective of the organization. Compare: Organization Chart.
  • Staffing. The whole personnel function of bringing in and training the staff and maintaining favorable conditions of work. Both qualitative and quantitative.
  • Directing. The continuous task of making decisions and embodying them in specific and general orders and instructions and serving as the leader of the enterprise.
  • Coordinating. Interrelating the various entities and processes of the work.
  • Reporting. Keeping those to whom the executive is responsible as well as subordinates informed through records, research and inspections.
  • Budgeting. Fiscal planning, accounting and control.

Origin of POSDCORB. History

Gulick and Urwick built their ideas on the earlier 14 Principles of Management by Fayol. Note that in 1937, the prevalent thinking was the separation of politics and administration. Gulick advocated that it was impossible to separate the two.

Usage of POSDCORB. Applications

  • Good starting point to analyze management functions and activities in a structural way.

Strengths of POSDCORB. Benefits

  • Helps to structure and analyze management activities.

Limitations of POSDCORB. Disadvantages

  • Mark Moore (1995, Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government) believes that POSDCORB is too inward looking. In his view, the single most important job of a manager is Understanding and shaping the environment of the organization, primarily, but not solely, by means of the services it delivers to its customers and clients.
  • According to Dr. Lewis Meriam, the most important thing has been omitted in the fascinating word POSDCORB: Knowledge of a subject matter. After all, you have to plan something, you have to organize something, you have to direct something... Compare: Training Within Industry
  • Does not pay any attention to what managers should Achieve.
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