• Unit 1: What Is Management?

    In this introductory unit, you will begin your exploration of the practice of management. In human society there has always been a need for some degree of management in order to organize the efforts of individuals for the common (and individual) good. Even in very primitive times, gathering food, protecting against predators, and caring for the young required humans to coordinate and organize in order to achieve common goals.

    Put simply, the term management refers to the coordination of work activities through and with other people to accomplish the goals of an organization. In this unit, you will explore the various functions of management. Management involves not only coordination, but also planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Over the years, the common definition of management has become less specific, as managerial functions have come to include staffing, directing, and reporting. In modern companies, there are fewer layers of management, as today's organizations rely instead on the delegation of responsibilities and authority in order to achieve goals. As a result, today's managers now speak in terms of "leading" or "guiding" people, rather than giving instructions for every action.

    Management is both an art and a science, and ultimately you will need more than one course on management to fully develop your own management ability. Still, even if you have no aspirations to manage a team, you may need to lead projects, manage committees, and/or interact with managers. Understanding what makes a good manager is one of the biggest factors in the success of an organization and its employees.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 13 hours.

    • Unit 1 Assessment