MBA management

Meaning and Definition of Directing

Directing is said to be a process in which the managers instruct, guide and oversee the performance of the workers to achieve predetermined goals. Directing is said to be the heart of management process. Planning, organizing, staffing have got no importance if direction function does not take place. Directing initiates action and it is from here actual work starts. Direction is said to be consisting of human factors. In simple words, it can be described as providing guidance to workers is doing work. In field of management, direction is said to be all those activities which are designed to encourage the subordinates to work effectively and efficiently. According to Human, “Directing consists of process or technique by which instruction can be issued and operations can be carried out as originally planned” Therefore, Directing is the function of guiding, inspiring, overseeing and instructing people towards accomplishment of organizational goals.

Directing means giving instructions, guiding, counselling, motivating and leading the staff in an organisation in doing work to achieve Organisational goals. Directing is a key managerial function to be performed by the manager along with planning, organising, staffing and controlling. From top executive to supervisor performs the function of directing and it takes place accordingly wherever superior – subordinate relations exist. Directing is a continuous process initiated at top level and flows to the bottom through organisational hierarchy.

It is that part of managerial function which actuates the organizational methods to work efficiently for achievement of organizational purposes. It is considered life-spark of the enterprise which sets it in motion the action of people because planning, organizing and staffing are the mere preparations for doing the work. Direction is that inert-personnel aspect of management which deals directly with influencing, guiding, supervising, motivating sub-ordinate for the achievement of organizational goals.

Direction has following elements:

• Supervision
• Motivation
• Leadership
• Communication

(i) Supervision- implies overseeing the work of subordinates by their superiors. It is the act of watching & directing work & workers.

(ii) Motivation- means inspiring, stimulating or encouraging the sub-ordinates with zeal to work. Positive, negative, monetary, non-monetary incentives may be used for this purpose.

(iii) Leadership- may be defined as a process by which manager guides and influences the work of subordinates in desired direction.

(iv) Communications- is the process of passing information, experience, opinion etc from one person to another. It is a bridge of understanding.

Direction has got following characteristics:

1. Pervasive Function - Directing is required at all levels of organization. Every manager provides guidance and inspiration to his subordinates.

2. Continuous Activity - Direction is a continuous activity as it continuous throughout the life of organization.

3. Human Factor - Directing function is related to subordinates and therefore it is related to human factor. Since human factor is complex and behaviour is unpredictable, direction function becomes important.

4. Creative Activity - Direction function helps in converting plans into performance. Without this function, people become inactive and physical resources are meaningless.

5. Executive Function - Direction function is carried out by all managers and executives at all levels throughout the working of an enterprise, a subordinate receives instructions from his superior only.

6. Delegate Function - Direction is supposed to be a function dealing with human beings. Human behaviour is unpredictable by nature and conditioning the people’s behaviour towards the goals of the enterprise is what the executive does in this function. Therefore, it is termed as having delicacy in it to tackle human behaviour.

Nature and Characteristics of Directing

Directing is characterized by the following distinguishing features:

1. Element of management. Directing is one of the important functions of management. It is through direction that management initiates action in the organization.

2. Continuing function. Direction is continuous process and it continues throughout the life of an organization. A manager never ceases to guide, inspire and supervise his subordinates. A manager can not get things done simply by issuing orders and instruction. He must continually provide motivation and leadership to get the orders and instructions executed.

3. Pervasive function. Direction initiates at the top and follows right up to the bottom of an organization. Every manager in the organization gives direction to his subordinates as superior and receives direction as subordinates from his superior. Direction function is performed at every level of management and in every department of the organization.

4. Creative function. Direction makes things happen and converts plans into performance it is the process around which all performance revolves. Without direction, human forces in an organization become inactive and consequently physical factors become useless. It breathes life into organization.

5. Linking function. Planning, organizing and staffing are merely preparation for doing the work and work actually starts when managers perform the directing function. Direction puts plans into an action and provides performance for measurement and control. In this way, directing serves as a connecting link between planning and control.

6. Management of human factor. Direction is the interpersonal aspects of management. It deals with the human aspect of organization. Human behavior is very dynamic and is conditioned by a complex of forces about which not much is known. Therefore, direction is a very difficult and challenging function.

Principles of Directing

Directing is a complex function as it deals with people whose behaviour is unpredictable. Effective direction is an art which a manager can learn and perfect through practice. However, managers can follow the following principles while directing their subordinates.

1. Harmony of objectives. Individuals join the organization to satisfy their physiological and psychological needs. They are expected to work for the achievement of organizational objectives. They will perform their tasks better if they feel that it will satisfy their personal goals. Therefore, mar agreement should reconcile the personal goals of employees with the organizational goals.

2. Maximum individual contribution. Organizational objectives are achieved at the optimum level when every individual in the organization makes maximum contribution towards them. Managers should, therefore, try to elicit maximum possible contribution from each subordinate.

3. Unity of command. A subordinate should get orders and instruction from one superior only. If he is made accountable to two bosses simultaneously, there will be confusion, conflict, disorder and indiscipline in the organization. Therefore, every subordinate should be asked to report to only one manager.

4. Appropriate techniques. The manager should use correct direction techniques to ensure efficiently of direction. The technique used should be suitable to the superior, the subordinates and the situation.

5. Direct supervision. Direction becomes more effective when there is a direct personal contact between the superior and his subordinates. Such contact improves the morale and commitment of the employees. Therefore, whenever possible direct supervision should be used.

6. Managerial communication. A good system of communication between the superior and his subordinates helps to improve mutual understanding. Upwards communication helps a manager to understand the subordinates to express their feeling.

Motivational Concepts

Concept of Motivation:-

Technically, the term motivation can be traced to Latin word Movere, which means 'to move'. In order to understand the concept of motivation, we have to examine three terms: motive, motivating and motivation and their relationship.


Based on the Latin word Movere, motive (need) has been defined as follows: according to Bernard Berelson and Garry A. Steiner, " A motive is an inner state that energizes, activates, or moves (hence motivation), and that directs behavior towards goals."

Motive has also been defined by Fillmore H. Sanford and Larence S. Wrights man as, "A motive is restlessness, a lack, a yen, a force. Once in the grip of a motive an organism does something to reduce restlessness, to remedy the lack, to alleviate the yen, to mitigate the force."

Here, we can differentiate between needs and wants. While needs are more comprehensive and include desires- both physiological and psychological, wants are expressed in narrow sense and include only those desires for which a person has money and also the desire to spend the money to satisfy the wants. There are many psychological needs, like social needs, recognition needs etc. which does not fall under the category of wants.


Motivating is a term which implies that one person (in the organizational context, a manager) includes another, (say, employee) to engage in action (work behaviour) by ensuring that a channel to satisfy the motive becomes available and accessible to the individual. In addition to channelizing the strong motives in a direction that is satisfying to both organization and employees, the manager can also activate the latent motives in individuals and harness them in a manager that would be funtional for the organization.


While motive is energizer of action, motivating is the channelization and activation of motives, motivation is the work behavior itself. Motivation depends on motives and motivating, therefore, it becomes a complex process. For example, Dublin has defined motivation as follows: "Motivation is the complex force starting and keeping a person at work in an organization. Motivation is something that moves a person to action, and continues him in the course of action already initiated."

According to McFarland, "Motivation refers to the way in which urges, drives, desires, aspirations, striving, or needs direct, control, or explains the behavior of human beings."

The Incentive Theory of Motivation

A reward, tangible or intangible, is presented after the occurrence of an action (i.e. behavior) with the intent to cause the behavior to occur again. This is done by associating positive meaning to the behavior. Studies show that if the person receives the reward immediately, the effect would be greater, and decreases as duration lengthens. Repetitive action-reward combination can cause the action to become habit. Motivation comes from two things: you, and other people. There is extrinsic motivation, which comes from others, and intrinsic motivation, which comes from within you.

Rewards can also be organized as extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are external to the person; for example, praise or money. Intrinsic rewards are internal to the person; for example, satisfaction or a feeling of accomplihment.

Some authors distinguish between two forms of intrinsic motivation: one based on enjoyment, the other on obligation. In this context, obligation refers to motivation based on what an individual thinks ought to be done. For instance, a feeling of responsibility for a mission may lead to helping others beyond what is easily observable, rewarded, or fun.

A reinforcer is different from reward, in that reinforcement is intended to create a measured increase in the rate of a desirable behavior following the addition os something to the environment.

Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation occurs when people engage in an activity, such as a hobby, without obvious external incentives. This form of motivation has been studied by social and educational psychologists since the early 1970s. Research has found that it is usually associated with high educational achievement and enjoyment by students. Intrinsic motivation has been explained by Fritz Heider's attribution theory, Bandura's work on self-efficacy, and Ryan and Deci's cognitive evaluation theory. Students are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they:

• attribute their educational results to internal factors that they can control (e.g. the amount of effort they put in),

• believe they can be effective agents in reaching desired goals (i.e. the results are not determined by luck),

• are interested in mastering a topic, rather than just rote-learning to achieve good grades.

In knowledge-sharing communites and organizations, people often cite altruistic reasons for their participation, including contributing to a common good, a moral obligation to the group, mentorship or 'giving back'. In work environments, money may provide a more powerful extrinsic factor than the intrinsic motivation provided by an enjoyable workplace.

In terms of sports, intrinsic motivation is the motivation that comes from inside the performer. That is, the athelete competes for the love of the sport.

Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the performer. Money is the most obvious example, but coercion and threat of punishment are also common extrinsic motivations.

In sports, the crowd may cheer the performer on, and this motivates him or her to do well. Trophies are also extrinsic incentives. Competition is often extrinsic because it encourages the performer to win and beat others, not to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity.

Social psychological research has indicated that extrinsic rewards can lead to over justification and a subsequent reduction in intrinsic motivation.

Motivational Theories

Drive Reduction Theories

There are number of drive theories. The Drive Reduction Theory grows out of the concept that we have certain biological needs, such as hunger. As time passes the strength of the drive increases as it is not satisfied. Then as we satisfy that drive by fulfilling its desire, such as eating, the drive's strength is reduced. It is based on the theories of Freud and the idea of feedback control systems, such as a thermostat.

There are several problems, however, that leave the validity of the Drive Reduction Theory open for debate. The first problem is that it does not explain how Secondary Reinforcers reduce drive. For example, money does not satisfy any biological or psychological need but reduces drive on a regular basis through a pay check second-order conditioning. Secondly, if the drive reduction theory held true we would not be able to explain how a hungry human being can prepare a meal without eating the food before they finished cooking it.

However, when comparing this to real life situation such as preparing food, one does not get hungrier as the food is being made (drive increases), and after the food has been consumed the drive decreases. The only reason the food does not get eaten before is the human element of restraint and has nothing to do with drive theory. Also, the food will either be nicer after it is cooked, or it won't be edible at all before it is cooked.

Cognitive dissonance theory

Suggested by Leon Festinger, this occurs when an individual experiences some degree of discomfort resulting from an incompatibility between two cognitions. For example, a consumer may seek to reassure himself regarding a purchase, feeling, in retrospect, that another decision may have been preferable.

Another example of cognitive dissonance is when a belief and a behaviour are in conflict. A person may wish to be healthy, believes smoking is bad for one's health, and yet continues to smoke.

Affective-Arousal Theories

Need Achievement Theory

David McClelland's achievement motivation theory envisions that a person has a need for three things, but differs in degrees to which the various needs influence their behavior: Need for achievement, Need for power, and Need for affiliation.

Interest Theory

Holland Codes are used in the assessment of interests as in Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI; Holland, 1985). One way to look at interests is that if a person has strong interest in one of the six Holland areas, then obtaining outcomes in that area will be strongly reinforcing relative to obtaining outcomes in areas of weak interest.

Need Theories

Need Hierarchy Theory

Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs theory is the one of the most widely discussed theories of motivation.

The theory can be summarized as follows:

• Human beings have wants and desires which influence their behaviour: Only unsatisfied needs influence behavior, satisfied needs do not.

• Since needs are many, they are arranged in order of importance, from the basic to the complex.

• The person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower level need is at least minimally satisfied.

• The further the progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and psychological health a person will show.

The needs, listed from basic (lowest, earliest) to most complex (highest, latest) are as follows:

• Physiological
• Safety
• belongingness
• Esteem
• Self actualization

Herzberg's two-factor theory

Fredrick Herzberg's two-factor theory, aka intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, concludes that certain factors in the workplace result in job satisfaction, but if absent, lead to dissatisfaction.

He distinguished between:

Motivators; (e.g. challenging work, recognition, responsibility) which give positive satisfaction, and

Hygiene factors; (e.g. status, job security, salary and fringe benefits) that do not motivate if present, but, if absent, result in demotivation.

The name Hygiene factors is used because, like hygiene, the presence will not make you healthier, but absence can cause health deterioration.

The theory is sometimes called the "Motivator-Hygiene Theory."

Alderfer's ERG theory

Clayton Alderfer, expanding on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, created the ERG theory (existence, relatedness and growth). Physiological and safety, the lower order needs, are placed in the existence category, while love and self esteem needs are placed in the relatedness category. The growth category contains our self-actualization and self-esteem needs.

Self-determination theory

Self-determinaation theory, developed by Edward Deci and Rihcard Ryan, focuses on the importance of intrinsic motivation in driving human behavior. Like Maslow's hierarchial theory and others that built on it, SDT posits a natural tendency toward growth and development. Unlike these other theories, however, SDT does not include any sort of "autopilot" for achievement, but instead requires active encouragement from the environment. The primary factors that encourage motivation and development are autonomy, competence feedback, and relatedness.

Broad Theories

The latest approach in Achievement Motivation is an integrative perspective as lined out in the "Onion-Ring-Model of Achievment Motivation" by Heinz Schuler, George C. Thornton III, Andreas Frintrup and Rose Mueller-Hanson. It is based on the premise that performance motivation results from way broad components of personality are directed towards performance. As a result, it includes a range of dimensions that are relevant to success at work but which are not conventionally regarded as being part of performance motivation. Especially it integrates formerly separated approaches as Need for Achievement with e.g. social motives like Dominance. The Achievement Motivation Inventory AMI (Schuler, Thornton, Frintrup & Mueller-Hanson, 2003) is based on this theory and assesses three factors (17 separated scales) relevant to vocational and professional success.

Cognitive theories

Goal-setting theory

Goal-setting theory is based on the notion that individuals sometimes have a drive to reach a clearly defined end state. Often, this end state is a reward in itself. A goal's efficiency is affected by three features: proximity, difficulty and specificity. An ideal goal should present a situation where the time between the initiation of behaviour and the end state is close. This explains why some children are more motivated to learn how to ride a bike than mastering algebra. A goal should be moderate, not too hard or too easy to complete. In both cases, most people are not optimally motivated, as many want a challenge (which assumes some kind of insecurity of success). At the same time people want to feel that there is a substantial probability that they will succeed. Specificity concerns the description of the goal in their class. The goal should be objectively defined and intelligible for the individual. A classic example of a poorly specified goal is to get the highest possible grade. Most children have no idea how much effort they need to reach that goal.

Unconscious motivation

Some psychologists believe that a significant portion of human behaviour is energized and directed by unconscious motives. According to Maslow, "Psychoanalysis has often demonstrated that the relationship between a conscious desire and the ultimate unconscious aim that underlies it need not be at all direct." In other words, stated motives do not always match those inferred by skilled observers. For example, it is possible that a person can be accident-prone because he has an unconscious desire to hurt himself and not because he is careless or ignorant of the safety rules. Similarly, some overweight peoples are not hungry at all for food but for attention and love. Eating is merely a defensive reaction to lack of attention. Some workers damage more equipment than others do because they harbour unconscious feelins of aggression toward authority figures.

Psychotherapists point out that some behavior is so automatic that the reasons for it are not available in the individual's conscious mind. Compulsive cigarette smoking is an example. Sometimes maintaining self-esteem is so important and the motive for an activity is so threatening that it is simply not recognized and, in fact, may be disguised or repressed. Rationalization, or "explaining away", is one such disguise, or defense mechanism, as it is called. Another is projecting or attributing one's own faults to others. "I feel I am to blame", becomes "It is her fault; she is selfish". Repression of powerful but socially unacceptable motives may result in outward behaviour that is the opposite of the repressed tendencies. An example of this would be the employee who hates his boss but overworks himself on the job to show that he holds him in high regard.

unconscious motives add to the hazards of interpreting human behavior and, to the extent that they are present, complicate the life of the administrator. On the other hand, knowledge that unconscious motives exist can lead to a more careful assessment of behavioral problems. Although few contemporary psychologists deny the existence of unconscious factors, many do believe that these are activated only in times of anxiety and stress, and that in the ordinary course of events, human behavior - from the subject's point of view - is rationally purposeful.
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Review Questions
  • 1. Define Directing.
  • 2. What do you mean by directing?
  • 3. Explain directing.
  • 4. Describe the different elements of directing.
  • 5. Explain the characteristics of a good system of communication.
  • 6. What do you mean by promotion?
  • 7. Mention the characteristics of direction.
  • 8. Explain the Maslow's Theory of Motivation.
  • 9. Explain the process of communication with examples.
  • 10. Define Leadership. Describe the various styles of leadership.
  • 11. What are the important qualities of good business leaders? What are the recent trends in leadership?
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