1. There are variety of ways of dividing the functional areas of a business. The most popular and commonly
used classification is as follows.
In addition to this Communication also plays a major important role within the organisation. Though this
is not usually advocated as a separate function, communication plays a very important cross functional
There is no fixed rule in setting what the functional areas of a business are. For instance in certain
organisations IT, Transportation, Logistics, Consultancy and Analysis can be considered as an important
Functions essential to develop the goods or services and making it reach the final consumer are called
Task Functions. These are the basic activities of the organisation which are related to the actual
completion of the productive processes and directed towards specific and definable end results.
There are other functions which are not directed towards specific and definable end results. These are
referred to as Element Functions. This usually includes human resource management, IT, maintenance,
quality control etc.
There are several key factors which determine the basis in which an organisation could be grouped.
• Nature of the product or service offerings – For instance if the company is into IT services, IT
essentially becomes a main functional area
• Location – If the organisation has multiple locations communication can become a separate
• Customers – If the organisation is looking at a set of few key customers, Account management
or customer care can be considered as a separate function.
Though a business has functional areas, a business cannot be viewed as a set of functions. The reasons
are as follows.
• There are overlaps in functional areas. For instance production managers may do a considerable
amount of marketing activities though marketing is a separate functional area.
2. • There needs to be communication between the functional areas and there are set of activities
which are done by the functions collectively. Therefore the organisation is a more complex
Three key areas of the finance function can be introduced.
• Management Accounting
o Management accounting is the use of accounting techniques for management purposes.
In general, management accounting takes current and past data and looks to the future.
• Budgeting and financial control
o A budget is a planning tool, based on the finances coming in and the amounts expected
to be paid out. Each item of cost is ‘budgeted for’ within the overall plan by allocating it
a part of the available funds. The aim is to prevent overall losses by sticking to the
budget. A budget is therefore also a controlling tool.
• Financial reporting
o Financial reporting relates to the presentation and reporting of financial information.
The financial statements that a business will produce are partly determined by the law
of that country. Depending on this law and the type of organisation, some of these
reports may need to be made available to the public.
o Two main tools used by financial reporting are the balance sheet and the PnL.
Marketing involves identifying or creating a ‘need’ or desire, and then fulfilling it to the satisfaction of
Following are the key aspects which a marketing function of a business needs to look into.
• Identify the needs of the customer, and to segment the potential customers according to their
• Input into the design of the products and services that will meet those needs
• price the products and services, taking into account the costs involved, the competitors’ pricing
and the customers’ ability to pay
3. • Communicate to the prospective customer, giving information about the products and services
• Involved in marketing the products and services, ensuring that they are available at the place
and time to suit the customer
• Provide the after sales service, etc. to ensure the satisfaction and loyalty of the customer
Marketing literature has put forward few main orientations or approaches to marketing.
• Production Orientation – This aims to satisfy consumer desires that are already established
and so would not concentrate effort on promoting the desirability of the product. In short,
the organisation will concentrate on production efficiency and high volumes.
• A product orientation relies on the product ‘selling itself’. The customer will favour those
products that offer high quality and performance features.
• A selling orientation assumes that, once the product is created, the consumer just has to be
convinced that they need it. There will have to be a substantial selling and promotion effort.
• A marketing orientation, though, tries to establish the desires of customers and then satisfy
them. The organisation will try to deliver more effectively than its competitors.
• This last approach, in particular, will require market research to discover what customers
think they want, or what they like or dislike about existing products.
Marketing Mix is a set of tools marketers use to achieve their marketing objectives.
• Product – This includes the actual product and the factors associated with producing them
such as product features, new product development, product life cycle
• Price –This is related to ways of making money from the business. There are variety of
pricing strategies such as skimming prices (charging high prices at the beginning),
penetration pricing (charging very low prices), predatory pricing (setting prices to get rid of a
competitor), prestige pricing (setting the prices artificially high)
• Place – the means of getting the goods and services to the customer
• Promotion – the ways of making the customer aware of the product (advertising, public
relations, direct marketing, sales promotions)
Marketing Planning Process
Marketing planning process includes the following steps.
• Strategy Process – Understanding what the customers need
• Analyse the market environment
4. • Segmenting the market – dividing the markets into several homogeneous groups
• Target the market segment – out of the segments pick one or more segments
• Positioning – position the product in the minds of the selected target market
• Implement the marketing mix
There are some myths about marketing. Some of the common myths are as follows.
• Marketing is about advertising
• Marketing is about selling
• Marketing is done at the beginning
• Marketing is needed only for large corporations with significant budgets
• Marketing is about creating a brand
• Marketing costs cannot be recovered unless the firm grows big
Human Resource Management
HRM is literally about managing the people in an organisation as a resource. This includes planning and
forecasting organizational requirements in the future, the staffing levels, types of staff and types of
contracts, staff training and development, appraisal and promotion, working conditions, incentive
schemes, pensions and benefits.
Personnel Management to HRM is a major shift in the management field. Personnel Management is now
treated as a component of HRM while HRM looks at things from a broader perspective treating staff as
This is connected to the division of HRM into Soft HRM and Hard HRM.
Hard HRM places emphasis on the resource part of the term and aims to increase efficiency by control.
It has its roots in the scientific management school.
Soft HRM places emphasis on the human element of the term and aims to increase efficiency through
employee commitment. It has its roots in the human relations school.
When approaching workers as a resource to be controlled, production is thought to increase by gaining
compliance. This can be linked to ideas about strict rules for individual tasks and control over how these
should be done and the time they should take.
5. In contrast to this, approaching workers as a different kind of resource is more in line with the softer
HRM approach. The need for motivation is recognised, as people are not seen to respond to stimuli in
the same way that other resources would do. Gaining commitment is seen as the most beneficial
approach and so this can be related to the human relations school.
Therefore Personnel Management is more ‘workforce centred’ while Human Resource Management is
Further Personnel Management is often seen as a management activity aimed at non managers while
HRM focuses on the non managers as well as managers.
Personnel Management is not fully integrated with organizational development models while HRM
treats organisations culture as the central activity for senior management and is more closely associated
with organizational values and strategies.
The role of a HR Manager has two levels, at the organizational level and at the departmental level. At
the organizational level HR manager is concerned mainly with broader aspects of policy and procedures
which affect the organisation as a whole or staff generally. This includes activities such as human
resource planning, induction and training, recruitment policies, employee development etc.
At the departmental level HR mangers are more concerned with day to day personnel matters such as
organisation of work, allocating job roles, standards of worker performance, safety, on the job training.
In one aspect every line manager is a HR Manager at the departmental level.
HRM is important due to few main reasons.
• People management is not only important for key business performance but also for quality,
technology, competitive strategy or research and development which affects the bottom line.
• Superior HRM results in higher employee satisfaction which in turn has resulted in improved
• HR practices have explained nearly one fifth of the variation between companies in productivity
Training and development is another key area in HRM. Some of the benefits of training are as follows.
• Increase the commitment, motivation and confidence of staff
• Provide recognition, enhanced responsibility and the possibility of increased pay and promotion
• Give a feeling of personal satisfaction and achievement and broaden opportunities for career
• Help to improve the availability and quality of staff
6. Training has two broad areas, on the job training and off the job training.
In order to reap the full benefits of training there has to be planned and systematic approach to the
effective management of training. Some of the prerequisite factors are as follows.
• Clear commitment to training through out the organisation
• An objective assessment of training needs
• Staff should feel a sense of involvement in the training management
• Clearly set objectives and defined policy for training
• Selecting the most appropriate method for training
Performance appraisal is another key area within HRM. Performance appraisal refers to a process in
which the organisation attempts to identify the levels of performance of different individuals.
Performance appraisal systems could take both quantitative and qualitative formats. More often than
not the schemes are a combination of the two.
An effective appraisal scheme therefore offers a number of potential benefits to both the individuals
and the organisation.
• Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of employees and allows to focus on the strengths
• It reveals problems which may restrict progress and cause inefficiencies.
• Helps to develop a degree of consistency through regular feedback on performance and
discussion about potential.
• Provides information for HR planning to assist succession planning to determine suitability for
promotion and for particular types of employment and training
• Improves communications by giving staff the opportunity to talk about their ideas and
expectations and how well they are progressing
There are few questions which needs to be answered on who should be appraised and who should
The conventional notion is to use a senior person to do the appraisal on a junior individual. However
there are issues on whether the senior manager has the professional skills to conduct an appraisal or
whether appraisals should be done for senior managers as well.
7. There are different HR practices across the world. Multinational corporations which have a parent
country but are in operational in different other countries have four main approaches to understanding
its HRM practices.
• Ethnocentric approach – This is where the approaches used in the home country is used
elsewhere as well
• Polycentric approach – This is where each subsidiary develops its own HRM practices
• Regiocentric approach – This is similar to the polycentric approach but the differences lie at the
regional level as opposed to local countries
• Geocentric or Global approach – This is where HRM is practiced at a global level. HRM practices
are therefore generally consistent across subsidiaries.
The production and operations function is an important one because it is through this that the output is
provided for the customer, from which the business makes revenues for continued survival. The
management of this function is heavily dependent on the type of product because very different
production methods exist and different products also require different emphases in the organisation of
operations. For example, if the product is an expensive sports car, then attention to quality and safety
will be very important. If the product is crude oil, rate of flow from the oil wells is important.
As in the other functions, production function is also interrelated with the other functions. For instance
if the production function proposes to upgrade the production equipments in order to achieve higher
production outputs, this decision has to be coordinated with the finance function in terms of doing an
investment appraisal. Further any changes in production technology have an impact on the work force
and therefore this has to be coordinated with the HRM function.
There are few main concepts in the production function.
• Inventory Management - refers to the process of planning and controlling the levels of materials
stored in relation to the demands of the production process. One approach to this is the just-in-
time (JIT) system, which aims to provide the exact quantities to each stage of the production
8. process at the exact time that they are needed. The benefit of this system is that less storage
space is required and also less of the business’s money is tied up in materials.
• Material Resource Planning –This refers to the use of a computerized system to plan and
manage inventories as well as to order new materials when needed.
• Quality Management - controlling the quality of production for goods or services can be vital to
retain competitive advantage and the loyalty of the customer. To ensure this the practice of
benchmarking is used to apply best practice to the production process a comparisons are made
with other production systems within and outside the organisation, to maintain the highest
• Total Quality Management - TQM relates to the idea that a focus on quality should pervade the
whole organisation. It is not just about checks made on random products as they leave the
production process; instead, the drive for quality is concerned with all processes, materials and
work practices, and enters into every level of the organisation.
HRM / Production and Communication