Management & Governance

Section Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Both the means that management employs for the allocation of resources etc. and the means it may direct others to use may be specified and subject to constraints; the execution of management tasks is itself also subject to management.

This management of management is defined as Governance.

It follows from this idea of governance as “management of management” that, in addition to being concerned with situations beyond the mandated scope of control of the management process being managed, governance also monitors and compares actual and desired outcomes; but for governance, outcomes are also defined in terms of demonstrated compliance with the policies, rules and procedures established for management of whatever kind.

Governance must therefore establish what aspects of management practice are to be monitored, how compliance is to be evaluated and how deviations are to be addressed.

Governance is therefore also implicitly involved in establishing the values, principles and procedures of management.

However, since management is ultimately concerned with the achievement of desired outcomes, monitoring is only the first enabling element of governance; governance must also direct.

With reference to the approaches to directing change, if change can be directed within implicit or explicit constraints on resources, time etc. the choice of direction remains a standard management responsibility.

If however change cannot be directed within those constraints, or there is a need to change the ultimate objective of the management activity (or the level of acceptable risk), the choice of direction must be undertaken by governance.

We should also note in passing that there must ultimately be a level of strategic management that concerns itself not only with what changes should be made but in defining the values and principles according to which the desirability of any particular change can be evaluated.

To summarise,

  • Standard day-to-day activities are subject to operational management, which works to deliver desired outcomes
  • Operational management must be in accordance with specified means (policies, rules, processes, standards etc.)
  • The definition and application of the specified means for operational management is the responsibility of governance
  • Strategic Management defines values and principles to be used in evaluating change, as well as setting specific high-level objectives

There may be multiple levels of management in an organisation: any level that manages a lower level of management executes governance of that level, and any level that is managed by a higher level of management is governed by that higher level.

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