Controlling and Evaluating
|Introduction to Control
- Due to the fact that plans, policies, and procedures are not
followed perfectly by human beings and that organizations
are dynamic, control systems are used to exercise a degree of control
in order to take corrective actions
when organizational objectives are not fulfilled. Control
systems should be used to fulfill objectives rather than to find
wrongdoers and should be implemented so that they are viewed in a positive
rather than a negative light.
- For example, conflict occurs when a bureaucratic, authoritarian control
system is placed upon technical professionals, particularly
researchers, who generally value autonomy, freedom, and a
collegial control system. Technical professionals, however, do understand the need to
control, measure, and evaluate in order to help the
organization grow and remain profitable. When doing
research, technical professionals utilize control, measurement, and evaluation
to ensure results are reproducible and of value to the
scientific and professional community.
- Systems for control should be established that are sensitive to the
needs of technical professionals.
- If employees distrust or resent the control system, then faked,
erroneous, or missing control data may result leading to
ineffective control decisions.
- Control can be viewed as a three-step process to correct deviations
from established values or standards for performance.
- Measuring - using formal or informal reports to determine how
well progress toward objectives is being made and is accomplished
- developing and implementing public measuring systems and
- In order to show the usefulness of control systems
and gain employee trust, control system
measurements and results must be made public to
employees affected by the control system.
- recording and reporting performance of people and
- analyzing and interpreting measured results
- using results to refine the work of measuring
- Evaluating - finding the cause of significant deviations from
planned performance and possible ways to correct the deviations.
- Correcting - take action to correct the deviation or take
advantage of a favorable trend that might come out of a deviation.
- If this step is missing, employees view the control system
as worthless and may not actively support it.
- In order to have control, certain systems must be established, such
as the organizational, planning, and measurement systems that are not
overburdening to the employees and not of tremendous cost to the
- Everyone in an organization is responsible for control and the flow
of control information, from the executive to the technical
professional. Control information must flow to the units and people who need
and can use it the most.
- Control systems are organized by
- Type of input - available resources, such as human resources,
financial resources, hardware, management
- Dimension of control - quality, quantity, time (schedule), cost
- Time element
- Precontrols - take place before an activity starts, such as
marketing research and feasibility studies
- Steering controls - take place while the task is being done
- Yes-no controls - take place at specific points of a task to
determine if the task results are of sufficient quality
- Postaction controls - take place at the end of a task and
compare the task results to its predefined standard
- Tools in control systems
- General tools in control systems include reports, memoranda,
policy manuals, charts, ratios, performance requirements, and
standard procedure. More specific examples are given below.
- Human resources
- Quality - performance appraisal, psychological test
- Quantity - time study, work measurement, performance
- Time - meetings, committees
- Cost - general tools
- Financial resources
- Quality - audits, work measurement
- Quantity - budgets, profit planning, audits, work
- Time - forecast
- Cost - profitability accounting, return on investment
- Quality - statistical quality control, visual inspection,
inspection instruments, work measurement, inventory control,
- Quantity - operations manual, work measurement, inventory
- Time - operations manual
- Cost - operations manual, estimates
- Quality - work measurement
- Quantity - time study, deadlines, commitments, schedules,
- Time - forecast
- Cost - general tools
- Quality - general tools
- Quantity - productivity per square foot
- Time - general tools
- Cost - cost per square foot, estimates
|Control System Principles
- As a manager, you can overstress yourself and your employees by
controlling too much or controlling too little. The result of controlling too much is that employees may spend
more time on controlling rather than doing their job. In
addition, they may be made to feel like they are not trusted to do
their job. The result of controlling too little is that employees do not
know how well they are doing until it may be very difficult to
correct a performance deviation. They may feel unsupported
and punished by the organization.
- To facilitate control, control points should be planned strategically so that tasks are
measured or reviewed at critical points. Critical points are
difficult to define since tasks are so varied, but critical points are
those where some preliminary task results are available that if not
done well, could impact the rest of the task negatively. Another
way of looking at it is to plan control points before significant
deviations could occur and only often enough to keep significant
deviations from occurring.
- Control safeguards should be built in for any points where failures
could occur. The safeguards are alternative actions to take if a
failure occurs. Safeguards help with risk management.
- Control "random sampling points", such as informal conversations, may
be used to keep in touch with your employees and help them with
questions they may have recently found.
- Let employees know that their cooperation and high performance are
welcome rather than use the control system to nitpick through their
work. They may begin to let you catch errors rather than do it
- Corrective actions in control systems must be assigned to a responsible
party with a clear set of steps and be as economical as possible.
- Control information must be collected in a way such that its
accuracy is as high as reasonably possible and its promptness is as
soon as reasonably possible.
- Control systems should be evaluated on a continuous basis in order
to streamline them, make them more flexible and valid, raise their
ability to be learned by the employees, and boost employee confidence
and participation in them.
- When establishing control systems
- affected employees should
understand the reason for the control system and be actively
encouraged to participate in the design and development of the control
- development and implementation should be carefully planned and
- More resources may be needed, such as people,
hardware, and software to implement, maintain, and update the
- The control system may be implemented in phases so that
employees are not overwhelmed with the full version and
problems can be worked out in smaller increments.
- Training for the control system must be put in place.
- A feedback mechanism for the control system must be
- The control system should integrate well with the existing
organization; i.e., it facilitates rather than hampers employee work.
- Because control systems may be viewed as a "blame game",
measuring and evaluating are sensitive subjects wherever and whenever
they are done. Again, the focus on measuring and evaluating must
be on problem solving as well as making things better. The measurements taken should indicate when deviations are
occurring, such as measurements outside of standard norms. Keep
in mind, however, that measurements are indicators, not
absolutes. Investigation is still required to determine if a
deviation is occurring that needs correcting. The problem
solving process should be used to evaluate whether or not a
significant deviation exists.
- Measuring may be performed at several levels.
- How do you evaluate the performance of an employee?
- If the employee is a scientist, you might use number of
papers published in respected and refereed journals and
conferences, number of patents, number of citations of the
scientist's work by other researchers, organization
products influenced by the scientist's work, and peer
evaluation of work and ability to work with others.
- If the employee is an engineer, you might use number of
patents, number of new products s/he helped to develop,
ratio of number of tasks completed to schedule, ratio of
number of tasks completed to budget, average number of
problems found with task results from reviews, and peer
- Group evaluation may be done by ratio of projects completed
to schedule and budget, number of failed projects, number of
new or improved products per year, number of projects or
products completed per year, profitability of projects or
products, development cost per person, and average peer
- Project evaluation may look at ratios of tasks completed to
budget and schedule, number of problems found during reviews,
customer satisfaction survey, profitability of project,
development cost per person, number of requirements, number of
design modules, number of code modules, number of test cases,
project comparisons to competition, and number of failed test
- Product evaluation may use customer satisfaction surveys,
number of returns, number of complaints, cost of production,
schedule of production, profitability of the product, product
comparisons to competition, and product units failing to pass
inspection before being shipped.
- Departmental evaluation may be done by looking at employee
churn rate, ability to attract new and talented people, career
development of employees, budget and schedule for what the
department does, operating costs, and ratio of tasks completed
to budget and schedule.
- Management measures may be related to number of employees
managed per project or department, quality and number of
plans, average peer evaluations, number of tasks or projects
managed, forecasting ability, number of problems per project
or task, complaints, and number of objectives
- Organizational measurements should look at overall
profitability, performance against major competitors,
operating costs, and overall customer complaints.
- A control system is used to keep the organization smoothly operating
and to keep significant deviations from occurring.
- Control systems are based on appropriate measurements taken on a
continuous basis to monitor accomplishment of objectives.
- Control systems must be integrated well with the overall
organization and facilitate higher quality work.
- Control systems and measurements must be implemented in a positive
manner so that employees know the system is for solving problems, not
- Why are control systems necessary?
- What is the control system process?
- What needs to be in place before a control system can be
- How are control systems organized?
- What are the tools in control systems?
- Where should control points be placed?
- How are control systems established?
- What measurements may be used and how can they show deviations?
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Last edited: 03/31/04 01:21:59 PM