Managing Quality Improvement through Concepts under the Functions of Management

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2013

12 Pages, Grade: 58






Strategic Management and Managing Quality Improvement

The Strategic Management Process


Differences Between Leadership And Management

How Standard Bank Can Use Visionary Leadership To Manage Quality Improvement




The purpose of this report was to discuss how quality can be improved in Standard Bank, and the how the application of one concept each from the management functions of planning and leadership can be used as tools for quality improvement. The sources of information employed for the research include academic journals, credible journal articles, organisational reports, and grounded information from the World Wide Web. Through adequate research, it has been found that managers require the application of the concepts under the functions of management in order to tackle organisational problems and improve the quality of the organisation's services. It is consequently recommended that the management of Standard Bank employs those concepts, trains managers on their proper application, establishes workshops aimed at enlightening managers on quality improvement principles, and trains managers to be more visionary. To directly tackle the current problems facing the bank, management should adopt more efficient collateral security policies, strengthen cyber security by employing fingerprint scanners in Automated Teller Machines, and programme more efficient security software against cyber criminals.


The purpose of this essay is to discuss on two functions of management and how managers can use them, and concepts within them, to manage quality improvement. Looking at Standard Bank, it is one of South Africa's oldest companies, as it was founded in the Cape Province of South Africa in the year 1862, by John Peterson. It is the largest bank in Africa by asset, and operates in 18 countries on the African continent.

The theories which shall be expounded upon are the management functions of planning which includes strategic management, and leading which includes visionary leadership. Quality improvement will be based on these concepts. Strategic management, under planning, basically refers to when a manager comes up with a new strategy to move an organisation forward. Organisations are advised to use this concept because putting up a new strategy will enable the organisation to realise where they are lacking behind. The concept which shall be fully discussed under leadership is visionary leadership. This has to do with the ability to create and articulate a realistic, attractive and credible vision of the future that improves upon the present. It is necessary for a leader to have a vision because with a vision the organisation cannot move forward.


The world of business is the product of perpetually formulated principles, theories, and concepts. One of such concepts is the management function which is planning - as propounded by Henri Fayol (1916/1930)

Planning is defined, by Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, and Coulter (2012), as a function of management involving the definition of goals of an organisation, establishment of a general strategy to achieve those goals that have been set, and plan development to coordinate and integrate activities. The essence of planning is to assess an organisation’s status quo, and then draft a strategy for the achievement of specific organisational goals for the future. A second side to planning is of course, decision making, since it involves selecting from amongst alternatives (Sakthivel, 2007, p. 41). Decisions made by a manager must be based on rationality and intuition.

In addition, the seventh principle of the ISO9000 (a set of standards published by the International Organisation for Standardisation, that deals with the fundamentals of quality management systems) requires decision making and action taking to be based on factual analysis, balanced with experience and intuition (International Organisation for Standardisation [ISO], 2012).

Planning is done for the purpose of providing direction, reduction of uncertainty, minimisation of waste and redundancy, and setting the standards for controlling (Robbins et al, 2012). The purposes of planning are implied, in that they do not need to be verbalised before they are known.

Koontz and Weihrich (2006, p. 77) even went further to propound a classification of planning into eight categories, two of which are the major elements of planning. These elements are goals and plans. Goals are desired outcomes, and plans are outlines of how goals should be met (Robbins et al, 2012).

Furthermore, organisations perceive planning as a necessity, thus it has become a quotidian element in organisations. Pieter, Cronje, Brevis and Vrba (2011, p. 7) opine that although planning is the task of all managers, the kinds of plan that managers at different levels of an organisation are responsible for, vary in aspects of focus and timespan covered.

Strategic Management and Managing Quality Improvement

A strategy is an organisational plan of action intended for an organisation’s movement toward the accomplishment of its short-term goals and, ultimately toward the achievement of its purposes that are fundamental (Harrison and Caron, 2009). Hence, strategic management denotes the set of actions and decisions used to execute and formulate strategies which will deliver a competitively superior fit between the organisation and its environment in order to realise organisational objectives (Daft and Marcic, 2010, p. 160). Strategic planning is part of strategic management, and it is defined as the process of deciding an organisation’s objectives, deciding on changes in the objectives, on the policies that are to govern the acquisition, and on the resources employed to attain the objectives use, and disposition of these resources (Sakthivel, 2007, p. 87).

When quality improvement is mentioned, it would refer to the ISO9000 definition which is, a part of quality management focused on the ability to fulfill quality requirements (International Organisation for Standardisation [ISO], 2012). Following this definition, it shall be explained how Standard Bank can fulfill its quality requirements apropos its problems.

Standard Bank faces the problem of heavy consumer debts, attributable majorly to the economic blight which South Africa experiences. Standard Bank's exposure to unsecured lending was 10%-20% of total lending (West, 2013, paragraph 6). This problem has led to an increase in the bank's interest rates in order to compensate for the bad debts. This has eventually led to a fall in customer’s expectations in the bank, and thus, Standard Bank’s quality has declined.

The bad debt problem was caused by poor strategic management (securing collateral before issuing debts was not strategically planned), but can still be extinguished by proper strategic management. For a manager to employ strategic management, they need to effectuate six processes. These six processes shall be enumerated, while referring to how it can be used in managing quality improvement in Standard Bank.

The Strategic Management Process

The first step is for the bank’s current missions, goals, and strategies to be identified. This means that the scope of Standard Bank’s services and its measureable performance targets need to be pinpointed.

The second step is to conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, which is basically a combination of an external analysis and an internal analysis. An external analysis is done by analysing specific and general environments. After an external analysis is complete, an internal analysis is also actuated. This analysis requires managers of Standard Bank to review the competencies of their loan issuers and managers, assess the resources available at the disposal of the loan department, evaluate the capabilities of the employees, as well as assess the activities they carry out.

The next step is to formulate strategies meant to tackle the problem. Alternatives have to be cultivated and assessed, and then environmental opportunities shall have to be matched with organisational strengths. This should lead to a rectification of weaknesses. A strategy such as strengthening collateral security policies is likely to be very effective.

The fifth step would be strategy implementation. This involves the application of the previously conceptualised strategies to the organisation’s environment. Therefore, the loan managers would apply the tighter collateral security policies, based on the environment and organisational structure of Standard Bank.

The final step is to evaluate the results and the effectiveness of the implemented strategy, while assessing for necessary adjustments.

The steps elucidated are the process of strategic management, which would enable Standard Bank to improve the quality of their loan services and simultaneously decrease the likelihood of incurring significant bad debts. However, Principle six of the ISO9000 should be permanently engraved within a manager’s mind; the principle states “continual improvement of the organisation’s overall performance should be a permanent objective of the organisation” (International Organisation for Standardisation [ISO], 2012).


Fayol (1916/1930) propounded that leadership is one of the four functions of management, and is very important in an organisation. One can be a manager without being a leader and one can be a leader without being a manager. For anyone to be a manager and a leader at the same time, the person must have the qualities of a good leader and be an effective manager.

Being a leader and a manager there are certain qualities and responsibilities that are attached to it, including charisma, honesty, and inspiration. Charisma has to do with the natural influence and the ability to convince others; honesty is very necessary because people have to trust a manager to enable them to work with them effectively; also inspiration, as a manager is a working good leader, they have to motivate, encourage and assist people together.

Basically they are two types of leaders – transactional and transformational leaders. Transactional leadership is a very common form of leadership in an organisation as this type of leadership has to do with guiding followers in the direction of establishing goals, by classifying roles and task requirements. Followers under this form of leadership sometimes have no choice than to do what they are asked to do because they have to follow a specific direction. An example of such a leader is Raymond Ackerman, the CEO of Pick and Pay stores.

A transformational leader deals with considerations, process, charisma and inspiration. This form of leadership gives followers the freedom to express themselves and contribute ideas that could lead to the growth of an organisation. An example of this type of leader is Nelson Mandela, the former president of the Republic of South Africa.

However, looking at the two types of leadership, transformational leadership is the best form of leadership any organisation should apply, because followers are always motivated to do what they are supposed to do even when they leader is not around to give instructions; this point was proven by Drucker (2004).

It has been believed that many were born to be leaders and some were trained to be leaders. It has been assumed that those who were born to be leaders are better leaders than those who were trained to be leaders; but that is not really true. Trained leaders who really want to become effective as leaders can always develop on that. Leaders must be able to work as a team and give up authority, understanding when to intervene, having patience and sharing information.


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Managing Quality Improvement through Concepts under the Functions of Management
Monash University, South Africa Campus
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ISBN (Book)
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Quality, Concept, Improvement, Management, Functions
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Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Abel Gaiya (Author)Enyong Ita Mkponkeabasi (Author), 2013, Managing Quality Improvement through Concepts under the Functions of Management, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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