The first contact for every individual in this world is her/his family. The family is a socially recognized unit of people united together by marriage, kinship or legal ties. Management in the context on the family is the natural outgrowth of human asso-ciations and interactions. Its ultimate aim is to provide for optimal development of its individual members. Management of family allows us to overcome our indi-vidual limitations. Through the combina-tion of individual efforts and resources, we achieve far more than what we could do independently. Most families are not aware of all the resources at their disposal, the quality and quantity of resources that each family has, varies.
Resources can be defined as anything we use to achieve what we want (our goals). In other words, they are the materials and human attributes which satisfy our wants.
The concept of management involves planned use of resources directed towards the achievement of desired ends. This involves the weighing of values and the making of series of decisions.
In home management, a home in which goals (ends) are being attained with some degree of satisfaction may be consid-ered as well managed home where manage-ment is practiced in an orderly manner.
Home management is the vital fac-tor in every family contributing to the overall health, happiness and well- being and higher standard of living for the family members. In simpler terms, home management is defined as the mental pro-cess of utilising the available resources to achieve what you want in life.
Figure - 1 indicates that manage-ment is a process involving activities, through which action is initiated and resources are used for achieving a goal. For this purpose, certain guidelines in the form of values, goals and standards can be formulated by every manager. For sure attainment of desired goals it becomes essential to plan, organise, coordinate and control all the activities, so that the resources are not wasted.
· Management process consists of five steps 1) Planning 2) Organizing 3) Directing. Controlling 5) Evaluating and are dis-cussed below in detail.
Planning is very important to the success of management process. It is basically working out ways or course of action to achieve the goals. Planning can be habit-ual or conscious.
Planning involves thinking through the possible ways of reaching a desired goal. It also involves developing a sequence of actions within an overall organizational structure.
The entire task from beginning to its completion must be viewed in whole. If the paths leading to the goals are easy to see, the choice of the best plan can be made quickly. When the path is hard to see due to some obstacle, the planner must find ways of overcoming them. As children do not have enough experience, they can get the help of an experienced adult to plan. The final act in planning is arriving at a decision. ‘It is the gate that releases action’.
Good planning requires the use of the powers of thinking, memory, obser-vation, reasoning and imagination.
These powers, make it easier to plan and to meet situations in everyday living. For example the following points should be borne in mind while planning a birthday party.
· The place or the venue of the party.
· Number of invitees
· How much money are we going to spend?
· When are we going to have the party?
While planning, the following points should be considered.
· There should be a balance between the amount of resources available and the demands or needs.
· The decision should be made accord-ing to individual situations.
· The plan should be realistic.
The plan should be flexible.
Single-use plan is one that is devel-oped for a specific function, event or activity with the anticipation it will not be used again. While repeat use plan is one that is developed in the anticipa-tion, it will be modified and frequently used in similar situations, for similar demands or events or to resolve like problems. Sequencing is a phase of the planning component of management process in which all tasks necessary to achieve the goal are placed in a logical order; the standards for each task are established.
Organising involves the performance of the following tasks.
· Division of work among employees (assignment of duties)
· Delegation of authority (transfer of official rights by a superior to his subordinate)
· Creation of accountability (the sub-ordinate, to whom work has been assigned and authority has been delegated, is made answerable for the progress of work).
Directing the human resource does not mean the process of issuing mere orders and instruction to the subordinate staff. It is, in fact, the process of supervising, guiding and motivating the employees in order to get the best out of them. By performing the directing function, the human resource manager will also be able to get the whole –hearted support and co-operation of all his subordinate staff. This help in the effective attainment of the enterprise objective.
Controlling is carrying out the plan. This step calls for flexibility in think-ing. At times new decisions are required which may result in changes in plan. For example: when the menus are planned for meals, if certain things are not available during shopping a fresh decision need to be made. The different phases of con-trolling are
· Energising: This is initiating and sustaining the action. The individ-uals who are involved in doing a particular task must be energized in order to get results. In spite of hav-ing a good plan, sometimes imple-menting the plan would become difficult. Here, the energizing func-tion would act as a catalyst.
· Checking: This is a quick step by step evaluation of the progress of a plan. To go to school on time one has to get the clothes, the meals and books ready, which need checking of time at all stages.
· Adjusting: Adjusting is done in the plan if there is a need for fresh decisions to be taken. This should be done taking into account the problem in hand and the resources available. Getting into action, keeping the resources mobile and knowledge of what is to be done are all important in this step.
This is a checking up process, which may help one move forward. The efficiency of the process and the quality of the end product are to be checked. When there is clear cut objectives it becomes easier to evaluate the entire process. The suc-cess or failure of the plan must be evalu-ated on the basis of the set goals. In case of failure the demerits of the plan may be noted and rectified while making further plans. Evaluation can be general or more detailed.
Thus management in the home is a dynamic force in day to day living and is the administrative side of family liv-ing. The steps in the management pro-cess are interdependent and interrelated for efficient, effective and dynamic use of resources which leads to the proper man-agement of the house, whereby goals are achieved to attain maximum satisfaction.