THE term “Management” is commonly used and understood in various ways by different people. To the layman on the street, management simply means “to economize”. That is, trying to spread money available across identified needs and meeting some of them at different levels. The emphasis is not on getting the best result. Hence, it is common to hear people say things like “I will manage”, “we are managing”.
However, it will be important to clarify that the boundaries of management goes beyond ensuring effective use of resources. Management also seeks to achieve predetermined objectives at an acceptable cost. In the context of this writing, one can define management as an integrated activity (involving decisions and actions) aimed at harnessing and making maximum use of resources, and identifying opportunities to achieve worthwhile objectives.
As in other sectors of the society, the Governing Councils and other decision makers in the institutions of higher learning and government are responsible for the creation and maintenance of conducive environment for learning. They are also expected to harness the led resources to ensure that the graduates of our tertiary institutions are comparable, acceptable and capable of defending diplomas and degrees anywhere in the world.
Writing on Making sense in Management Theory, Harold Koontz (a foremost Management Scholar) defined managing in the following manner:
“Managing is the art of getting things done and with people in formally organized groups. It is the art of creating an environment in which people can perform as individuals and yet cooperate towards the attainment of group goals. It is the art of removing blocks to such performance, a way of optimizing efficiency in realizing goals”
For managers, administrators and policy makers to succeed in creating the right conditions for achieving desired objectives, they possess:
“Specific managerial skills which pertain to management, rather than to any other discipline. One of these is communication within organizations. Another is the making of decisions under condition of uncertainty. And there is also a specific entrepreneurial skill: strategic planning”
It is not enough for one to claim to know the skills and techniques of management probably on the basis of past experience. This is largely to its obvious inadequacies long identified by Professors Thierauf, Greeding and Klekamp
“Changed conditions may mean that the past is not a good indicator of the future as what is learned from experience is generally circumscribed by the limits of experience.
We cannot over-emphasize the importance of adequate understanding of the principles of management to all managers, administrators and policy makers.
Writing on The changing nature of management process, Paul Okereke noted inter alia:
“Management cannot be learned entirely from books or within the classroom, experience counts… Nevertheless, formal training in management is important for it provides the benefits of accumulated knowledge and interpreted experience, and the application of research findings…”
For a purposeful and proper articulation of policies capable of achieving worthwhile short-term goals and long-term objectives, the dynamics of management must be understood. The kind of management advocated is one that will minimize conflicts and check violent protests. it is proactive; involving purposeful, conscious and positive handling of students’ grievances in such a manner that situations don’t degenerate into violence.
Violence shares certain things in common with natural fire: it is destructive and costly whenever it occurs. The challenge of fighting fire of violent student’s crisis before it starts is one we have to go for The loss of lives and property that results consequent to confrontation between the students and law enforcement agents casts a shadow of doubt on the efficacy of the fire-fighting approach in conflict management.
The basic landmarks which are of course the necessary conditions for the success of this kind of management are three:
1) The authorities should be purposeful in the handing of students’ problems;
2) They should be conscious of the dangers of the fire-fighting approach; and
3) There is the need for them to have a positive attitude towards the students.
A basic precondition for success is for the authorities to be persuaded that it is better to prevent fire than allowing it to start and then trying to fight it. This conviction should be the impetus for those concerned to deliberately evolve credible ways and means of pre-empting dangerous crisis situations.
There is also the need for the authorities to consciously review their traditional fire-fighting strategies of setting up panels of inquiry only after demonstrations. Also to be re-examined is the performance of armed policemen sent to schools and other trouble spots to enforce law and order. The attendant great losses which characterize the reactive approach to students’ crisis management generally underscore the need to reconsider its effectiveness.
We will also emphasize the need for the authorities to fight the problems that cause unrest among students instead of “fighting” the students. A student is not different from any other law-abiding citizen who is well-behaved. He only reacts to unfavourable conditions in order to draw attention of all to it. This attitude towards abnormal phenomena or pains is human.
Violent students’ protest is a double-edged sword. When it occurs, it hurts both sides (students and the society on one hand, and the government and schools on the other). What we require is peace and not war. There is no war without loss: that is, loss to both the victor and the vanquished, even though the weaker party tends to lose more.