Anthony views this third category of organizational planning and control as (1) focusing on specific, discrete tasks and (2) the process of ensuring that those tasks are done effectively and efficiently.
"Task control is the process of ensuring that specific tasks are carried out effectively and efficiently."
As the definition suggests, the focus of operational control is on individual tasks or transaction: scheduling and controlling individual jobs through a shop, as contrasted with measuring the performance of the shop as a whole; procuring specific items for inventory, as contrasted with management of inventory as whole: and so on.
Distinctions Between Task Control And Management Control
Task control is distinguished from management control in the following ways:
- The management control system is basically of similar throughout the organization. Each type task requires a different task control system.
- In management control, managers interact with other managers; in task control either humans are not involved at all, or the interaction is between a manager and a nonmanager.
- In management control the focus is on organizational units called responsibility centers; in task control the focus is on specific tasks.
- Management control relates to activities that are not specified; task control relates to specified tasks.
- In management control the focus is equally on planning and on execution; in task control it is primarily on execution.
An essential characteristic of the process is that the "standard" against which actual performance is measured is consistent with the organization's strategies. Exhibit 6-3 outlines differences among the three types of processes with respect to the nature of the problems that typically are addressed in each process and the types of decisions that are relevant for these problems.
As another way of explaining the differences among the three processes, Exhibit 6-4 gives some examples of activities associated with each.