Good management is a main contributor to the health of an organisation, whether it be a public body or a privately owned company, and whatever its function. As far as the individual is concerned it is never too early to be aware of the management implications of a job, and their importance; nor is there ever a point in an individual's career at which this ceases to be a major consideration. The practice of any specialism is enhanced if it is consciously well-managed. Effective management is not a one-off operation with a beginning and an end, having a single, finite goal in view. Rather it is a continuous process of amplification, something that is constantly being built upon to increase its effect, and effectiveness, throughout the whole passage of a career.
Management involves handling resources and situations. In the context of an information department, 'managing resources' refers to the effective use of staff, finance, space and stock in its widest sense, i.e. information resources and related equipment. Managing situations entails setting-up and handling procedures, such as meetings and interviews, within a defined framework, making decisions and taking responsibility both within the department and outside it, in wider organisational terms. This is also discussed further in Chapter 8. Both resources and situations involve people. In the context of an information department the word 'people' refers not only to staff but also to users-anyone in the organisation, or sometimes outside it, is a potential user. However, it is important to remember that whatever type of organisation you work in, you need to think of people not simply as staff or as potential users of information, but also as colleagues or contacts to whom you relate in other ways.
Organisations have varying hierarchical structures, and accepted degrees of informality. Accordingly behaviour in interpersonal relationships varies. For example, you may behave less formally when discussing a matter among peers, than when reviewing a matter with a group of directors or other senior executives. The interaction between organisation and individual has been discussed in Chapter 2, but organisational climate and structure have considerable influence on the degree of control accorded to managers, and on the scope for entrepreneurial activity. If you want to read more on this, there are numerous comprehensive texts on the subject of organisational behaviour. These cover working relationships and management within organisations, as well as looking at organisations as systems.