More about integrated management

Management comprises the thinking and administrative processes performed by the people responsible for directing and guiding the achievement of the purpose, needs, aspirations and objectives of an organisation, project or task. The performance of an organisation is a judgement made by the internal and external stakeholders with respect to the satisfying of their needs, expectations and aspirations. These may be shared across an organisation’s stakeholders or they may conflict requiring creative resolution. While satisfying stakeholders, organisations also have to make the best use of resources that are available which in turn may impact stakeholders needs, expectations and aspirations. 
 
Integrated management is management that which is conducted in such a way that it is not fragmented either conceptually or in practice. It is simply about forgetting to fragment management, not compartmentalising it, not conducting it in isolated silos, always formulating problems in terms of the big picture, always understanding a stakeholder’s needs, expectations and aspirations with respect to those of the other stakeholders. However, integrated management does not preclude using reductionist analysis provided that it is always associated with synthesis such that any element is viewed with respect to the whole. It is analogous to one eye zooming in while the other eye is simultaneously zooming out. Fundamentally, integrated management is an attitude to management that employs joined up thinking. However, from this basic axiom many conceptual understandings and practical benefits emerge which enable an organisation to optimise the fulfilment of its purpose leading to greater success and the ability to endure in a competitive and evolving environment. It also enables the organisation to fully exploit its intelligence and creativity and behave in a fully coherent way. 
 
IMSIG defined the following formal definition of integrated management in 2002: “Integrated Management is the understanding and effective direction of every aspect of an organisation so that the needs and expectations of all stakeholders are equitably satisfied by the best use of all resources.” 
 
This definition is contained and elaborated in the IMSIG paper: ‘Integrated Management Definition’. It should be noted that the concept of sustainability naturally emerges from the IMSIG definition of integrated management when we recognise that stakeholders can be global and those as yet unborn.