The relationship between controlling and planning functions of management can be understood with the help of the following points:
(i) Planning and controlling are inseparable twins of management: A system of control presupposes the existence of certain standards provided by planning. Once a plan becomes operational, controlling is necessary to monitor the progress, measure it, discover deviations and initiate corrective measures to ensure that events conform to the plans. Thus, planning without controlling is meaningless.
(ii) Controlling is blind without planning: If the standards are not set in advance, managers have nothing to control. When there is no plan, there is no basis of controlling. Planning is clearly a prerequisite for controlling. Without planning there is no predetermined understanding of the desired performance. Planning seeks consistent, integrated and articulated programmes while controlling seeks to compel events to conform to plans.
(iii) Planning is prescriptive while controlling is evaluative: Planning is basically an intellectual process involving thinking, articulation and analysis to discover and prescribe an appropriate course of action for achieving objectives. Controlling, on the other hand, checks whether decisions have been translated into desired action. Planning is thus, prescriptive whereas, controlling is evaluative.
(iv) Planning and controlling are both backward and forward-looking functions: Plans are prepared for the future and are based on forecasts about future conditions. Therefore, planning involves looking ahead and is called a Forward-Looking Function. On the contrary, controlling is like a postmortem of past activities to find out deviation from the standards. In that sense, controlling is a backwards-looking function. Also, planning is guided by past experiences and the corrective action initiated by the control function aims to improve future performance. This, planning and controlling are both Backward-Looking as well as ForwardLooking Functions.
Thus, planning and controlling are interrelated and, in fact, reinforce each other in the sense that: (a) Planning based on facts makes controlling easier and effective. (b) Controlling improves future planning by providing information derived from the past experience.