Brenda Massetti, Ph.D.
“Fundamentals of Management,” chapter 2 in A Concise Guide to Catholic Church Management (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2010).
Reviewed by Mark F. Fischer
Chapter Two in the Concise Guide, entitled “Fundamentals of Management,” was written by Brenda Massetti, Associate Professor at the Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University. She divides the process of management into four areas – planning, organizing, influencing, and controlling – but suggests that the first is the foundation of all the others.
Planning is the process, as Massetti simply puts it, of “picking a future” (28). But everything depends on the qualities of the goals one chooses. Massetti advocates goals that are (in the acronym of Gene Donohue) “SMART”: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (27). The task of the good manager, she says, is to oversee the process by which the parish attains its goals.
Influencing others, Massetti says, is the function by which the manager is most often judged. People ask first whether the manager is “effective” (that is, whether the manager achieves the goals of the organization). Secondly, people if the manager is “efficient” (i.e., prudent in using the organization’s resources).
Massetti illustrates the difference by means of a facetious but revealing example: “If you spend hundreds of dollars sending weekly formal invitations to Mass attendance, have taxis carry otherwise healthy parishioners to and from Mass, and throw festive ‘after parties’ to get that 10 percent increase in Mass attendance, then you have been effective while being extremely inefficient” (33).
The value of Massetti’s chapter is its concreteness. The good manager, she says, not only has SMART goals, but measures whether or not the parish is achieving them. When the goals are achieved effectively and efficiently, then the parish is well managed.
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