Together with regulation, supervision, in the direct meaning of the word, makes up the concept of steering. Supervision refers to measures and actions that influence a system in such a way that it behaves according to certain guidelines – thereby achieving its objectives. Supervision, in the direct meaning of the word, fulfils a “feed forward”-function: it acts proactively and in anticipation of future changes and impacts. This is different to the idea of regulation, which is linked to a process of feedback.

In a broader sense of the word supervision is synonymous with management.