Everything you need to know about – roles of a manager. Management is a critical variable and the success is dependent upon the managerial talent and abilities of managers.
It is the manager’s responsibility to get physical resources utilized through employees effectively and efficiently for achieving pre-determined objectives.
Every manager has to perform certain basic functions and play his role to get better results. The role of the manager is identified in terms of his position and pattern of behaviour which he is expected to adopt in relation to his subordinates, peers and other superiors.
The roles of a manager are divided into:- 1. Inter Personal Roles 2. Informational Roles 3. Decisional Roles.
The first set of behaviour concerns interpersonal roles, which include the following:- i. Figurehead ii. Leader iii. Liasion.
Mintzberg’s three informational roles are follows:- i. Monitor ii. Disseminator iii. Spokesperson
Mintzberg identified four roles within the list of his behaviourial sets. These are as follows:- i. Entrepreneur ii. Disturbance Handler iii. Resource Allocator iv. Negotiator.
Additionally, learn about:- i. Characteristics that are Common to Most of the Managers ii. Management Activities Performed by Managers iii. Grounds on which Managers’ Jobs can be Distinguished from One Another
iv. Technical, Human and Conceptual Knowledge and Skills v. Type of Knowledge and Skills Requirement at each Level vi. What Makes a Good Manager?
Learn about the Roles of a Manager: Inter Personal Roles, Informational Roles and Decisional Roles
Roles of a Manager – Inter Personal Roles, Informational Roles and Decisional Roles (With Characteristics that are Common to Most of the Managers)
Some of the characteristics that are common to most of the managers are as follows:
(i) Managers spend a major portion of their time in achieving coordination between human and non-human resources.
(ii) Managers do much work at an unrelenting pace.
(iii) Managerial tasks are characterised by beauty, variety, and fragmentation.
(iv) Managers prefer live action-brief, specific, well-defined.
(v) Managers prefer oral to written communication.
(vi) Managers maintain a vast number of contacts, spending most time with subordinates, linking them with supervisor and others in a complex network.
The first set of behaviour concerns interpersonal roles, which include the following:
Executive managers perform a number of ceremonial duties such as representing their firm at public affairs and overseeing official functions. Lower level managers have ceremonial duties as well, perhaps on a lesser scale, including attending employee’s weddings, greeting visitors, and hosting customers.
This encompasses a range of duties suggested earlier including motivating workers, guiding work-related behaviour, and encouraging activities that help achieve organisational objectives.
Managers find themselves acting as liasion (bond) between groups and individuals which are part of, or come in contact with, an organisation. The liasion role is important for establishing contacts with suppliers, coordinating activities among work groups, and encouraging harmony needed to assure effective performance.
Informational roles refer to the role of manager where he is responsible for gathering and using information to help make effective decisions. Additionally he should be able to communicate to transmit the information and articulate decisions.
Mintzberg’s three informational roles are follows:
Managers monitor activity, solicit information, gather data, and observe behaviour. Well-informed managers are prepared for decision-making and can redirect behaviour to improve organisational performance.
Here communications are reversed. Rather than receive information, managers transmit information. Obviously, this is a crucial aspect of management. Subordinates, superiors and managers of similar work groups rely on timely information disseminated with clarity.
Top executives find themselves more involved as spokesperson than lower-level managers. A firm’s policy on competition, its philosophy of customer care, and its commitment to safety are topics common in executive speeches. However, managers at all levels are spokespersons who may be called upon to represent their groups.
When department heads meet to discuss operating budgets, they must be prepared to present information and support budget requests of their respective departments.
Mintzberg identified four roles within the list of his behaviourial sets. These are as follows:
In recent years, entrepreneurs have been identified with a commitment to innovation. Managers in complex organisations let in entrepreneurial way, by constantly trying to improve their operations. They seek new ways of using resources, new technologies for enhanced performance, and new systems of organising human resources.
(ii) Disturbance Handler:
Historically, this may be the best understood role of managers because they have always had the primary responsibility for resolving problems. It may also be the most stressful role as managers seem to find themselves constantly faced with disturbances that threaten the harmony and effectiveness of their organisation.
(iii) Resource Allocator:
The third role links planning and organising functions. Managers must plan to meet their objectives and distribute resources accordingly. There will be sufficient time, money, materials, or manpower to accomplish all that is expected, so resource allocation often involves carefully assigning scarce resources.
Roles of a Manager – According to Henry Mintzberg: Acting as ‘Figurehead’, Providing Leadership, Being ‘Liaison’ or ‘Relationship Person’, Entrepreneur and a Few Others
i. Management activities appear to be all alike:
On the face of it, there seems to be little difference between activities performed by different managers. Every manager, irrespective of the nature of his job or placement in organization hierarchy, is required to plan and make decisions, organize authority-responsibility positions and find competent and committed people to fill them; effectively lead and motivate subordinates and, last but not least, control their performance such that it is in conformity with the prescribed standards.
Besides being the leader of his subordinates, he is expected to develop among them a spirit of fellow-feeling, camaraderie such that they willingly relate to other individuals and groups in the organization. Last but not least, he monitors and interprets information from both within and outside the organization and shares it with them.
However, it cannot be assumed that all management jobs are identical. In fact, there are, and bound to be, differences between management activities. Such differences are mainly due to the nature of management work, type of subordinates, and the manager’s own personality.
Rosemary Stewart, a management guru, distinguishes management jobs on identifiable counts; here, a paraphrasing of the distinguishing features:
Some managers, by the very nature of their jobs, have to create and maintain contact with a variety of people, be they peers or subordinates in the organization, or his counterparts outside. This takes a good part of their working time—talking to people, calling on them, attending meetings, conferences, etc.
However, while doing this their working time is not much fragmented; they do not switch from one task to another. A sales manager will only talk sales, a personnel manager will only discuss matters relating to selection, training and placement.
Staff managers, dealing with financial, legal or tax matters, also belong to this category though their contacts with people are not as numerous; they mainly talk to people working within the organization.
Some managers have freedom to determine their own work pattern while others have to respond to requirements of others. A Sales Manager has to answer queries and clarifications sought by customers, a Production Manager must produce goods that are in short supply. They have to handle work pressure because they have to meet deadlines, and slackness on their part will result in cancellation of orders and loss to the organization.
But there are others whose work is not as tension-ridden and they can determine their own time-table to complete their work. A Personnel Manager, asked to suggest ways to improve work productivity, need be in no great hurry to complete his report.
Some managers, like Works Manager or Production Manager of a company that is in the business of manufacturing fast-moving-consumer-goods, are constantly under pressure to meet the increasing demand for goods. Particularly when there is machinery breakdown, or labor unrest, they have to assume the role of trouble shooters, finding quick solutions to problems on hand.
Their working-time is also considerably fragmented, because they have often to switch from one task to another; from supervising workers, to keeping machines in working condition, from sorting out workers’ grievances to providing healthcare to workers injured while operating machines.
Some managers are tasked with greater responsibility; their responsibility ranges from procurement and use of physical and technological resources to production of goods and services.
Greater responsibility also brings greater authority. They define the goals of the organization, split the total effort required to meet the goals into various activities, and coordinate and control the performance of those activities to see that they are directed to achieve the desired results. The mechanism by which responsibility and authority is distributed among managerial personnel is called hierarchy of authority.
Some managers have to be constantly on the move to perform their tasks and duties, travelling from place to place in and outside the country; on the other hand, there are those whose duties keep them desk-bound in the office. Managers constantly on the move, or working overtime all days of the week, have little time to call their own and are hard-pressed to spend quality time with their family.
Henry Mintzberg, a management expert, describes a set of roles played by a manager:
(a) Acting as ‘Figurehead’:
In this role, a manager performs duties of a legal or ceremonial nature, such as welcoming and meeting visitors, giving testimonials to employees, and so on.
(b) Providing Leadership:
As leader, a manager provides energetic and vibrant direction to his subordinates through able guidance and motivation.
(c) Being ‘Liaison’ or ‘Relationship Person’:
This role requires the manager to keep in touch with his peers in different departments of the organization. Because organization activities are inter-dependent, it helps to maintain contacts with peers heading different departments.
(a) Monitoring, Analyzing and Interpreting Information:
In this role the manager receives and analyses relevant information gathered from within and outside the organization and transmits it to appropriate persons.
(b) Disseminating or Transmitting Relevant Information:
A manager, as disseminator of information, gathers information from within and outside the organization, analyzes relevant information and transmits it to appropriate persons within and outside the organization. He performs this role also when, after touring places, he calls a meeting and shares information and travel experiences with others.
(c) His Role as Spokesperson:
Conduit between organization and outsiders – In this role the manager acts as representative of the organization to transmit information to people outside the organization. Thus, when he negotiates with trade union leaders, or speaks to the media people, he acts as spokesperson of the organization.
A manager assumes the role of entrepreneur when he initiates any change in equipment or work methods—like a typesetter taking to computers in place of the traditional letter-press setting.
(b) Disturbance Handler:
In this role the manager is a trouble shooter, rushing in to provide solution in any crisis. Breakdown of a machine, dispute between subordinates, strike call by labor union, withdrawal of credit facility by suppliers of material, loss of a valued customer—these are examples of crises which require swift and tactful handling by manager.
(c) Resource Allocator:
A manager is concerned with performance in the pursuit of organizational goals. However, performance of his subordinates has to be at a satisfactory level. A business organization, like any other entity, draws on a resources-starved society to acquire its resources and is therefore duty-bound to try producing greater output with existing resources, or same output with fewer resources—the basic principle of efficiency.
The manager has to determine the allocation of resources—funds, equipment, space and time among different tasks. Accordingly, he sets time-table for completion of each task, and approves expenditure on particular tasks and projects.
A manager is often required to consult experts, whether within or outside the organization, to solve any intricate issue, like finalizing purchase of heavy machinery or plant, or acquiring a running entity. The subject-matter of such consultation may be negotiating the terms of a particular deal, contract employment, etc.
It is part of duty of managers at all levels in an organization to plan, organize, direct and control and ensure coordination of the performance of tasks and duties assigned to their subordinates. However, there is difference in the degree of time and attention each manager devotes to these activities. This difference is owing to the nature of activities performed by organization and the task assigned to the manager.
A manager at each level will necessarily require technical, human and conceptual knowledge and skills to perform the tasks assigned to him. However, the knowledge and skills-mix will be different at each level depending on the tasks performed by the manager.
Technical knowledge refers to the knowledge required to perform the tasks and activities at a given level. Technical skills represent techniques, practices, tools and processes often needed by operative, front-line workers. Knowledge in any field, combined with skills to translate it in practice, creates expertise.
This expertise may relate to any field—production processes, work procedures, or management of marketing, sales, and financial and personnel functions. Specialized knowledge and skills cover a wide range—operation of machinery, plant, computer-systems, fixing them in case of breakdown, storage of materials, packaging and delivering goods to desired destinations.
These include an ability to work with, and through subordinates, and to direct and motivate them such that they deliver the desired performance. These qualities require thorough understanding of individual and group behavior, and methods and techniques to win willing co-operation from workers performing individually or in groups.
A manager should know what he expects his subordinates to do. He should instruct and train them on the methods and techniques to raise their skill-levels. He should effectively supervise, motivate and lead them from front in performance of their tasks. He should be assertive, creative, and flexible in his dealings with them.
Moreover, he should himself possess and display the qualities that he wants to inculcate in his subordinates—sincerity, stability, reliability, self-discipline, self-confidence, and ability to handle work-related stress.
These include an ability to view the organization as a whole and to integrate the multiplicity of functions performed keeping in view the internal and external environments. Managers having conceptual skills think creatively and are able to unravel and understand even the most complicated, abstract ideas.
Then only they can conceive ideas which have yet to take a practical shape. Application of conceptual knowledge and skills may involve formulation of a plan to introduce a new product, to explore new markets, or trying out new methods of production, marketing, sales and financing.
According to Robert Katz, while all three skills—technical, human and conceptual—are, by and large, essential for effective management at all levels; there must necessarily be difference in the degree to which each management level needs them. The difference will be because of the role of individual managers in the organization.
Technical knowledge and skills will be the most in demand at lower levels of management. This is because managers at this level deal with the frontline workers—shop-floor workers in production department. A supervisor in the production department, for example, will need to possess more of technical skills than a deputy production manager looking after inventory management.
This is because he is the man on the spot where day-to-day manufacturing operations are carried out. In case of machinery breakdown or power failure in the factory, it is for the supervisor to help detect and solve the problem. Same, when a worker injures himself while working on a machine.
A supervisor also needs to possess significant human skills because it is at his level that largest numbers of manager-subordinate interactions take place. Moreover, he deals with persons who are usually low-paid, job-stressed, and unaware of how their performance of a small task contributes to the making of the final product.
Middle-level managers need greater human skills because they communicate with managers up, down and across the organization. They will also need conceptual skills to set departmental goals for achievement of specific objectives.
Conceptual knowledge and skills become more and more important as one climbs up the management ladder. A senior manager will require conceptual knowledge and skills because he visualizes the entire organization and creatively works with ideas and relationships between abstract concepts.
He plans for the long-term and is ever engaged in shaping the organization to meet the challenges posed by external environment. But he also needs to possess a certain level of technical and human skills to keep in touch with people who have ears to the ground.
Roles of a Manager – 3 Phases of a Manager’s Work Role: Interpersonal Roles, Informational Roles and Decisional Roles
Responsibilities of Management:
The managers have obligations towards three social groups- (a) those who have appointed them, (b) those whom they manage, and (c) the general community. They have the responsibility of serving the employers within the limits imposed by obligations to other groups which they must also serve.
Likewise, they owe it to the personnel working under their guidance and direction that they are fair to them and are ever conscious of their physical and emotional requirements. To the community, the managers owe the responsibility for providing goods or services at reasonable cost. They have the obligation of ensuring the maximum utilisation of its productive resources and the allocation of these resources to meet in a balanced and fair manner the varied needs of the consumers.
Peter F. Drucker assigns three jobs to management. According to him, management has a responsibility for- (i) managing a business; (ii) managing managers; (iii) managing workers and work. He is of the view that management must place economic performance above everything else. “It can justify its existence and its authority by the economic results it produces.” This means that the management’s first job is to manage business and produce economic results that justify the confidence and authority vested in it by the investors and the community.
Following with the above argument, economic performance can be obtained only from a productive enterprise. Therefore, the management has the responsibility of making a productive enterprise out of human and material resources. Since human resources can be made almost infinitely productive, management must manage them well. This is what Drucker describes as ‘managing the managers’. He includes the rank and file of workers among managers on the ground that even a worker’s job does involve some management.
The final job of management, according to Drucker, is managing worker and work. “This implies organisation of the work so as to make it most suitable for human beings, and organisation of people so as to make them work most productively and effectively.”
While we generally try to understand the nature of management by looking at the process involved in this function, another approach is to take management in the sense of what a manager does. This second approach is necessitated by the fact that in the day-to-day problem-solving and functional life of a manager, it is not easy to mark out when he is planning or organising or coordinating, etc.
These words, therefore, appear to be vague objectives of managerial work but not descriptions of actual work of managers. How can, then, the real work of a manager be described? This can be done by examining the work roles that he has to perform as a part of his work-a-day managerial life.
Several attempts have been made to study the functions of a manager by referring to his behaviour. However, those studies which relate to the activities performed by a manager in his role are of greater use from our point of view because they provide more useful and direct clues to an understanding of what the manager does. Notable among these studies are few Carlton studies of nine Swedish Managers and Directors and the study by Rosemary Stewart of 160 senior and middle managers in Britain.
While these other studies are valuable in their own way, one that seems to provide a more direct understanding of the manager’s role is the study by Henry Mintzberg. Mintzberg used the concept of ‘role’ a term borrowed from the theatre. In any drama, a role assigned to a person relates to the behaviour that he is expected to perform while playing a particular character in the given script.
Likewise, in life, each one of us is trying to engage in a particular kind of behaviour in discharging our roles as sons, daughters, fathers, husbands, students, teachers and so forth. In its application to organisation, a role could be defined as an organised study of behaviour belonging to an individual, office or positions.
In any organisational unit whether it is company or a department in a company, the manager stands between his organisation and its environments. For instance, the Chief Executive of a company guides his firm and looks out to an environment consisting of competitors, suppliers, Government, financiers and so on.
The foreman or the supervisor guides his subordinates on the shop floor and looks out to his colleagues and others within the organisation and also to suppliers and others outside the firm. In short, each manager has to manage an organisation within a complex environment. To be able to do so, the manager has to perform a set of managerial roles and the requirements of these roles lead to certain common work characteristics.
Henry Mintzberg made a detailed study of the work of Chief Executives. He examined each contact and observed each piece or mail received and sent out by the executives studied by him.
On the basis of this study, he came to the conclusion that managerial activity may be divided conveniently into three groups:
(а) Those which are concerned primarily with inter-personal relationships,
(b) Those that deal primarily with transfer of information, and
(c) Those that essentially involve decision-making.
On this basis, a manager’s work role has three phases:
1. Interpersonal Role,
2. Informational Role, and
1. Interpersonal Role:
This role relates to his contacts and dealings with other people. Formal authority of a manager gives him a special position of status in the organisation. Because of this, he performs the role of a figurehead that is the head of a particular unit, however large or small in the organisation.
Secondly, the manager has to represent his organisation in all matters of formality. This again arises out of his status. This is called the liaison role in which he establishes contacts with his equals and over people outside his organisation to gain favours and information.
Thirdly, the manager has to communicate with his subordinates, motivates them and activates them to work in pursuit of desired objectives. This is his role as a leader.
Because of his inter personal role as a figurehead, as a liaison man and a leader, the manager is in a unique position to get information. His contacts with the outside world and his leadership position make him a focal point of information. He, therefore, becomes a kind of nerve center of organisational information. In this aspect of his role, a manager has to receive and collect information so that he can develop a thorough understanding of his organisation. This may be called the monitor role.
Secondly, he functions as a disseminator. In this aspect, he transmits special information into his organisation. This information is gathered by him from his environments and from his own equals in the organisation.
Thirdly, he performs a spokesman’s role by disseminating the organisation’s information into its environment. For example, he may negotiate with suppliers or talk to a group of union people not belonging to his own organisation and may have to provide information to these people about his own organisation.
Because of his unique access to information and his special position and authority, a manager naturally occupies a central point in the system. This naturally means that he would be performing significant and organisational duties. There are four decisional roles that he has to perform:
First, he has to perform the entrepreneur’s role by initiating change and taking the risk that is involved in introducing change.
Secondly, he has to assume the role of a discerning handler by taking charge whenever his organisation is threatened. The threat may come from within or from outside.
Thirdly, he performs the role of on allocator of resources when he decides how and where his organisation will expand its efforts and resources.
Fourthly, he performs the negotiator’s role in which he deals with those situations where he has to enter into negotiations on-behalf of the organisation.
In order for you to achieve long term goals and commit to strategies for substantial earnings, you have to communicate the visions of the company to your subordinates. You break down and clarify the goals that each team or individual has to perform and assign work schedules and strategies.
It also involves thinking and planning out strategies on how to improve quality and also being cost conscious and effective. Having goals and planning out the directions allow for effective time management and saves cost and resources.
Your position entails you to guide and give direction so that the team can perform effectively. You offer on the job coaching, training and support. In order for individuals to meet the needs and objectives, they may need extra input, information or skills.
The performance of your team depends on your abilities to empower them. How well a person performs depends on his motivation. Your tasks as the boss is to encourage and coach others to improve themselves and the quality of their work. You need to instill in them the desire to excel and accept responsibility and self-management.
You need to have the capacity to evaluate and examine a process or procedure and decide on the best choice to produce an outcome. You look at the importance, quality and values and then taking the best approach. You are also expected to track the progress of each employee’s activities and effectiveness, review them and offer feedback and counselling.
The important features of Management are as under:
1. A bias for action – Managers must work on the concept of “Do it, fix it and try it”. They must be high on action.
2. Proximity to Consumer – In other to be in the market, customers’ needs have to be satisfied and better quality products and service need to be provided.
3. Autonomy and entrepreneur ship – Managers need to think independently and innovatively. Risk must be taken in a calculated way and must be encouraged.
4. People Productivity – Managers must respect their people as they are the drivers of innovation and success of the company.
5. Value-driven – The managers must be ethical and value driven. They must follow the concept of Corporate Governance.
6. Adequate Leadership – Successful companies have a balance of centeralisation and decentralization. Also the structure of the Organisation should be lean and simple.
Roles of a Manager – Decision Roles: Entrepreneur, Stabilizer and Resource Allocator
Every manager should possess skills to perform their jobs effectively. But what actually they do at their work place has to be examined. A vital study was made by Henry Mintzberg regarding the work culture of managers. By observing five chief executives for two weeks, he concluded “That managers perform ten different but closely related roles.” He has categorised three main roles in which all the ten roles are performed. They are – (1) Decision Roles (2) Inter-Personal Roles and (3) Informational Roles.
Decision-making is one of the vital functions of a manager. He is a good decision master. To take appropriate decisions, managers should gather correct information relating to the issue.
They should also develop interpersonal relationship. These act as vital tools in good decision-making.
The decision roles that a manager plays are:
(iii) Resource allocator and
The role of “Entrepreneur” that a manager plays is a vital one. An effective manager will always be fond of innovative ideas to improve the quality of work in an organisation. This quality of thinking is an essential character of an entrepreneur and will motivate the manager to take good decision in the path of progress.
New product ideas, developing sound operational goals and objectives of the proposed business innovative marketing operation, real budgeting to have cost-effectiveness and sound financial operations are the qualities of an entrepreneur which should be normally imbibed in a manager, who plays a decision-making role to take the organisation on a sound track. He sets the goals for himself and for all employees to perform. He is an entrepreneur.
Another role that a manager plays related to decision making is “Disturbance handler.” A manager working in any level should be able to resolve the crisis that may emerge. He should take quick decisions to maintain ‘stability’ in the work environment. There will be several disturbances in the work process. Say the power crisis. If the power fails frequently, the production schedule affects. Hence, the plant manager should take quick decision to provide alternative power by installing captive generator set.
Similarly, the management is facing resource crunch. The finance manager should give an immediate solution to overcome disturbing situation. He is a link between top brass and workforce and acts as a liaison between them in times of conflict, providing necessary information. Thus, a manager at any level should be capable of handling any type of disturbance that may affect the work at his level. Thus, he plays the role of disturbance handler.
(iii) Resource Allocator:
Proper allocation of resources is another crucial task before the manager. Resources here refer to monetary, technical and human resources. The organisations are not fully endowed with all the resources. The scarce resources are to be judiciously allocated to get the full advantage of production and sales. “Resource allocation, therefore, is one of the most critical of the manager’s decisions roles.” A finance manager should decide whether debentures are to be raised to get required working capital.
Similarly, a marketing manager should decide whether a product has to be introduced to improve the market share of the firm, with the available resources. Thus, a manager, in a decision-making process, should also know about the real resources of the firm available to his tasks and allocate it judiciously between various tasks. Thus, he is a good financial analyst, acts as a good guide in all concerned matters.
Management (means the people involved in the operations of the organisation) should be aware of the situations and should know as to how the organisational resources have to be utilized. The resources comprise of (a) human (b) monetary (c) raw materials and (d) finance. All these resources have to be judiciously applied for the success of the organisation.
In Judicious application of organisational resources the management has to consider two vital aspects:
(a) Managerial effectiveness and
(b) Managerial efficiency.
Effectiveness and Efficiency are required to maximise organisational success.
(a) Managerial Effectiveness:
This aspect is examined in terms of resource utilization to achieve organisational goal. The concept explains the degree to which management achieves organisational objectives. This entails promptly achieving a stated objective. It is doing things right.
(b) Managerial Efficiency:
This depicts as how a management manager deploys organisational resources for the success of the organisation. It shows the degree to which organisational resources contribute to productivity of operational process of the organisation. This can be measured by the extent of resources used in the operational process in the organisation. Efficiency is assessed by weighing the resources against what is accomplished. If cost-benefit ratio is favourable, it is more efficient. It is to do right things.
Roles of a Manager – 10 Basic Roles of a Manager
Management is a critical variable and the success is dependent upon the managerial talent and abilities of managers. It is the manager’s responsibility to get physical resources utilized through employees effectively and efficiently for achieving pre-determined objectives.
Every manager has to perform certain basic functions and play his role to get better results. The role of the manager is identified in terms of his position and pattern of behaviour which he is expected to adopt in relation to his subordinates, peers and other superiors.
A role consists of the behaviour patterns expected of a manager within an organisation or a functional unit. A manager moves up vertically to a higher position as his work-load increases and job contents change. Henry Mintzberg conducted a comprehensive survey on the subject of managerial roles and integrated his findings with the results of a study of five practicing Chief executives.
He identified ten basic roles performed by managers at all levels from foreman to chief executives and classified into three heads – (i) Interpersonal, (ii) Informational, and (iii) Decisional. Henry Mintzberg identified these on the basis of study of behaviour of executives at work.
The ten managerial roles are given below:
Managers need to interact with subordinates to get things done by them, and also communicate with superiors, peers, leaders, customers, government and higher agencies whose interest is involved in the business. Managers interact with the people in the organisation and play an interpersonal role to run the organisation smoothly. Interpersonal role helps to establish effective and congenial interpersonal relationships and personal rapport with the parties.
Such role involves the following three types of roles:
(i) Figurehead Roles:
Manager perform symbolic duties by the status of his office, to carry out a variety of duties. A manager assumes this role because of the position occupied. Manager works in a line of authority. As a symbol of formal authority, he performs various ceremonial duties, e.g., Making speeches, bestowing honours, welcoming official visitors and signing various documents, etc. As a figurehead role, manager performs routine duties of a legal or social nature.
(ii) Leadership Roles:
The most important role of the manager is to lead, guide and motivate subordinates. The leadership qualities of the manager help him in influencing the working behaviour of subordinates, contributing to a higher level of efficiency. The manager motivates the subordinates to achieve the related objectives. He sets an example and legitimizes the powers of the subordinates.
(iii) Liaison Role:
It describes a manager’s relationship with the outsiders. The manager serves as a liaison between the organisation and outside agencies, i.e., customers, suppliers, community and others. A manager has the responsibility to maintain a positive relationship with the outside agencies.
The managers have to undertake liaison to assess the external environment to enable the organization to cope with it. The managers sometimes indulge in power and politics to negotiate and compromise with internal and external powers.
Receiving and transmitting information are integral aspects of a manager’s job. Manager needs information to take decisions and pass necessary orders to others to facilitate their tasks.
To preserve and protect the identity of an organisation and to secure its smooth functioning, the manager has to scan the external environment on a regular basis and to deal with outside parties effectively for which he has to gather a lot of relevant information on various matters concerning the organisation.
(i) Monitor Role:
The manager initiates and deals with outsiders and insiders and scans the external environment constantly to get information. It implies seeking and receiving information about his organisation and external events. A manager observes, collects and reviews data on the meeting of standards. He receives information usually through a networks of contacts.
(ii) Disseminator Role:
It involves transmitting information and judgements to the members of the organisation. The manager transmits selected information which he has compiled through the role of monitor to his subordinates. He keeps them well-informed regarding any change in the process, structure, policies and other plans of the organisation.
The information is disseminated among the subordinates by him through formal or informal meetings, memorandums, orders and instructions issued time to time. It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure that subordinates have the information they need to carry out their duties.
(3) Spokesperson Role:
A manager speaks for his organisation. He lobbies and defends his enterprise. Managers act as spokespersons or representatives of the organisation. He keeps outside parties well-informed on behalf of the organisation. He negotiates and enters into compromise with internal and external parties.
They transmit information to people outside their units. They represent the organisation in dealing with outside agencies. In this role, the managers also speak for their subordinates to the superiors.
Information is the basic input in decision-making for managers. Managers get information which they can use for taking decisions and solving problems. Managers take decisions on the basis of information and get better results.
(i) Entrepreneur Role:
It involves initiating change or acting as a change agent. Managers have the responsibility to improve the overall functioning of the organisation. They act as an entrepreneurs, take bold decisions, seek better results from subordinates, initiates required changes, implementing them to get better result.
He looks for problems and opportunities for bringing about changes in his organisation and initiates steps to deal with them. He is thus an initiator and innovator.
(ii) Disturbance Handler Role:
Managers handle the problem and crisis properly. This refers to taking charge when the organisation faces a problem or crisis. A manager handles conflicts, complaints and competitive action. It is only by applying managerial knowledge and playing the role of conflict handlers, thinking analytically and acting practically.
(iii) Resource Allocator Role:
To manage the organisation, all resources are mobilized and utilized efficiently by managers for the accomplishment of predetermined objectives. They have to play the role of resource allocator. The manager decides who will get what in the organisation. He schedules his own time according to his priorities; he designs his organisation, decides who will do what; and allocates authority to take all important decisions.
(iv) Negotiator Role:
As a negotiator, a manager bargains with suppliers, dealers, trade unions, agents, etc. Manager takes charge whenever his organisation enters into crucial negotiations with other parties. Managers work on behalf of the organisation, work unit, and subordinates; not only as a spokesperson but as a negotiator. As disputes arise in the organisation, the managers take up the role of mediator, negotiator and arbitrator.
All these roles are important for managers. Generally, interpersonal roles are more prominent at the top level of management. At the middle levels, informational roles are more common. Decisional roles are significant normally at the top to lower levels of management. Mintzberg advocates that these are not inseparable. He observed that different managers emphasize different roles.
Managers act as channels of communication within the organisation. The job of a manager is very complex and multi-dimensional. A manager has to play several roles to perform his job effectively and efficiently. These can be viewed as an integrated whole.
Roles of a Manager – Interpersonal Roles, Informational Roles and Decisional Roles
Mintzberg challenges the traditional view that managers plan, organise, direct and control. The point is that these words are too vague to understand the reality of managerial work.
Research studies stated that, “managers’ work at an unrelenting pace, and their activities are characterised by brevity, variety, and discontinuity and that they are strongly oriented to action and dislike reflective activities.” In addition, managerial task, “involves performing a number of regular duties including ritual and ceremonial negotiations, and processing of soft information that links the organisation with its environment.”
Further it is stated that, “the manager’s programmes — to schedule time, process information, make decisions and so on — remain locked deep inside their brains.”
Hence, management specialist has to concentrate his/her efforts on the specialised functions of the organisations, where he/she could more easily analyse the procedures and qualify the relevant information. This is due to the increasing pressure on his job from customers, subordinates with more democratic norms, demands from the government and increasing influences from outsiders.
1. Interpersonal Role:
The important interpersonal roles of strategists are:
i. Figurehead Role:
Managers perform the duties of a ceremonial nature as head of the organisation or a strategic business unit or a department. Duties of interpersonal roles include routine, involving little serious communication and less important decisions. However, they are important for the smooth functioning of an organisation or a department.
ii. Leader Role:
The manager, as in charge of the organisation/department, coordinates the work of others and leads his/her subordinates. Formal authority provides greater potential power to exercise and get the things done.
iii. Liaison Role:
As the leader of the organisation or unit, the manager has to perform the functions of motivation, communication, encouraging team spirit and the like. Further, he/she has to coordinate the activities of all his/her subordinates, which involves the activity of liaison.
Manager emerges as the nerve centre of his/her organisation/department in view of his interpersonal links with his/her subordinates, peers, superiors and outsiders. Therefore, the manager has to play the information role effectively to let the information flow continuously from one comer to other corner.
The information roles of a manager include:
i. Monitor Role:
As a result of the network of contacts, the manager gets the information by scanning his/her environment, subordinates, peers, and superiors. Managers, mostly collect information in verbal form often as gossip, hearsay, speculation and through grapevine channels.
ii. Disseminator Role:
Manager disseminates the information, he/she collects from different sources and through various means. He/she passes some of the privileged information directly to his/ her subordinates, who otherwise have no access to it. The manager will play an important role in disseminating the information to his/her subordinates when they don’t have contact with one another.
iii. Spokesman Role:
Some insiders and/or outsiders control the unit/department or the organisation. The manager has to keep them informed about the developments in his/her unit. The manager has to keep his/her superior informed of every development in his/her unit, who in turn informs the insiders and outsiders.
Directors and shareholders must be informed about the financial performance, customers must be informed about the new product developments, quality maintenance, government officials about implementation of law, etc.
Information is an important and basic input to decision-making. The managers play a crucial role in decision-making system of the unit. Only the manager can commit the department to new course of action and he has full and current information to take set of the decisions that determine the departments or organisational strategy.
The decisional roles of the manager are:
i. Entrepreneurial Role:
As an entrepreneur, the manager is a creator and innovator. He/she seeks to improve his/her department, adapt to the changing environmental factors. The manager would like to have new ideas, initiates new projects and initiates the developmental projects.
According to Peter F. Drucker, “the manager has the task of creating a true whole that is larger than the sum of its parts, a productive entity that turns out more than the sum of the resources put into it.”
ii. Disturbance Handler Role:
Entrepreneurial role describes the manager as the voluntary initiator of change, the disturbance handler role presents the manager as involuntarily responding to pressures. Pressures of the situation are severe and highly demand the attention of the manager and as such the manager cannot ignore the situation. For example, workers strike, declining sales, bankruptcy of a major customer, etc., are some such situations.
The manager should have enough time in handling disturbances carefully, skillfully and effectively.
iii. Resource Allocator Role:
The most important resource that a manager allocates to his/her subordinates is his/her time. The manager should have an open-door policy and allow the subordinates to express their opinions and share their experiences. This process helps both the manager and his/ her subordinates in making effective decisions. In addition, the manager should empower his/her subordinates by delegating his/her authority and power.
iv. Negotiator Role:
Managers spend considerable time in the task of negotiations. He/she negotiates with the subordinates for improved commitment and loyalty, with the peers for cooperation, coordination and integrations, with workers and their unions regarding conditions of employment, commitment, productivity, with the government about providing facilities for business expansion, etc.
These negotiations are integral part of the manager’s job for only he/she has authority to commit organisational resources and is nerve centre of information. Though the different roles of a manager are discussed separately for convenience, they are, in fact inseparable. The manager has to perform these roles simultaneously by integrating one with another. Thus, the major role of the manager is integrating all the roles while playing managerial role or performing his tasks.
In fact, the manager cannot play any one role while isolating the other roles. As a strategist, the manager has to integrate all the roles in decision-making while performing his/her tasks.
Roles of a Manager – With Management Skills
To meet the many demands placed on managers as they carry out managerial functions and interact with workers and the external environment, managers take on numerous roles, that is, an organized set of behaviours belonging to an organizational position.
The manager’s universe includes pleasing customers by meeting or exceeding customers’ needs and expectations, providing leadership, acting ethically, valuing diversity in his employees, and coping with global challenges. Henry Mintzberg (1975) categorized all the activities of managers after these were empirically captured, into three basic behaviours—interpersonal contact, information processing, and decision-making.
Ten roles in all were chosen to describe all the activities observed by him during the study. In handling interpersonal relationships, managers adopt the three interpersonal roles of figurehead, leader, and liaison. In handling information, managers assume the three informational roles of monitor, disseminator, and spokesperson.
In handling decisions, managers take on the four decisional roles of entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator, and negotiator. A few studies such as by McCall and Segrist (1980) attempted to test validity of Mintzberg’s classification of roles in actual operating situations and found that activities in certain roles overlapped too much to be considered separate (for example, figurehead, disseminator, disturbance handler, and negotiator roles).
We have to also bear in mind that managerial work is cerebral and is not, to a large extent, directly observable. Managers rarely reflect on the demands of their jobs as a neatly organized set of roles but more so as a chaotic, fragmented, and time-pressed flow of activities.
i. Figurehead role means acting as a symbolic head at ceremonies as well as receiving visitors.
ii. Leader role indicates all those activities that are directed at subordinates to influence them and motivate them.
iii. Liaison role means establishing a network of contacts both within and with outsiders.
i. Monitor role is about collecting inside and outside information.
ii. Disseminator role is about transmitting the relevant information to subordinates.
iii. Spokesperson role is transmitting information to outsiders.
i. Entrepreneur role is about initiating new projects.
ii. Disturbance handler role is the role of making short-term and long-term adjustments to maintain organizational equilibrium.
iii. Resource allocator role is controlling allocation of resources.
iv. Negotiator role is negotiating with outsiders.
To perform management functions and assume multiple roles, managers must master three kinds of skills:
i. Technical skills – Managers must be able to use the processes, practices, techniques, and tools of a specialty area.
ii. Conceptual skills – Managers must possess the capacity to develop ideas, understand abstract relationships, and solve problems.
iii. Human skills – Managers must display the ability to interact and communicate with people to gain cooperation.
Roles of a Manager – 10 Roles: Figurehead, Leader, Liaison, Monitor, Disseminator, Spokesperson, Entrepreneur, Disturbance Handler, Resource Allocator and Negotiator
Mintzberg noticed that managers routinely perform 10 major roles.
He groups the roles under three major headings:
Interpersonal roles centre upon dealing with other people:
This is probably the simplest and most basic managerial role. Most managers act as a symbol of their unit because they have the formal authority and responsibility for it. They are therefore obliged to perform a number of ceremonial duties such as welcoming guests or presenting retirement presents. In other cases a manager must formally sign documents in order to meet legal requirements.
It is a manager’s responsibility to induce people to do things they would otherwise let lapse. He or she must inform, motivate and guide subordinates to perform activities that contribute to the organisation’s goals. A manager must act as a role model for his or her subordinates.
Managers have a vital function in linking their own group to other groups. Their role in vertical communication (forming a channel between their own subordinates and senior management) is demonstrated in most organisational charts. With middle and senior managers the vertical communication role is masked by the importance of horizontal communication.
A large proportion of a middle manager’s time is taken up by liaising with other middle managers in the same organisation. A large proportion of a senior manager’s time involves liaising with senior people from other organisations. Often this is a source of complaint from junior managers who frequently feel that senior managers should spend more time liaising with them.
Informational roles deal with the key management activities of obtaining and receiving information. Once the information has been obtained it is important that it passed on to people who can use it effectively.
The informational roles are:
Managers are continuously seeking information about the performance of their Area of Responsibility (AoR). They do this by making frequent, informal tours of inspection (walking the job), discussions with other people and by reading the trade press. Furthermore, they are bombarded with information from suppliers, customers, regulatory authorities (such as a health and safety) and other stakeholders. They must sift this information and identify the small portion that is relevant. In particular, they must sift information to identify relevant trends.
Once the manager has collected and interpreted all the information that comes his or her way it must be transmitted to the people who can use it effectively. Once factual information has been checked it can be forwarded to subordinates for action. Much of the information will be more ambiguous. It may consist of trade gossip or tip-offs that can help tailor a presentation to a potential client. It may consist of disseminating a set of values the manager wishes subordinates to uphold.
A spokesperson is similar to a disseminator but, while the disseminator directs information internally within the organisation, a spokesperson directs information outside the organisation. The organisation is required to keep the general public informed. The chances are it will be a manager, and probably a senior manager, who performs the task.
Decisional roles concern the choices made in the allocation of resources, the direction to follow and how to negotiate with other organisations. Often a senior manager is the only person who is able to commit his unit to a course of action.
A manager often acts as an initiator and designer of change. Often the entrepreneurial roles stem from a manager’s ability to authorise action. This allows him or her to spot opportunities and to galvanise their unit into appropriate action.
8. Disturbance Handler:
In an entrepreneurial role a manager is proactive. However, managers sometimes need to react to events that have gone wrong. Unforeseen events may result in progress being off-target. A disturbance handler takes action to get progress back on track. Typical disturbances arise from the sudden departure of staff, accidents such as a fire on the premises or when a major customer takes their business elsewhere.
Sometimes disturbances arise when subordinates cannot agree among themselves or when a problem is too difficult for them to solve. Disturbances usually have a sudden onset. Managers usually give disturbances priority and will change their schedules to deal with them. Often the first reaction is to “buy time”, which is used to find a solution to the problem.
9. Resource Allocator:
Usually a manager has more possibilities than his or her resources can match. A manager will therefore exercise judgement and choice when allocating resources to some activities and not to others. The power of authorisation gives a manager ultimate control without the necessity of being involved in the detailed preparatory work. Demands on managers are so great that they are not able to undertake all the tasks themselves- they need to delegate tasks to others.
The process of delegation involves considerable power because it contains the authority to choose one individual over another. The choice process communicates to the whole unit the preferences which a manager will reward. The act of delegation is a clear manifestation of power because the manager can give the work to a second person if the first choice does not live up to expectations.
A manager will nearly always be involved when his or her unit is involved in a major negotiation with an external organisation. Normally the manager will lead the other negotiators from his or her unit. In part the negotiation role flows from the role of figurehead, but it also involves the spokesperson and the resource allocator roles since only a manager can commit the resources that are implicit in the negotiated solutions.