The Role of Management

Managers perform five functions – planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling. Since these functions are very essential for effective management, they have been used as the basic framework for this book. They have been briefly explained in the next section of the chapter.

In order to understand the role of management, in the late 1960s, Henry Mintzberg devised a new approach – the managerial roles approach – by observing what managers actually do. He did a careful study of five chief executives at work and found that they were involved in a number of varied, unpatterned activities of short duration. Using a method called structured observation, Mintzberg isolated ten roles which he believed were common to all managers. As shown in Table 1.1, these ten roles were grouped into three categories – interpersonal roles, informational roles and decisional roles.

A manager is required to interact with many people, both within and outside the organization and hence, the need to perform interpersonal roles. The three interpersonal roles of a manager are figurehead, leader and liaison. In his role as a figurehead, a manager performs all the ceremonial or symbolic duties. Example, it would be the duty of a college dean to award diplomas at the convocation ceremony. In the leadership role, a manager is required to motivate the employees to perform at their best to achieve the company’s objectives. In the liaison role, a manager is required to interact with people both within and outside the organization.

A manager acts as a channel of information within the organization. The three informational roles of a manager are that of a recipient, disseminator and spokesperson. In the role of a recipient, a manager receives information pertaining to changes, opportunities and problems that the organization may face. As a disseminator, a manager provides information to subordinates that would influence their performance at work. And finally, a manager performs the role of a spokesperson when he or she represents the organization in public.

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