Who is Manager?

Who is Manager?

The definition of a manager is a person responsible for supervising and motivating employees and for directing the progress of an organization. An example of a manager is the person who is in charge of customer service, who deals with customer disputes and who oversees and supervises customer service agents.

Types of Managers:

We tend to think about managers based on their position in an organization. This tells us a bit about their role and the nature of their responsibilities. Figure 1.2 summarizes the historic and contemporary views of organizations with respect to managerial roles. In contrast to the traditional view of management where the manager is seen as the “boss” who wields unquestioned power over employees, in the contemporary view, top managers support and serve other managers and employees through a process called empowerment, just as the organization ultimately exists to serve its customers and clients. Empowerment is the process of enabling or authorizing an individual to think, behave, take action, and control work and decision making in autonomous ways.

Figure 1.2

Many restaurants empower employees to offer a free dessert to dissatisfied patrons in order to gain long-term customer allegiance. © Thinkstock

Figure 1.3 Types of Managers

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jacob_Lew.jpg (third from bottom); http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dunder_Mifflin,_Inc.svg (bottom); all other images © Thinkstock.

A number of different types of managers can be found in organizations. Top managers are responsible for developing the organization’s strategy and being a steward for its vision and mission. Functional managers are responsible for the efficiency and effectiveness of an area, such as accounting or marketing. Supervisory managers, or team managers, are responsible for coordinating a subgroup of a particular division or a team composed of members from different parts of the organization.

Line and staff managers serve two distinct functions. A line manager, often called a product or service manager, leads a team that contributes directly to the products or services the organization creates. For example, a line manager at Procter & Gamble (P&G) is responsible for the production, marketing, and profitability of the Tide detergent product line. In contrast, a staff manager leads a function that creates indirect inputs. For example, finance and accounting are critical organizational functions but do not typically provide a clear input into the final product or service a customer buys, such as a box of Tide detergent. Instead, they serve a supporting role. A project manager is responsible for the planning, execution, and closing of any project. Project managers are often found in construction, architecture, consulting, computer networking, telecommunications, and software development.

A general manager is responsible for managing a clearly identifiable revenue-producing unit, such as a store, business unit, or product line. Typically, general managers make decisions across various functions and have rewards tied to the performance of the entire unit. General managers take direction from their top executives and must first understand the executives’ overall plan for the company. Then they set specific goals for their own departments to fit in with the plan. The general manager of production, for example, might have to increase certain product lines and phase out others. Moreover, general managers must describe their goals clearly to their support staff. Supervisory managers see that the goals are met.

Figure 1.4 The Changing Roles of Management and Managers

The Nature of Managerial Work:
Managers are responsible for the processes of getting activities completed effectively and efficiently with other people while setting and achieving the firm’s goals through the execution of four basic management functions: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Both sets of processes utilize human, financial, and material resources.
Why are some managers more effective than others? There have been a number of studies on what managers actually do, with one of the most famous conducted by Professor Henry Mintzberg in the early 1970s. After following managers around for several weeks, Mintzberg concluded that, to meet the many demands of performing their functions, managers assume multiple roles (a role is an organized set of behaviors). Mintzberg identified 10 roles common to the work of all managers. As summarized in Figure 1.5 "Ten Managerial Roles", the 10 roles are divided into three groups: interpersonal, informational, and decisional. The informational roles link all managerial work together, while the interpersonal roles ensure that information is provided. The decisional roles make significant use of the information. The performance of managerial roles and the requirements of these roles can be played at different times by the same manager and to different degrees, depending on the level and function of management. The 10 roles are described below.
The three interpersonal roles are primarily concerned with interpersonal relationships. In the figurehead role, the manager represents the organization in all matters of formality. The top-level manager represents the company legally and socially to those outside of the organization. The supervisor represents the work group to higher management and higher management to the work group. In the liaison role, the manager interacts with peers and people outside the organization. The top-level manager uses the liaison role to gain favors and information, while the supervisor uses it to maintain the routine flow of work. The leader role defines the relationships between the manager and employees.
Figure 1.5 Ten Managerial Roles

The direct relationships with people in the interpersonal roles place the manager in a unique position to get information. Thus, the three informational roles are primarily concerned with the information aspects of managerial work. In the monitor role, the manager receives and collects information. In the role of disseminator, the manager transmits special information into the organization. The top-level manager receives and transmits more information from people outside the organization than the supervisor. In the role of spokesperson, the manager disseminates the organization’s information into its environment. Thus, the top-level manager is seen as an industry expert, while the supervisor is seen as a unit or departmental expert.
The unique access to information places the manager at the center of organizational decision making. There are four decisional roles managers play. In the entrepreneur role, the manager initiates change. In the disturbance handler role, the manager deals with threats to the organization. In the resource allocator role, the manager chooses where the organization will expend its efforts. In the negotiator role, the manager negotiates on behalf of the organization. The top-level manager makes the decisions about the organization as a whole, while the supervisor makes decisions about his or her particular work unit.
The supervisor performs these managerial roles but with different emphasis than higher managers. Supervisory management is more focused and short-term in outlook. Thus, the figurehead role becomes less significant and the disturbance handler and negotiator roles increase in importance for the supervisor. Since leadership permeates all activities, the leader role is among the most important of all roles at all levels of management.
Figure 1.6
A master of interpersonal roles, Herb Keller made the skies friendlier by knowing the names and faces of each of his employees when he was CEO of Southwest Airlines.

Next Post »