Monday, June 22, 2009

Managerial Roles by Henry Mintzberg

Managers must wear many different hats in formulating and implementing task activities related to their positions. In an attempt to understand the diversity of hats managers must wear, Henry Mintzberg examined managerial activities on a daily basis. His study enabled him to identify ten different but, coordinated sets of behavior, or roles, that managers assume. These ten roles can be separated into three general groupings: interpersonal roles, informational roles, and decisional roles.

The following are the 3 managerial roles by Henry Mintzberg:


Three of the manager's roles come into play when the manager must engage in interpersonal relationships. The three roles are:
  • Figurehead
  • Leader
  • Liaison
The figurehead role is enacted when activity of a ceremonial nature is required within the organization. A baseball manager attending a minor league all-star game, the head chef of a prominent restaurant greeting customers at the door, and the president of a bank congratulating a new group of trainees are all examples of the figurehead role. While the figurehead role is routine, with little serious communication and no important decision making, its importance should not be overlooked.

The second interpersonal role, the leader role, involves the coordination and control of the work of the manager's subordinates. The leader role may be exercised in a direct or an indirect manner. Hiring, training, and motivating may all require direct contact with subordinates. However, establishing expectations regarding work quality, decision-making responsibility, or time commitments to the job are all outcomes of the leader role that are indirectly related to subordinates.

The third,the liaison role is enacted when managers make contact with other individuals, who may or may not reside in the organization, in order to complete the work performed by their departments or work units. An auto assembly plant supervisor may telephone a tire supplier to determine the amount of inventory available for next week; a prosecuting attorney may meet with the presiding judge and defense attorney to discuss the use of motions and evidence in a libel trial


Monitor, disseminator, and spokesperson are the three informational roles that a manager may assume. These informational roles are created as a result of enacting the set of interpersonal roles already described. A network of interpersonal contacts with both subordinates and individuals outside the work unit serves to establish the manager as an informational nerve center of the unit, responsible for gathering, receiving, and transmitting information that concerns members of the work unit.

Occasionally, a manager must assume the spokesperson role by speaking on behalf of the work unit to people inside or outside the organization. This might involve lobbying for critical resources or appealing to individuals who have influence on activities that affect the work unit. A top manager asking the board of directors to keep the work unit together during a reorganization period or a corporate president speaking to a college audience on the role the company plays in education would both constitute engaging in the spokesperson role.


Both interpersonal and informational roles are really preludes to what are often considered to be a manager's most important set of roles: the decisional roles of entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator, and negotiator.

The entrepreneur role comes into action when the manager seeks to improve the work unit. This can be accomplished by adapting new techniques to fit a particular situation or modifying old techniques to improve individual or group activity. Managers usually learn of new or innovative methods through information gathered in the monitor role. As a result, a supervisor purchases a new kiln which will shorten the drying process for ceramic tiles; a director of a youth club trains staff in the use of personal computers to increase file access; or a president establishes a new pension plan to improve employee morale.

Effectively managing an organization is a demanding task. Managers not only must develop skills related to the functional areas of management but also must learn how to integrate these activities. What makes this process demanding is that events and activities external and internal to an organization can radically change the techniques and methods managers must use in order to arrive at successful outcomes. Managers cannot afford to be limited in their view of management, nor can they simply rely on how things were done in the past.

Even the most seasoned and successful managers are prone to mistakes. However, a more complete knowledge of the managerial process can reduce the chances of mistakes that will have dire consequences for an organization. Such knowledge may help managers to better plan, organize and staff, direct, and control organization activities within the context of their organization.


•The ChaosChoir•

1 comment:

  1. I am studying for my management exam and I find your post very helpful. Thanks a lot.