10 Managerial Roles by Henry Mintzberg

Dr. Henry Mintzberg a prominent management researcher conducted a researcher to find out what are manager duties or responsibilities.

In 1916 Henri Fayol was first to define the manager. Dr. Henry Mintzberg wanted to find out that if Henri Fayol’s 50-year-old definition of manager and management definition still stood in the 60s and 70s. So he conducted a research base on the structured observation method.

For this Mintzberg observed the daily activities of five executives for one week.

They all were from 5 different types of organization; a consulting firm, a school, a technology firm, a consumer goods manufacturer and a hospital. He kept track of all there activates and analyzed it.

His research report titled “MANAGERIAL WORK: ANALYSIS FROM OBSERVATION” was for his doctoral dissertation, at the Sloan School of Management, M. I. T.

In January 1971 he submitted the report and it was accepted and published in October 1971.

In his research, Mintzberg said that what managers do can best be described by looking at the roles they play at work.

The term management role refers to specific categories of managerial behavior.

He identified 10 identified roles of a manager played in an organization which falls into 3 basic categories:

  1. Interpersonal roles,
  2. Informational roles.
  3. Decisional roles.

Managerial Roles

Interpersonal Roles

These roles relate to the manager’s behavior that focuses on interpersonal contact Interpersonal roles are roles that involve people (subordinates and persons outside the organization) and other duties that are ceremonial and symbolic.

The three interpersonal roles include being a;

  1. Figurehead.
  2. Leader.
  3. Liaison.

According to Dr. Henry Mintzberg, These three interpersonal roles derive from the authority and status associated with managers’ post.

1. Figurehead

The figurehead performs symbolic legal or social duties. All social, inspiration, legal and ceremonial obligations.

In this light, the manager is seen as a symbol of status and authority.

2. Leader

The Leader builds relationships with employees and communicates with, motivates, and coaches them.

Duties are at the heart of the manager-subordinate relationship and include structuring and motivating subordinates, overseeing their progress, promoting and encouraging their development, and balancing effectiveness.

3. Liaison

The liaison maintains a network of contacts outside the work unit to obtain information.

Describes the information and communication obligations of a manager. One must network and engage in information exchange to gain access to knowledge bases.

Informational Roles

Informational roles involve receiving, collecting, and disseminating information.

The 3 informational roles include;

  1. Monitor,
  2. Disseminator, and
  3. Spokesperson.

These informational roles are all about receiving and transmitting information so that managers can serve as the nerve centers of their organization. The informational roles are;

4. Monitor

The monitor seeks internal and external information about issues that can affect the organization.

Duties include assessing internal operations, a department’s success and the problems and opportunities which may arise.

All the information gained in this capacity must be stored and maintained

5. Disseminator

The disseminator transmits information internally that is obtained from either internal or external sources.

Highlights factual or value-based external views into the organization and to subordinates. This requires both filtering and delegation skills.

6. Spokesperson

The spokesperson transmits information about the organization to outsiders. Serves in a PR capacity by informing and lobbying others to keep key stakeholders updated about the operations of the organization.

Decisional Roles

Decisional roles revolved around making choices. Managers’ interpersonal role leads to decisional roles.

Information and resources that are collected and gathered by the interpersonal make a manager able to play the decisional roles or responsibilities that he is obligated to.

The four decisional roles include being an entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator, and negotiator.

7. Entrepreneur

The entrepreneur acts as an initiator, designer, and encourage change and innovation.

Roles encourage managers to create improvement projects and work to delegate, empower and supervise teams in the development process.

8. Disturbance handler

The disturbance handler takes corrective action when the organization faces important, unexpected difficulties.

A generalist role that takes charge when an organization is unexpectedly upset or transformed and requires calming and support.

9. Resource allocator

The resource allocator distributes resources of all types, including time, funding, equipment, and human resources.

Describes the responsibility of allocating and overseeing financial, material and personnel resources.

10. Negotiator

The negotiator represents the organization in major negotiations affecting the manager’s areas of responsibility is a specific task which is integral for the spokesman, figurehead, and resource allocator roles.

If we analyze Mintzberg’s finds we can say that authority and status derive the interpersonal roles, interpersonal makes it necessary for a manager to play informational roles. And that enables a manager to make a decision.

These ten roles of a manager stated by Mintzberg; comes with many responsibilities. Informing, Connecting, and orders require a manager to able to adapt to the situation and controlling it in a balanced way.

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