“What managers do can best be described by looking at the role they play” Henry Mintzberg

Management is defined as what managers do. Role of management refers to specific categories of managerial behavior.  Henry Mintzberg, a prominent management researcher concluded that managers perform 10 different but highly interrelated roles.  These ten roles are grouped in three basic categories.

a.   Interpersonal roles
b.   Informational roles
c.   Decisional roles

Interpersonal roles

Interpersonal are roles that involve people (subordinates and persons outside the organization) and duties that are ceremonial and symbolic in nature. The three interpersonal roles are.

1.       Figurehead Symbolic head; obliged to perform a number of routine duties of a legal or social nature like greeting visitors, singing legal documents.

 2.       Leader Responsible for the motivation of subordinates, responsible for staffing, training and associated duties like performing virtually all activities that involve subordinates.

 3.       Liaison Maintain self developed network of outside contacts and informers who provide favors and information like acknowledging mail, doing external board work, performing other activities that involve outsiders.

Informational roles

Informational roles involve receiving, collecting and disseminating information. The three informational roles are

4.       Monitor Seek and receives wide variety of internal and external information to develop thorough understanding of organization and environment like reading periodicals and reports and maintaining personal contacts.

 5.       Disseminator Transmits information received from outsiders or from subordinates to member of the organization like holding informational meetings, making phone calls to reply information.

 6.       Spokesperson Transmits information to outsiders on organization’s plan, policies, actions and results like holding board meetings, giving information to the media.

Decisional roles

Decisional roles revolve around making choices. The four decisional roles are.

7.       Entrepreneur Searches organization and its environment for opportunities and initiates improvement projects” to bring about changes like organizing strategy and review session to develop new programs.

 8.       Disturbance handler Responsible for corrective action when organization faces important, unexpected disturbance like organizing strategy and review session that involve disturbance and crises.

 9.       Resource allocator Responsible for allocation of organizational resources of all kinds, making or approving all significant organizational decisions like scheduling, requesting authorization, performing any activity that involves budgeting and the programming of subordinate’s work.

 10.   Negotiator Responsible for representing the organization at major negotiations like participating in union contract negotiations.

Numbers of follow up studies have tested the validity of Mintberg’s role categories among different type of organizations and at different levels within given organizations, the evidence generally supports the idea that managers regardless of the type of organization or level in the organization perform similar roles.

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