Different Types of Roles

Role: A set of expectations for one’s behavior.

Manager roles:

Mintzberg’s observations and subsequent research indicate that diverse manager activities can be organized into 10 roles. A role is a set of expectations for a manager’s behavior. Exhibit provides examples of each of the roles. These roles are divided into three conceptual categories informational (managing by information) interpersonal (managing through people) and decisional (managing through action) each role represents activities that managers undertake to ultimately accomplish the functions of planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Although it is necessary to separate the components of the manager’s job to understand the different roles and activities of a manager, it is important to remember that the real job of management cannot be practiced as a set of independent parts; all the roles interact in the real world of management. The managers who only communicate or only conceive never gets anything while the manager who only does ends up doing it all.

Informational roles:

Informational roles describe the activities used to maintain and develop an information network. General Managers spend about 75 percent of their time talking to other people. The monitor role involves seeking current information from many sources. The manager acquires information from others and scans written materials to stay well informed. The disseminator and spokesperson roles are just the opposite; the manager transmits current information to others, both inside and outside the organization, who can use it. One colorful example of the spokesperson role is Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. The rock band is run like a large multinational organization with Jagger as the CEO. Jagger has surrounded himself not only with talented artists, but with sophisticated and experienced business executives. Yet it is Jagger who typically deals with the media and packages the brand’s image for a worldwide audience.

Interpersonal Roles

Interpersonal roles pertain to relationships with others and are related to the human skills described earlier. The figurehead role involves handling ceremonial and symbolic activities for the department or the organization. The manager represents the organization in his or her formal managerial capacity as the head of the unit. The presentation of employee awards by division managers at Taco Bell is an example of the figure head role. The leader role encompasses relationships with subordinates including motivation, communication, and influence. The liaison role pertains to the development of information sources both inside and outside the organization. The former head of Coca Cola Co., Douglas Daft placed greater emphasis on the liaison role to address new challenges from the environment. A health scare in Belgium that turned to public relations nightmare, combined with a failed attempt to take over Cadbury Schwepps without European Union clearance left Coca-Cola’s relationships with European customers, officials and organizations in tatters. Daft went on a goodwill tour from Brussels to Rome, meeting and talking with government investors, and employees to find out what went wrong and how to fix it.

Decisional roles

Decisional roles pertain to those events about which the managers must make a choice and take action. These roles often require conceptual as well as humans skills. The entrepreneur role involves the initiation of change. Managers are constantly thinking about the future and how to get there. Managers become aware of problems and search for improvement projects that will correct them. Oprah Winfrey head of Harpo Inc., is a master of the entrepreneurs role. Although the television talk show Oprah is the foundation of Harpo, Winfrey is always looking for new projects. She has branched out in to movie production, cable television, the Internet and even launched a hot new magazine. The disturbance handler role involves resolving conflicts among subordinates or between the manager’s department and other departments. For example the division manager for large furniture manufacturer got involved in a personal dispute between two sections heads. One section head was let go because he did not fit the team. The resource allocator role pertains to decisions abut how to allocate people, time, equipment, budget and other resources to attain desired outcomes.