What are Management Roles?

Managerial roles:

Specific categories of managerial behavior; often grouped under three primary headings: interpersonal relationships, transfer of information, and decision making.

A careful study of five chief executives at work was undertaken and what was discovered several long held notions about the managers job. For instance, in contrast to the predominant views at the time that managers were reflective thinkers who carefully and systematically processed information before making a decision. The managers studied engaged in a large number of varied, un-patterned and short duration activities. These managers have little time for reflective thinking because they encountered constant interruptions. Half of these managers’ activities lasted less than nine minutes. In addition to these insights, provided a categorization scheme for dealing what managers do on the basis of actual managers on the job, which is commonly referred to as ‘managerial roles’.

It was concluded that managers perform 10 different but highly interrelated roles. The term managerial roles refer to specific categories of managerial behavior. These roles as shown below can be grouped under three primary headings: interpersonal relationships, the transfer of information and decision making.

Is the Manager’s Job Universal?

It was considered to be the universal applicability of management activities. So far, discussion was on management as if it were a generic activity. That is manager is a manager regardless of where he or she manages. If management is truly a generic discipline, then what a manager does should be essentially the same regardless of whether he or she is a top level executive or a first line supervisor; in a business firm a government agency; in a large corporation or a small business or located in salt Lake, Kolkata, or Salt Lake City, USA.

Level in the organization:

We have already acknowledged that the importance of managerial roles varies depending on the manager’s level in the organization. But the fact that a supervisor in a claims department doesn’t do exactly the same things that the president of the Company does. It should not be interpreted to mean that their jobs are inherently different. The differences are of degree and emphasis.

As managers move up in the organization, they do more planning and less direct overseeing of others. This distinction is visually depicted. All managers, regardless of level, make decisions. They perform planning, organizing, leading and controlling activities, but the amount of time they give to each activity is not necessarily constant. In addition, the content of the managerial activities changes with the manager’s level. For example, as we have top managers focus on designing the overall organization’s structure, whereas lower level managers focus on designing the jobs of individuals and work groups.

Managerial Roles:


Figure head>

Symbolic head; obliged to perform a number of routine duties of a legal or social nature

Greeting visitors; signing legal documents


Responsible for the motivation and activation of employees; responsible for staffing, training and associated duties

Performing virtually all activities that involve employees


Maintains self developed network of outside contacts and informers who provide favors and information.

Acknowledging mail; doing external board work; performing other activities that involve outsiders.



Seek and receives wide variety of special information (much of it current) to develop thorough understanding of organization and environment; emerges as nerve center of internal and external information about the organization.

Reading periodic and reports; maintaining personal contacts.


Transmits information received from other employees to members of the organization – some information is factual, some involves interruption and integration of diverse value positions of organizational influences.

Holding information and making phone calls to relay information.


Transmits information to outsiders on organization’s plans, policies, actions, results, etc serves as expert on organization’s industry

Holding board meetings; giving information to the media.



Searches organization and its environment for opportunities and initiates improvement projects to bring about change, supervises design of certain projects as well

Organizing strategy and review sessions to develop new programs:

Disturbance handler>

Responsible for corrective action when organization faces important disturbances

Organizing strategy and review sessions that involve disturbances and crises

Resource allocator>>

Responsible for the allocation of organizational resources of all kinds – in effect, the making or approval of all significant organizational decisions

Scheduling; requesting authorization; performing any activity that involves budgeting and the programming of employees’ work.


Responsible for representing the organization at major negotiations

Participating in union contract negotiations or in those with suppliers