Managerial Skills

Topics: Management, Leadership, Organization Pages: 18 (6210 words) Published: March 1, 2013

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In order for managers to be effective, they must have a clear understanding of whether different skills are important in their managerial role. In addition, managers must have a mutual understanding of the skills and responsibilities necessary for other managers across similar and different organizational levels and functions ([10] Kraut et al. , 1989). If these skills and responsibilities are not clearly understood, managers will neither be able to coordinate work effectively, communicate expectations, deliver feedback, nor be prepared for job transitions or other training and career development activities ([10] Kraut et al. , 1989). In short, understanding whether certain managerial skills are important to a manager's job is essential. A number of researchers have investigated the roles, tasks, or activities of managers (e.g. [18] Mintzberg, 1973; [13] Luthans, 1988; [10] Kraut et al. , 1989). However, these studies are over a decade old, some more than two or three decades, and have not specifically examined skills. The world of work has changed since these studies, most notably due to organizational downsizing, technology, and the globalization of the workplace. Skills important to managers in the late 1980s and early 1990s may not be as important today. As times change, researchers should update important findings to determine if those findings are still applicable ([4] Cronbach, 1975), especially when considering that the skills and roles of managers need to be clearly defined and understood to effectively teach, select, develop, and promote these individuals in the workplace. Based on results of a study of more than 14,000 managers over two distinct time periods, this paper will highlight whether the importance of certain managerial skills changed over a 15-year time period, and determine which skills are needed at different organizational levels and across organizational functions from the opinions of managers themselves. Our main research question is, to what extent has the importance of certain managerial skills changed, or remained constant, over time, and whether certain skills are important based on organizational level and function. Studies of managers

[18] Mintzberg (1973) provided one of the most influential works on managerial roles. Prior to his research, the roles of managers were understood to be embedded in a rigid functional approach of planning jobs, organizing staff, and leading personnel ([20] Pearson and Chatterjee, 2003). However, Mintzberg observed that managers worked at a much faster pace during which they were required to address a range of issues. The job of the manager required an ability to handle more complex roles than those described by classical management theory. Using a descriptive diary method to observe managers at work, Mintzberg identified ten roles of managerial work, which were divided into three categories: interpersonal roles, informational roles, and decisional roles. Expanding on [18] Mintzberg's (1973) work, [10] Kraut et al. (1989) investigated the differences between managerial levels in the perception of role importance. They identified seven major factors of management tasks including: managing individual performance; instructing subordinates; planning and allocating resources; coordinating interdependent groups; managing group performance; monitoring the business environment; and representing one's staff. Their findings also revealed distinct differences in role importance based on the level of the manager. For instance, first-level managers reported that managing individual performance and instructing subordinates were the most important set of activities in their job. However, as managers moved up the management hierarchy to the level of middle manager, the importance of these activities dropped and more focus was placed on tasks related to...
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