Research by Robert L. Katz found that managers need three basic and important skills: technical, human and conceptual. What is more, these three skills are relatively essential to managers who are at different levels that include first-line, middle, top management positions. There will be a discussion about the importance of conceptual skills that are needed by all managers at all levels, especially by top level of managers. The purpose of this essay is to identify and discuss the importance of conceptual skills that top managers are required to demonstrate. The essay will state why conceptual skills are not so important as much as lower managers through some supporting evidences，why conceptual skills become more important in top management positions than in other positions, and how top managers use conceptual skills in reality. At the end of essay, a conclusion the major findings will be provided. 1
Conceptual skills mean the ability to think and to conceptualize about abstract and complex situations (Katz, R. L， 1974). It is different from technical skills and human skills. Technical skills tend to be more essential for lower-level managers because they should have the job specific knowledge and techniques to manage the work of non-managerial people (Katz, R.L， 1974). For example, accounts payable managers should know accounting rules and standardized forms very well so that they can solve problems which relevant to accounting fields. Whereas, human skills are important for managers at all levels, because every manager should have ability to work well with other people individually and in a group, all of managers deal directly with people. They should build cooperative spirit and motivate other workers. For example, first-line managers of food servicing company should communicate with producers to know how everything is going and where they should improve, so effective talking is very necessary to the whole company for any level of managers (Robbins, S. P, 2011). Even though conceptual skills are not so important as much as lower managers, it does not mean lower managers do not use conceptual skills. In some situations, some of their works are related to conceptual abilities. It is little for mid-level managers, and it is not very required for first-level managers. While these lower-level managers should also make decisions to solve problems in some complex problems in their managerial fields. Whereas Katz thought that lower-level managers normally spend relative more time dealing with observable objects and processes, but upper-level managers often deal with abstract and complex ideas. So top managers’ responsibility matches conceptual skills, because top managers should make organization-wide decisions and establish the goals and plans that affect the entire organization (Robbins, S. P, 2011). That is why top managers are supposed not to only pay attention to small things, they should be leaders and have conceptual skills to lead the whole company to get more profits and access to success. Turn to lower-level managers, first-line managers are the lowest level of management, they coordinate the work of people who are non-managerial employees, such as producers. While middle managers manage the work of first-line managers (Robbins, S. P, 2011). Therefore, first-line managers should have special skills like technical skills, so that they can know how to supervise those producers to produce goods. 2
Conversely, conceptual skills are probably some of the most important management skills, which are very important to top managers especially. Katz proposed that these skills become more essential in top management positions. The reason for this is that top managers often deal with abstract ideas, and they are responsible for making organization-wide decisions and establishing the goals and plans that affect the entire organization. While conceptual skills can be described the ability to conceptualize about...
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