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The Managerial Roles Approach

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The Managerial Roles Approach

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  • June 2008
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The Managerial Roles Approach

One widely discussed approach to management theory Is the managerial roles approach, popularized by Henry Mintzberg of McGill University’ Essentially, his approach is to observe what managers actually do and from such observations come to conclusions as to what managerial activities (or roles) arc. Although many researchers have studied the actual work of managers—from CEOs to line supervisors—Mintzberg has given this approach higher visibility.

After systematically studying the activities of five CEOs in a variety of organizations Mintzberg came to the conclusion that executives do not perform the classical managerial functions of planning, organizing. Commanding, coordinating, and controlling. Instead, they engage in a variety of other activities. From his research and the research of others who had studied what managers actually did, Mintzberg concluded that managers really fill a series of ten roles:

Interpersonal roles

1.The figurehead role (performing ceremonial and social duties as the organization’s representative) 2.The leader role
3.The liaison role (particularly with outsiders)

Informational roles

4.The recipient role (receiving information about the operation of an enterprise) 5.The disseminator role (passing information to subordinates) 6.The spokesperson role (transmitting information to those outside the organization)

Decision roles
7.The entrepreneurial role
8.The disturbance-handler role.
9.The resource-allocator role
10..The negotiator role (dealing with various persons and groups of persons)

Mintzberg’s approach has also been criticized. In the first place, the sample of five CEOs’ used in his research is far too small to support so sweeping a conclusion. In the second place, in analyzing the actual activities of managers—from CEOs to supervisors—any researcher must realize that all managers do some work that is not purely managerial; one would expect even presidents of...

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