Managerial Jobs Are The Same At All Levels Of An Organisation

Managerial Jobs Are The Same At All Levels Of An Organisation
A manager is someone that works with and through others by planning, co-ordinating their activities in order to accomplish organisational goals with the required efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency is about obtaining optimal results from the least amount of input. Effectiveness is about completing activities to achieve the organisational goals. There are many organisational structures such as a traditional hierarchal one where there are many different levels of managers compare to a less hierarchal flat matrix one where people in different levels of the organisation can usually freely communicate directly with each other regardless of seniority. The form the organisation structure will depend on the size and the type of organisation. Managerial roles will differ within an organisation and between different organisations. In a traditional hierarchal /pyramid organisation we have the non-managerial employees, first line managers, middle managers and top managers. Managerial roles within such an organisation may require some similar core skill sets but the people they manage and the impact of their decisions will differ depending on the type/level of manager they are within the company. Managerial roles at different levels will also differ within the company depending on the personality/style of the person which will make them more suitable to one management level and not another. So it appears that the role of a first line manager would be different of that of a top manager.
The basic functions of managers at different levels of an organisation can be described as follows: First line managers or team leaders manage the work of the non-managerial staff that is directly involved in the production and creation of the company?s products or services. Middle managers as the name suggest reports to top management and manage the first line managers. They consist of all management levels between the first line managers and top management. They may have titles such as division, department, national, branch, sales, and commercial manager. They are accountable for directing or managing and represent one or more functional areas such as sales, service, marketing, logistics, finance, human resources. Top managers have positions at or near the top of an organisation. They are expected to plan, set and sell strategic organisational goals and make organisational wide decisions that will determine the path a company will take. Top managers may have titles such as general manager, chief executive officer, managing director.

To further explore if management roles are the same or not within a company at different levels we need to analyse in more depth what functions managers perform and what are the core skill sets and competencies of a manager. It can be said that management can be described as four basic functions being: ?planning, organising, leading and controlling?.

Planning requires defining goals, establishing strategies for achieving set goals and developing plans to co-ordinate and integrating activities. Organising involves "determining what needs to be done and how and who to do it ". It also involves allocating, grouping of set tasks and the reporting structure and where decisions are made. Leading ?involves motivating sub-ordinates, influencing individuals or teams as they work, selecting the most efficient communication channels and dealing in any way with employees behaviour issues?. The controlling function is the final function of a manager?s role. After the goals are set (planning function), structures put in place to achieve the tasks (organising function) and staff are hired, trained and motivated (leading function) there needs to be a process put in place to monitor and evaluate the progress of the set tasks compare to the initially set goals. If there is a deviation from the set goals and things could be done more efficiently the manager would need to adjust the process to get optimal results for the organisation (control function). Henri Fayol an early twentieth century industrialist used the functional approach to describe roles of all managers. The functional theories were based on personal experience as he was the managing director of a French coal mining firm.

Contemporary research done over the three organisational levels of six hundred managers suggests that all managers have to perform the four basic functions as describe by Henri Fayol but to different degrees. The research found the following: In terms of time spent leading first line managers spend fifty one percent of their overall time performing the function compared to thirty six percent by middle managers and twenty two percent by top managers. In terms of time spent organising first line managers spend twenty four percent of their overall time performing the function compared to thirty three percent by middle managers and thirty six percent by top managers. In terms of time spent planning first line managers spend fifteen percent of their overall time performing the function compared to eighteen percent by middle managers and twenty eight percent by top managers. In terms of time spent controlling first line managers spend ten percent of their overall time performing the function compared to thirteen percent by middle managers and fourteen percent by top managers. In summary as you go higher in management level they tend to spend more time organising and planning rather then direct leading. The top managers are more concerned with designing the overall organisation whereas the first line and lower level managers are more focused on designing the job of individuals and teams.

Robert L. Katz who taught at the Harvard Business School and Stanford University, and wrote several business textbooks, and helped found various companies identified that there are three essential core skills (the skills for carrying out their jobs) that a manager should have but does not necessarily define a good manager (traits and characteristics). ?A skill implies an ability which can be developed, not necessarily inborn, and which is manifested in performance, not merely in potential.? The skills are:" technical, human and conceptual".

Technical skills, which involves specialized knowledge, analytical ability within that specialty, and facility in the use of the tools and techniques of the specific discipline, is often required by and important to many first line managers and middle managers as they are more involved in direct leading. Katz suggest as managers get to higher levels the technical skills are less important but still require some proficiency in the company?s specialty. For example senior managers with a pharmacy background working for the Pfizer drug company would most likely to frequently use their skill in managing drug development projects.

Human skills or interpersonal skills are the manager?s ability to work effectively as a team member and to build cooperative effort within the team, to motivate and to manage conflict. This has more recently become known as emotional intelligence or EQ. Katz suggests that this skill is crucial at all levels of management as the skills allows managers to effectively communicate, motivate, lead, delegate and negotiate within the organisation to achieve goals with effectiveness and efficiency.

Conceptual skills describe the ability of the manager to see the company as a whole and the relationships between departments and how the company fits into the market place. This ability allows the manager to conceptualise and think about abstract situations. Conceptual skills are required by all levels of management for decision making. Katz suggests that these skills are more important in top management as they often deal with abstract ideas as opposed to lower level managers that spend more time and effort in dealing with more observable objects and processes.

In conclusion the responsibility and role of a manager may depend on the position and level in the organisation. The role of a first line manager working on a mining project at bhp obviously does not do exactly the same thing as the chief executive officer at bhp but this does not mean that their jobs are inherently different. The differences are of degree and emphasis of skill sets and competencies, not of function. All managers regardless of their level within the organisation need to make decisions and need to perform the basic functions being to plan, organise, lead and control to implement their programs.

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