Mintzberg’s managerial roles

Published on 01/03/2024

Mintzberg’s managerial roles

Published on 01/03/2024
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Mintzberg’s managerial roles

Henry Mintzberg’s managerial roles in a company are described as far from orderly, focused, and linear. The daily work of efficient managers involves navigating chaotic, unpredictable, and disorderly situations where distinguishing between the trivial and the essential is not straightforward.

In reality, a manager’s work is based on adopting different roles according to each situation, thereby contributing a certain degree of order to the inherent chaos in human organizations.

The daily routine of a manager in any type of company requires embodying different types of roles known as managerial roles. All of these roles require the necessary skills for proper performance leading to the expected results. However, unlike other positions within the company, the greatest difficulty lies in the fact that most of these functions involve interaction with other people in one way or another.

Henry Mintzberg’s book, “The Nature of Managerial Work,” provides a deeper understanding of managerial activity. In it, he categorizes managers’ activities into ten categories, breaking down the roles that each entails and describing the behaviors associated with them. In his classification, three major types can be distinguished: interpersonal roles, informational roles, and decisional roles.

Interpersonal Roles

This category encompasses all behaviors structured around the associations of two or more people in terms of the long term. The nature of the bond can be personal, based on feelings or emotions, or professional, involving a specific interest or referring to a particular business.

Within the area of interpersonal relationships proposed by Mintzberg, three managerial roles can be grouped:

Figurehead

Stands out as a representative of the organization in dealings with other companies and within the community.

Leader

This is the most comprehensive role as it relies on the ability to guide, influence others and their behaviors, motivate, build teams, and define the atmosphere, culture, and corporate policies.

Liaison

Defines functions through which horizontal relationships are established with individuals at the same level within the company and connects the organization with its surrounding environment.

The Informational Roles

Mintzberg’s category of informational roles describes the behaviors of managers in their communication-related aspect. This area encompasses all actions required for decision-making, ultimately arising from this bidirectional or multidirectional exchange. Its mission establishes it as one of the most crucial areas in the work of anyone holding such a position.

Monitor

Identifies the managerial role as the focal point for the inflow of information. The continuous search and reception of information are essential elements from which a complete understanding of the company’s reality and its environment can be achieved. With this knowledge, the manager can thoroughly engage in threat detection and the pursuit of opportunities.

Disseminator

This role describes the manager’s function of communicating information from external sources to the organization. They must demonstrate expertise in implementing newly acquired knowledge.

The Decisional Roles

Decision-making is an inherent part of any managerial reality. Among their functions is the ability to decide and choose what is best for the company, selecting from all possible alternatives. 

Quantitative methodologies are often used in this area, especially when the focus is on resolving situations in the best way possible and often within tight deadlines. Precision is fundamental for executing any of the following roles:

Entrepreneur

This facet emphasizes the manager’s mission to seek opportunities for the organization. Exploring options and detecting potential adverse situations are necessary for initiating any changes.

Acting within a sufficient time frame can make the difference between an excellent and disastrous outcome. Therefore, many managers nowadays prefer to rely on automation, avoiding subjectivity and errors, using software from WorkMeter, which is a productivity measurement tool for managing work activities.

Handler of Anomalies and Crises

Describes the behavior that the manager adopts when dealing with unforeseen situations. Their ability to react, negotiate, regulate, and face such circumstances must be impeccable. The origins of these situations can vary and may come from the staff, clients, resources, the market, etc. In such a situation, having reliable and up-to-date data is necessary for successful decision-making.

Resource Allocator

One of the most obvious roles, encompassing functions related to the distribution of human and material resources in the company. This includes incentive management, task and time planning, project management, and authorizations.

Negotiator

The managerial role involves being the visible head in negotiation processes that extend beyond the organization. Their role as a spokesperson is crucial.

Several studies reveal that the importance of managerial roles varies depending on the level and functional area of the manager.

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