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The manager

 

Managers work in an organization. Therefore, before we can identify who

managers are, it is important to clarify the term organization. Robbins

S.P. (1991) defines an organization as: “a systematic arrangement of

people to accomplish some specific purpose”. We can divide

organizational members into two categories: operatives or managers.

Managers differ from operatives, by the fact that they direct the

activities of others.

 

There are two big classifications of managers: the horizontal

classification only looks at the responsibilities. We can distinguish

the functional manager and the general manager. The functional manager

is responsible for a whole of similar activities, for example, financial

director, commercial director… While the general manager is responsible

for different functional areas, he is often concentrated on one business

activity and acts as a product manager or a division manager. In the

vertical classification, we need to differentiate first-line managers,

middle managers, and top managers. The difference between these three

groups is based on the statute of subordinates.

 

Furthermore, we should pay attention to the difference between a

successful and an effective manager. As Luthans F. (1988) proved, a

successful manager is not necessary an effective manager. The former is

a manager, who has been promoted relatively quickly, while the latter

has satisfied, committed subordinates and high performing units. In

general, we could say that an effective manager is one who attains the

organizational goals.

 

Manager’s job

 

It was Henry Fayol, in the early part of this century, who was the first

to give a global view about the job of manager. He observed that

managers performed 5 management functions: they plan, organize, command,

coordinate and control. In the mid-1950s, these management functions

were reduced to the basic four known as the management process.

 

Figure 1 shows that the tasks of a manager consists of planning,

organizing, leading and controlling.

 

Figure 1: Management Functions

 

 

Source: Management, By: Robbins, S.P., 1991, , Prentice-Hall, Inc, p. 4

 

The planning component encompasses defining the goals, establishing

appropriate strategies, and developing different plans to coordinate the

activities. Furthermore, managers are responsible for designing an

organization’s structure, which clarifies what must be done and by whom.

As the job of manager implies directing activities of others, the

leading function is very important. It consists of motivating

subordinates, resolving conflicts and selecting effective communication

channels. Eventually, a manager has a controlling function. He has to

ensure that the assumed goals will be achieved. Therefore the manager

has to monitor the different activities. Also keep in mind that an

effective manager must be able to perform all four activities

simultaneously.

 

Only recently has this classical view of managers been challenged based

on the observations of five CEO’s. Mintzberg H. (1971) concluded that

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