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
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
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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