The role of a manager has far exceeded what has been described in past years by classical theorist Henry Fayol. In today’s organizations, managers are faced with the complexities of a dynamic environment where changes occur as a result of its internal and external environments. Therefore the manager’s role differs across organizational levels and functions. Organizations have goals and objectives which they strive to achieve and these can be arrived at through a coordinated effort of the individuals in the organization.
An organization does not exist in isolation, it comprises of a collective group of individuals working together to realize its goals and objectives.
It is therefore the responsibility of the manager to ensure these goals and objectives are achieved against the backdrop of varying employee needs, government policies, investment decisions, different units/departments and bureaucracy, where such exists. This makes the manager’s role very complex because they always have to consider the implications of their actions and an important skill they need to develop is managing change (Hannagan T, 2008). These changes occur as a result of its internal and external environments such as changes in government and economic policies, cultural matters, technology innovations, change in consumer demand, competitors and labour unions. In order to maintain a competitive advantage over its market competitors, a manager must be creative and innovative in setting up company policies, structures and methods of working.
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What is Management?
Management can be defined as a process that involves combining functions of planning, organizing, directing and controlling to the effective and efficient use of all available material, financial, informational and human resources in order to achieve stated organizational goals. (Hannagan T, 2008). Management is about utilizing resources that is available through proper planning and organizing. Everyone is a manager because at any point in ones life, one is managing his/her home, resources or friends/colleagues or bosses whom they interact with. All these efforts are directed towards a goal that is intended to be achieved. Naylor (2004) noted five key elements in defining what management is to be: Achieving organizational objectives; Within a changing environment; Balancing efficiency, Effectiveness and equity; Obtaining the most from limited resources and with and through other people.
The Role of a Manager
The roles of a manager has changed over the years and although in organizations today, the roles played by managers have far gone beyond that of planning, organizing, direct, coordinating and controlling as described by the classical writer ”Fayol” (1916), these functions cannot be totally ignored. The important thing to note is that managers play a very crucial role towards the success of organizations and their actions have implications which make them accountable to their superiors. Mintzberg (1973) and a number of other scholars have criticized the classical functions of management, but you might agree that managers today perform a variety of tasks which includes those functions described above. The role of managers have become more complex and interactive as Mintzberg noted.
According to Mintzberg (1973) study, the fundamental functions of the Chief Executive are not in line with the description of the classical views of management. He recognized the activities of a manager based on ten managerial roles which were divided into: Interpersonal roles- Figurehead, Leader and Liaison, Informational roles-Monitor, Disseminator and Spokesman, and Decisional roles-Entrepreneur, Disturbance handler, Resource allocator and Negotiator.
Evident by Mintzberg’s study which focuses on top level managers, the roles of a manager, though similar, differ according to the levels and functions in the organization. The tasks performed by a manager will change as he rises up the hierarchy from one level to another. A role of a Chief Executive will involve planning, policy formulation and implementation, networking with outsiders and decision making. A middle manager will be engaged in scheduling and allocating work, motivating employees, communication, negotiations and others. The lower level managers are dealing with delegating, staffing issues, record keeping and monitoring output.
A manager is also responsible for managing all resources which includes employees in the organization. A manager should ensure resources are well organized and efforts are coordinated effectively and efficiently in alignment with company strategies and objectives. A manager’s role involves getting things done through other people (Parker Follet, 1941 cited in Hannagan T, 2008).
In today’s competitive and global world, where changes in our environments have dominated our lives and for businesses, innovation is seen as an important role to be played by managers. A manager needs to create new ideas for his company in order to survive in this highly competitive market. Most successful companies like Apple, Nokia, Toyota and Virgin Airlines are achieving success through their innovations in technology, strategies and business models which is giving them competitive advantage.
Generally, the role of managers should be determined by the organizations industry level and present situation. When work methods and processes change constantly, managing change becomes the most important management attribute.
Why management is important for organizations.
All organizations have goals in which they strive to achieve. Such goals may be to make profits, increase market share or share price. These goals can only be achieved if all efforts are properly coordinated by management.
The success or failure of any business lies in the hands of its management. Therefore it is the role of the manager to make good use of the resources it has at its disposal effectively and efficiently to guide the organization towards accomplishing its goals. A manager designs an effective plan of activities which is geared towards the achievement of these goals and ensures that these activities are effectively assigned to competent employees/members to perform. This will ensure greater performance and increase in productivity of each worker which will contribute to the overall success of organizational goals and objectives.
Management plays a pivotal role which cannot be disregarded in the least as they provide the guiding compass to give direction the organization will take, to position itself and take advantage of the market in by capitalizing on its strengths, preventing weaknesses, identify its opportunities and mitigate the threats. It also provides the following:-
Ensures organization purpose is achieved – efficiency in goods and services production
Design and maintain stability of operations of the organization
Optimum utilization of resources
Helps in achieving group goals
Strategy making and adapting in a controlled way to changes in the organization
Serve the key information link between the environment
Essential for properity of the society
2. Why is it important for managers to understand motivation and how can this
improve organizational performance?
Motivation is a critical aspect in every organization and as effective managers, we need to focus not only on technical issues, but also people issues. Every person is a unique creature which explains the difference in their behavior and attitude to particular situations in work environment. The Manager’s role in organizations involves working with people and getting things done through people. Therefore, in order to be successful in its implementation, it is important for managers to have an understanding of the processes of motivational theories of people’s needs in order to be able to influence the worker’s behaviour to improve performance and achieve maximum output in the attainment of company’s goals.
WHAT IS MOTIVATION?
”Motivation can be thought of as a set of forces that energize, direct and sustain behaviour”. (Michael A. Hitt, Black, S. J, and Porter, L.W, 2009). These forces can be internal or external. Motivation is concerned with what makes people behave the way they do and why they behave in a particular manner. In every organization, individual attitude and behavior vary as a result of differing individual needs, preferences, expectations, background and culture which is determined by what motivates them. Every action is always driven by a force of feelings and emotions that makes or drives us to do certain things and this depends on the particular condition.
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Understanding motivation to improve Performance
In recent years, there has been much concern over employee motivation. People are seen as the important asset an organization has and the means to achieving greater performance and therefore, there is the need to motivate these individuals in order to get the best out of them. According to Kreitner et al cited in mullins, 2007, it was suggested that although motivation contributes to work performance, ability to perform the job is also a contributing factor. But to ensure that the job is done, managers need to ensure that the workers are highly motivated. It has become a challenge for managers to meet organizations’ objectives and also satisfying the needs of the employees for motivation and reward to achieve effective productivity.( Manolopoulos, 2007).
The basic motivation theories have been categorized into two types thus:-
Process theory – explain the different variables that affect the way an individual works. its focus is on how these variables motivate an individual’s effort. It provides four important theories that depict how motivation occurs which are Needs-goal theory, Expectancy theory, Equity theory and Porter-Lawler theory. All these theories rely on one another to provide a broader insight of the motivation process. That is, a combination of individual’s perception of fair treatment, Individual needs and Expectations on work outcome and reward.
Content theories focuses on what different needs people have and how to satisfy these needs. The focal point is on human needs and knowing that the needs of individual vary. The various theories developed to give better understanding are: Maslow and Alderfer’s hierarchy of needs, McClelland’s acquired needs theory and Herzberg’s two-factor theory. These theories consider both internal and external factors that have an effect on behavior. (certo and certo, 2005; Hitt, Black, and Porter, 2009).
People have different perspectives on motivation and so does their reaction. Also. According to the needs-goal theory, individual needs differ. So when individuals are given rewards that are not relevant to them, they are not motivated. For example, when an employee from a wealthy background who gets enough money from his/her parents would be less motivated by a higher pay. Perhaps, he/she will be more motivated by a higher level or public recognition. If a manager wants to succeed in motivating employees, an understanding of their personal needs is required.
Some people are of the opinion that an employee is motivated by a higher pay which increases his level of performance and thus output. But in practical reality, it’s not so.
Organizations are mainly concerned with the actual performance of individuals or group and worry less about what really motivates them to perform really well.
Motivation depends on one’s culture. For countries like Japan, Greece and Mexico (where uncertainty avoidance is strong), security is top on their hierarchy needs. Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Netherland which have high quality of life would have social needs at the top. However, some studies are of the idea that there is a universal importance of basic factors in the motivation-hygiene theory. These essential factors like growth, achievement, responsibility and desire for interesting work are rated high to almost all workers, irrespective of their national culture. (Robbins, 1996 cited in Billsberry, 1996).
Managers who can successfully motivate their employees are rewarded by an increasing performance from the employees. However, this is not easy to accomplish. There are certain conditions which can influence the motivation level of many employees, either family or personal circumstances, and these can greatly affect their attitudes and level of performance. Therefore, with an understanding of these motivations, managers have the opportunity to impact on the performance of those who work with and for them if they understand the basic principles involved in the motivational process. (mgt. 2009).
While it is an important factor to understand what motivates an individual, we must also consider the individual’s ability in doing what he is motivated to do. If this is missing, it greatly undermines performance.
1. What is the importance of good structure? Critically examine how structure
relates to the overall effectiveness of an organization. Illustrate your key
arguments with organizationally based examples.
Different organizations exist and irrespective of their size and type, require a certain framework which will guide them to carry out activities in order to achieve their goals.
What is Organizational Structure?
Like the human body which is a skeletal structure that consists of bones, organs and tissues that connect together to make it possible for the body to perform activities, an organizational structure is that framework that is designed to ensure that all activities are operated and carried out in a planned, organized and controlled manner. It identifies each individual’s task and responsibilities and the links of communication within the various subunits. Structure is a guide that shows the flow of work among the positions and among members of the organization (mullins 2007). That is, the relationship between the different levels and subunits and how each unit’s work affects the other.
An organizational structure should integrate the systems, workers and activities so that everyone and every activity is directed towards the same goal of achieving the organizational objectives.
Importance of a Good Structure
A firm’s structure states its formal reporting links, procedures, authority, control and processes in decision making. It is usually difficult for an organization to develop a structure that supports its strategy because of unpredictable elements in the global competitive environments. When structure has been properly aligned with the environment, the organization can effectively implement its strategies, hence, a good structure.
A great challenge facing organizations today in the global market is developing the right structure. This has become a significant determinant for organizations to succeed in the global market. The hierarchical structure of command, authority and control introduced by classical writer Max weber, adopted by organizations leads to a number of inefficiencies in their operations because it does not recognize the need for work and people integration and because of the rigidity, it does not create room for change and co-operation among workers.
According to weber, hierarchy brings about division of labour, allocation of authority among organizational positions. Some people saw this as a poorly masked attempt to legitimize unequal distribution of power that allows some members dominate others.
This form of structure was regarded as static. The open systems theory introduced the idea that encouraged models of growth and change in organizational structures. Also, more dynamic views of structure have been introduced by symbolic and postmodern perspectives. (Hatch 1997).
Organizations ought to be structured effectively to survive in today’s competitive world because, an organization’s structure greatly determines the effectiveness of its strategy and its overall performance. Evident in recent researches, a firm’s structure should be designed to be in shape with its operating environment in order to achieve greater success. The effective implementation of firm’s strategies however, depends on how organizations carefully put together the firm and its activities.
In developing a structure, organizations require a contingency approach which will ensure flexibility in dealing with unanticipated challenges. Some organizations adopt a centralized or decentralized structure which both has its advantages as well as disadvantages depending on the environment it is operating.
Another structure adopted by firms today is the network structure which allows firms to outsource its production or call center operations to other parts of the world. An example of a firm …It must ensure that close contact is maintained with the firms it has outsourced its work to. This type of structure is important because firms have alliances, suppliers and customers they need to be in close contact with.
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