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The multifaceted role of a manager

1649 words (7 pages) Essay in Management

5/12/16 Management Reference this

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“The role of a manager in modern organization is a multi-faceted one-it involves many duties including planning and controlling budgets. However, it is argued that one of the most important and challenging roles of a modern manager is that of successfully managing PEOPLE. Tapping into people’s creativity, motivating them and providing support and appropriate leadership is vital to the success of the organisation” Discuss this statement with a particular focus on exploring what skills are necessary to successfully mange people in today’s workplace.

The complex systems within which people perform their roles in called an organisation: which is also “a coordinated group of people who perform tasks to produce goods and services, colloquially referred to as company” (Muchinsky. P M, 2006). Organisational behaviour is thus “a study of structure, functioning and performance of organisation, and the behaviour of groups and individuals within them” (Pugh, 1971). Studying organisational behaviour is understanding how organisations work as a structure and assess what people accomplish, from the manager to the simple employee. In this present study, we are going to be interested in managers. What is a manager? A definition of a manager could be the one given by Bloisi W et al, who suggested that ” managers are people responsible for working with and through others to achieve objectives by influencing people and system in a changing environment” ( 2003, 50) . This definition gives us a fair insight of what managers do but what are their roles in a modern organisation? Hence, in an attempt to analyse and understand what managers are to accomplish and how, we will subsequently analyse the multifaceted roles of a mangers through the different school of management approach, see why the greatest challenge for a modern manager is to successfully manage people and finally see other skills or competence required for a good manager.

Before the issue of mangers’ role in an organisation is being addressed, it is highly crucial to understand how ‘new’ organisations operate and what a “real” manager is. As depicted earlier, a manager can be portrayed as a person operating within the frame work of an organisation and driven by set objectives and through whom the process of effectively and efficiently combination of factors of production could lead to an optimization of output (profit Ï€). He/she endorses an economic rational behaviour, in relation with the objectives set by their company: which in a sense is “maximising output for given inputs, [bearing in mind the constraints of cost]”.

Several Streams of thought and theories governing the manager’s role have emerged since the beginning the twentieth century from the classical perspectives, the human relation approach, the systems approach to the contingency theory. All of which highlighted the legal responsibilities of a manager which has mutated in parallel with the workforce evolution.

The Classical perceptive defended by Frederick Taylor and his work on scientific management and Fayol later on with the administrative principles [1] of management, both focus on the idea that management can be learned and set in codes systematically. These ideas are mostly concerned with the “structural perspectives” of management: “[focusing] on structuring and design of work and organisation” (Gordon, J (1999, 14).

For Taylor, a manager’s role has to be scientifically driven. He believed that managers have the responsibility to organise, plan and determine the best methods for performing jobs ,describing management as a science in which employees have specific and yet different responsibilities within their organisation. He is one of the first to talk about managerial and non-managerial roles and believed that scientific observation of people at work through survey and “motions studies […] would be the one and only best way to do non-managerial task” (Bloisi W, 2003, 6). Hence after the scientific observation made and the objective set, the manager has to behave in line with the scientific principals whilst recruiting, through the development of work, training and equal division of work between workers and management. However , despite setting a new way of viewing management in an organisation , the scientific approach of Taylor has been acutely criticised because in practice, the theory has said to be ” too preoccupied with productivity” (Bloisi W, 2003, 7) ,thus not really taking into account the employees welfare.

Henri Fayol, a French industrialist for his part developed his own principals of management based of administrative aspect of manager’s role, in which he believed that businesses are divided into six subsystems and to run them successfully, managers have to exercise several duties which comprises; planning, organising, coordinating activities, commanding employees and controlling performance. For Fayol, managers plan by analysing the future and it’s outcomes through anticipation, goal setting, forecasting and decisive actions. They organise through the design of a framework/structure to assist the set goals. They coordinate by bringing together the activities taking place in the organisation. They command by directing the organisation on the path they want it to follow through “leadership and motivation of employee “Jack Duncan (1990,97 ) and finally they control by making sure that everything is undertook as planned and in occurrence keeping an eye on the budget. Fayol also added to his five management function his fourteen principles of management which calls for “Specialization, unity of control unity of command and coordinating activities” Gordon, J (1999, 16).

Managers roles a quite diverse but yet, while the obligation of economic results is a necessity for managers nowadays effective managers are those who manage their employees.

The structural perspectives of management through the classical theories of management held a quite limited view of people as employees. This is why the behavioural approaches were then suggested. In these approaches we have a shift where workers were no more viewed as passive and driven by economical self-interest (which was a rather mechanical point of view) to a more human-centred orientation where they to have their word to say in the organisational efficiency.

These approaches set the structure that alimented the human relations school of thought where mainly Elton Bayo and Abraham Maslow believed that social attitude, relationship with employees and group work were the key for a successful organisation. In 1924, Elton Bayo undertook a research project to determine the relationship between physical working condition and productivity and came out with the Hawthorne effect that suggest that by “simply paying attention to the experimental subjects causes their behaviour to change” (Bloisi W et al , 2003, 7) and thus their productivity would increase. This approach is in reality very different from the classical approach because it inspires a variety of ideas that had no scientific justification. Hence manager should then be aware of the impact they could have if they pay more attention to their employees. Maslow for his part elaborated his theory of motivation where he defines human motivation as “the study of ultimate human goals’ in his 1954 book Motivation and personality “(Bloisi W et al, 2003, 12). This suggests that if a manager motivates effectively his crew, this could lead undoubtedly to an increase of both welfare in the organisation and also output. From the human relations and classical approach came the system approach elaborated by Bernard and the contingency theory, who believed in the social and technical integration of human relations and classical for one and that other that they is no best streams of thought and they were all circumstantial.

Moreover, Henry Mintzberg following his observation of the various streams of though believed that there is a disparity between manager’s role in the classical theories and the reality. He then came out with two contrasting view of managers: the rational heroic view and the chaotic realistic view. For him managers actually fill a series of ten roles that he point out in his book. “The Manager’s job: Folklore and Fact”. For him the rational heroic view implies that the manager know what he and his staff are doing, how and accept responsibility for the problems that can occur and evaluate his performance. The chaotic view implies the way “today’s managers flourish” (Bloisi W et al, 2003, 53) preferring action over reflection. In his ten roles of managers Mintzberg says managers’ formal authority and status comprises interpersonal roles, information roles and decisional roles. For the interpersonal roles, managers have to stand as figureheads of the organisation, as the leaders and as the first liaison officers. For the information roles, they have to be the monitors, the disseminators and the spokesmen. For the decisional role, managers have to be the entrepreneurs, the disturbance handlers, the resource allocators and the negotiators. They must therefore be aware of environment in which they operate and understand how “external factors could influence performance of internal subsystem” (Bloisi W et al, 2003, 53)

Aside from successfully managing the people in the organisation, effective managers are also those who embrace an ethical behaviour whilst working in an organisation, meaning that they have to be aware that legal requirements mandate certain ethical behaviours and have to ask themselves some questions like: “What is morally just or right? And what is likely to benefit our own careers.”(R.Gordon, 1999, 7).

In conclusion, management is a very complex job because of the multifaceted role a manager has to encompass to successfully run a company. Being a manager means, knowing how to plan, to organize, to coordinate activities in the organization, to command the staff and finally to control performances. Aside from all these attributes given to a manager, a manager has also the responsibility to manage his employees effectively by motivating them, providing them support so they can achieve their individual needs, and give them appropriate leadership so they could identify themselves in the organization. Effective manager are also those who know about their biases and try to correct them if possible. After seeing what made a good manager,

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