Role of a manager

What is the role of a manager and why is it important for organizations?

Henry Fayol (1916) defines management as a process; practise of planning, organizing and staffing; direct and controlling activities of an organisation in a systematic way in order to achieve a common goal. Management can also been seen as function, a social process i.e.; planning, controlling and motivation, authority, discipline and a field of study. Drucker (1993) His approach to management is that it is a denoting function as well as the people who discharge it. It could be a social position or an authority. But other writers take the view that management is not a different discipline. It is identifying that a single discipline covers the responsibility of a manager, or agreeing the disciplines that a manager needs in order to successfully perform the job. Mullins (2008)

Minzberg (1973) classified the roles of a manager into three, interpersonal, informational and decisional roles (Mullins 2008).

Firstly in the interpersonal roles the manager is seen as a symbol in the organisation and is obliged to perform a number of duties. He/she defines the atmosphere in which the organization will work. For instance using any form of leadership style like participative, consultative or exploitive authoritative styles (McKenna 2000). A manager will deal and maintain the important web of relationships that exists between the numerous individuals and groups within and outside the organization. He/she uses the powers of charisma to transmit information, make strategic decisions, and integrate individual needs and organizational goals, to bring individual and organizational needs into a common accord. Therefore, possessing visible managerial power, that is legitimate, formal and goes with authority (http://www.bola.biz/mintzberg).

Secondly in informational roles, the manager is seen as a monitor who is frequently seeking information and being bombarded with information that enables him/her to understand what is taking place within the organization and its environment (Paolillo1987) by observing internal operations, external events, analyses new ideas & trends. The manager disseminates external information into the organization and internal information (Buchanan and Huczynski 2004) from one subordinate to another. The manager needs to determine what kind of information (facts or value) been filtered into the (Barrie1994) organisation. The manager's role is to transmit information out to the organization's environment to speak on behalf of the organization

Thirdly and lastly, in the decisional roles the manager acts as an initiator and designer of much of the controlled change of the organization. By using the monitoring role (Minzberg 1973), he/she seeks opportunities, identifies problems, and initiates actions to improve situations. Managers can be involved in improving project designs by delegating and supervising the projects. As a formal authority, the manager must oversee the system by which organizational resources are allocated (Mullins 2008). Where he/she schedules of time, programmes work and authorises actions as well as a negotiator in activities.

Thompson (1967) argued and proved that there are more factors that will determine the managerial roles by Mintzberg (1973). He derives that the environment is a key factor used to determine Managerial roles. The environment is defined in two categories which are complexity and dynamism. Fore instance, a manger cannot predict future events because of environmental situations reoccurring all the time. And also a manger cannot predict future events when changes are radical and the predictability is low. Therefore, making complexity the driving force for informational roles, while dynamism for decisional roles. In addition Drucker (1933) identifies three tasks which are equally as important, but essentially different, that has to be performed as well as five basic operations which are setting objectives, organising, motivates and communicates, measures and develops people. In comparison to Mintzberg (1973) roles they are quite similar but on the contrary Drucker (1993 cited in Mullins 2008) added motivation and development which is equally as important as the rest. A manager has to have the ability to motivate his/her team members to achieve the objectives of the organisation. The advantages of development and training are not illusory but it will equip team members to carry out their tasks, monitor, and complex products and services for the organisations.

In conclusion the classical managerial roles, the interpersonal roles have been found to be highly placed and associated with high level of performance for an organisation (Warner 1997). Researchers have proved that decisional roles also play a major role in the expansion and growth of a company i.e.; creating a path and (Buchanan and Huczynski 2004) pace for international development. Ensuring that organisation serves its basic purpose i.e. efficiently and effectively producing goods and services. Designing and maintaining the stability of the operations of the organisation (McKenna 2000).

Why is it important for managers to understand motivation and how can this improve organizational performance?

Everything achieved in or by an organisation eventually depends on human activity and managers. The managers want subordinates who are willing to channel their energies into their allotted tasks (Child 1984). McKenna (2000) suggests that motivation arises when people behave in a certain way and respond to conditions operating within and outside them. (Daft 2008) illustrates motivation as specific behaviour driven by the basic needs such as food, achievement, or money to fulfil them.

Motivation is an important tool managers tend to often under-utilized in today's workplace. Managers need to understand and use motivation in (Daft 2008) the workplace to inspire employees to work, both individually and as a team, to produce the best results for the organization in the most efficient and effective way. Writers assumed that motivation had to be generated externally, but it is now clear that each employee has his/her own set of motivating forces (Mullins 2008). Nadler and Lawler III suggest how managers can apply the basic ideas of expectancy theory of motivation (Porter and Lawler 1968) to enhance organisational performance by carefully identifying and addressing these motivating forces of employees. When the forces of motivation have been determined, the manager tends to know the type of reward that is expected of each employee. The employees then have a feeling as though they are part of a greater good, recognition for a job well done and having managers who value their contributions to the company. These rewards are in two forms, intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic are tangible rewards that are determined by organisational level and are outside the control of individual managers, while Intrinsic are psychological rewards such as a sense of challenge and achievement, receiving appreciation or positive recognition (Mullins 2008). In the foundations of motivation, the manager needs to know the four perspectives on employee motivation which are: the traditional approach, the human relations approach, the human resource approach and the contemporary approach Daft (2008) in other to achieve organisational objectives. The contemporary approach lays more emphasis on employee motivation, which the manager needs to focus on as regards performance of the targeted objectives and projects. These are dominated by the three theories. They are the content theories which underlines the basic human needs, the process theories that is concerned with the processes that influences the behaviour, and the reinforcement theories which focuses the employee learning of desired work behaviours. In other to enhance organisational performance (Leavitt, Pondy & Boje 1988) established ways by using Porter and Nadler III diagnostic analysis of the expectancy theory .

In conclusion, performance is very essential when concerned in making organisations work effectively; therefore failure to maintain a culture of employee motivation will not lead a company toward achieving its goals, but will instead foster mediocrity and apathy among the workers. A manger to influence work behaviour for team members, he/she must have a clear understanding of motivation and the factors. There are other theories and models of motivation but like the expectancy theory it provides a clear understanding to the nature of behaviour and builds more effective organisational performance.

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.

There are several things a business can do to strive for survival. One of the keys for such survival is the organizational structure. An organisational structure creates the style in which it functions and performs (Fincham and Rhodes 2005). Mullins (1993) Mabey, Salaman & Storey (2001), show the structure of an organisation as the form of dealings between responsibilities in an organisation and its various parts. The writers see structure as a purpose for serving, and assigning jobs and responsibilities in order to direct activities and achieve the organisational goals. A good structure is important because it allows managers to plan, direct, organise and control the performance of the organisation Mullins (1993) Mabey, Salaman & Storey (2001). Writers have critically analysed the importance of an organisation's structure and the relationship between the organisation's size, strategy, technology, environment and culture. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s British Airways demonstrated a necessary change in culture, its context on its environment and the transformation on the organisational structure (Blyton & Turnbull 1998, Legge 1994, Colling, 1995). The management culture changed employees directly and aimed to secure commitment rather than resigned behaviour compliance. Mintzberg (1989) has written comprehensively and vitally on the importance of organisational structure. Miller (1989) has examined the importance of configurations of strategy and structure. Handy (1990, 1993) has argued the importance of culture in relation to organisational design and structure and the need for new organisational forms. In Trafalgar House, the organisational design is highly fragmented, the managers tend to be organised in hierarchical chains. But the need for new forms arouse due to the ever changing needs of clients (Barlow& Jashapara 1998). Pascale, Milleman and Gioja (2000) believe design is the invisible pass that brings organizations to life and vice versa. In addition, organisational structure and design are closely related (Mabey, Salaman & Storey, 2001) with many aspects of human resource management. Therefore structure has a key role in the all important human dimension of an organisation.

Elizabeth McMillan (2000) argued that if the structure of an organisation and the underlying design principles which construct it are not in tune with the core purposes of the organisation and its many environments then it is doubtful to productively survive. Frequently the importance of organisation structure is ignored and Miller (1989) points to a break in the literature of structure whereby the content of business strategies, have not been widely considered in relation to structure. One of the most important aspects of a manager's role is the design of organisational structures, yet this is often a neglected responsibility (Senge, 1994). McMaster (1996) argued that organisational design is not well unstated and traditional management education does not include the development of any understanding of the ideology of corporate design.

In analysing the effectiveness of an organisational structure, there are keys considerations used to determine the effectiveness in an organisation such as the principle of the design, culture, human resource systems, technology and the environment (Mullins 2008). The social factor such as culture represents the basic assumptions, values and the norms shared by the organisations employees. It orients employees to the organisations prime aims and objectives, and allows them to suggest the kinds of behaviours necessary for success of the business. The human resource systems should include the mechanisms for selecting, developing appraising and rewarding employees. The system should be able to influence the mix skills, personalities and behaviours of the organisations employees. The structural system should be able describe how the attention and resources are focused on the tasks and responsibilities. Thereby, selecting any structural approach that best fits the line of business. It could be functional, divisional, matrix, team and virtual network forms of structure (Daft 2008). It is quite rare to find organisations applying only one form of organisational structure in a business. The divisional structural approach is used in manufacturing firms like Ford Motors. They used decentralized structure to take charge and have their divisions under command, especially when handling their line of products and services efficiently over a wide geographical area, (Chandler Jr.1990). By using this strategy it gave their top mangers direct control and responsibilities for the financial results of the division which was a key success in the market place. The approach allowed flexibility and quick responses to environmental changes, with enhancement of innovations. But the con of this approach is they would have a duplication of resources across departments. They would have less technical depth and specialization and poor coordination across division (Mullins 2008). Google has a very different organizational structure than most companies have to deal with. It is made up of many different share holders and this makes it hard to keep the organization in the levels of the company (Google News). They use both the team and functional structural approach because it reduces the barriers among the (David J. Hickson 1974) various departments in the organisation and increases cooperation with employees and team members. Their response and decision making times are shorter. It gives better morale, enthusiasm from employee involvement (Daft 2008). Sergey Brin and Larry Page the owners of the company (Google News), but in other to maintain control of the company both now and in the future the organisational structure is designed to accommodate the control. The con of this structural approach is that they would be experiencing poor communication across the functional departments, slow responses to external changes; lagging innovation (Daft 2008). Decision making will be centred at the top hierarchy creating delays in the process (Mullins 2007). Matrix structure combines both functional and divisional structures. For instance Coca Cola Company has a functional structure and then assigns a manager for each product like Fanta, Schweppes, Diet coke etc. Some of the employees will have two managers; a functional manager and a product manager. This type of structure tries to get the benefits of functional structure and also of divisional structure; however, it is not easy to implement because of the dual authority. But structure has been very useful and effective for company (Anuradha Nayak 2007). The virtual network is modern structure that includes the linking of numerous, separate organizations to optimize their interaction in order to accomplish a common, overall goal. An example is a joint venture like Sony Ericson to build a complex, technical systems such as a mobile phone.

Burns and Stalker (1961) concluded that if an organisation is to achieve maximum effectiveness then its structure must fit with or match the rate of change in its environments.

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