The Roles Managers Play


The role of managers in organizations is crucial for success and growth. Managers are not just individuals who oversee tasks; they are multifaceted professionals who play various roles, each contributing to the efficient functioning and prosperity of the organization. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the intricacies of the roles managers play, exploring their responsibilities, impact, and the significance of their contributions.

The Three Core Management Roles

When it comes to the roles managers play, renowned management scholar Henry Mintzberg conducted an influential study that identified three core managerial roles: interpersonal, informational, and decisional. These roles encapsulate the diverse responsibilities that managers shoulder to ensure the smooth operation and advancement of their organizations.

The Roles Managers Play

Interpersonal Roles

Interpersonal roles emphasize the importance of personal interactions and relationships in a manager’s daily activities. These roles involve direct interactions with various stakeholders, both internal and external. Managers are the face of their organizations, and their ability to build and maintain relationships greatly influences the success of their teams.

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  1. Figurehead Role: Every manager, as a head of a department or unit, carries out ceremonial duties that symbolize the organization’s leadership. These duties might include representing the company at events or official functions, reinforcing the organization’s image and values.
  2. Leader Role: As leaders, managers guide and motivate their teams towards achieving common goals. They provide direction, support, and inspiration, driving the team’s performance and fostering a productive work environment.
  3. Liaison Role: Managers establish and maintain contacts beyond their immediate units. Building strong relationships with peers, clients, partners, and stakeholders is essential for effective collaboration and the exchange of valuable insights.

Informational Roles

Informational roles highlight the manager’s responsibility for managing and disseminating information within and outside the organization. In today’s data-driven world, accurate and timely information flow is critical for informed decision-making.

  1. Monitor Role: Managers continuously scan the internal and external environment for relevant information. They gather data, analyze trends, and stay informed about changes that may impact the organization.
  2. Disseminator Role: Managers share vital information with their teams, ensuring that everyone is well-informed and aligned. This role involves efficient communication to ensure that accurate information reaches those who need it.
  3. Spokesperson Role: Managers act as the voice of the organization to the external world. They communicate with the media, clients, investors, and other stakeholders, conveying the organization’s values, achievements, and messages effectively.

Decisional Roles

In decisional roles, managers make critical choices that shape the direction and success of the organization. These roles require careful analysis, foresight, and the ability to navigate complex situations.

  1. Entrepreneur Role: Managers, as entrepreneurial thinkers, identify opportunities for innovation and growth. They embrace change, adapt to market dynamics, and take calculated risks to keep the organization competitive.
  2. Disturbance Handler Role: Managers must react swiftly and effectively to unforeseen crises or disruptions. This role demands quick decision-making and crisis management skills to maintain stability and minimize negative impacts.
  3. Resource Allocator Role: Managers must allocate resources wisely to achieve organizational goals. This involves making decisions about budget allocation, personnel deployment, and resource distribution to optimize performance.
  4. Negotiator Role: Negotiations are integral to managerial activities. Managers negotiate with internal and external parties, addressing conflicts, reaching agreements, and ensuring that everyone’s interests are considered.

The Impact of Effective Managerial Roles

The roles managers play have a profound impact on an organization’s success, culture, and performance. A skilled manager who adeptly fulfills these roles can drive positive outcomes and foster an environment conducive to growth. Let’s examine some real-world examples that demonstrate the significance of effective managerial roles.

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Leadership’s Transformative Power

Consider the case of Lee Iacocca, who revitalized Chrysler Corporation during a time of crisis. Through strategic leadership, he formed crucial relationships, restructured management, and secured financial support that saved the company from bankruptcy. Leadership, as seen in Iacocca’s example, can be a decisive factor in turning around a struggling organization.

Navigating Change and Innovation

Innovation-driven leadership is exemplified by figures like Howard Schultz, who revived Starbucks during challenging times. Schultz’s entrepreneurial vision allowed Starbucks to adapt, innovate, and maintain its market position. Similarly, Jeff Bezos’ forward-thinking approach has driven Amazon’s continuous innovation and expansion, showcasing the pivotal role of managers in steering organizations through change.

Crisis Management and Decision-Making

Effective decision-making roles are crucial during crises. Thomas F. Prendergast, as president of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York State, demonstrated his ability to handle labor negotiations and crisis situations. The disturbance handler role he played ensured a functional transit system and underscored the importance of swift and strategic decision-making during unforeseen challenges.

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Resource Allocation and Negotiation

Resource allocation and negotiation roles contribute to an organization’s stability and growth. Managers like Prendergast frequently engage in negotiations, ensuring efficient resource distribution and conflict resolution. Effective resource allocation and negotiation enhance organizational efficiency and maintain positive relationships with stakeholders.


In the complex world of modern business, managers are the linchpins that hold organizations together. Their multifaceted roles encompass interpersonal, informational, and decisional responsibilities that collectively contribute to an organization’s success. Effective managers lead with vision, navigate change, manage crises, allocate resources, and negotiate skillfully. Their impact ripples across the organization, shaping its culture, performance, and future trajectory. As businesses continue to evolve, managers who adeptly fulfill these roles are poised to leave a lasting mark and drive their organizations toward unprecedented achievements.

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