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Section Review

Section 1.2 – What Do Managers Do?

Key Terms

Section Outline
I. What do managers do?

II. The four functions of management
   A. Planning
   B. Organizing
   C. Leading
   D. Controlling

III. Mintzberg’s managerial roles

IV. Katz’s Three Managerial Skills
   A. Technical
   B. Human relations
   C. Conceptual skills

V. Changes impacting the manager’s job


No two managers’ jobs are alike, but management writers and researchers have developed three specific categorization schemes to describe what managers do,: functions, roles, and skills.

Henri Fayol, a French industrialist from the early part of the twentieth century, proposed that managers perform five management functions: planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling.

These functions still provide the basis around which popular management textbooks are organized, but the functions have been condensed to four.

a. Planning involves the process of defining goals, establishing strategies for achieving those goals, and developing plans to integrate and coordinate activities.

b. Organizing is the process of determining what tasks are to be done, who is to do them, how the tasks are to be grouped, who reports to whom, and where decisions are to be made.

c. Leading includes motivating subordinates, influencing individuals or teams as they work, selecting the most effective communication channel, or dealing in any way with employee behavior issues.

d. Controlling is monitoring activities to ensure that they are being accomplished, comparing performance with previously set goals, and correcting any significant deviations.

The continued popularity of the functional approach is a tribute to its clarity and simplicity. Some have argued that the approach is no longer appropriate or relevant.

In the late 1960s, Henry Mintzberg conducted a study of managers at work. He concluded that managers perform 10 different, but highly interrelated roles.

Management roles refer to specific categories of managerial behavior.

a. Interpersonal roles included figurehead, leadership, and liaison activities.

b. Informational roles included monitoring, disseminating, and spokesperson activities.

c. Decisional roles included those of entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator, and negotiator.

Follow-up studies of Mintzberg’s role categories in different types of organizations and at different managerial levels within organizations have generally supported the notion that managers perform similar roles however the emphasis that managers give to the various roles seem to change with the organizational level.. The functional approach still represents the most useful way of conceptualizing the manager’s job.

Managers need certain skills to perform the varied duties and activities associated with being a manager. Robert L. Katz found through his research that managers need three essential skills.

a. Technical skills are skills that include knowledge of and proficiency in a certain specialized field.

b. Human skills include the ability to work well with other people both individually and in a group.

c. Conceptual skills include the ability to think and to conceptualize about abstract and complex situations, to see the organization as a whole, and to understand the relationships among the various subunits, and to visualize how the organization fits into its broader environment.

Managers everywhere are beginning to understand that delivering high-quality service consistently is essential for success and survival in today’s competitive environment and that employees are an important part of that equation.

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