Henry Mintzberg has identified the managerial role of communication in three ways: 1. Interpersonal Roles 2. Informational Roles 3. Decision Roles.
1. Interpersonal Roles:
Managers act as the figurehead and leader of the organisation. He has to interact with subordinates, suppliers, customers and peers in the organisation.
As a figurehead he may perform the following functions:
(i) Ceremonial duties as the head of the unit.
(ii) Represents organisation in social gatherings.
(iii) Greets visitors.
(iv) Join with customers for lunch.
As a leader managers work with superiors and subordinates and are responsible for performance of subordinates.
As a liaison man he must know how to work with every one inside and outside the organisation to achieve the goals of the organisation. They have to develop networks of mutual obligations with managers at all levels in the organisation. They must get the co-operation and support of all people in the organisation.
2. Informational Roles:
Managers seek information from fellow employees, subordinates and other employees in the organisation about anything that may affect their job and responsibilities. Regarding informational roles they function as monitors, disseminators and spokespersons. As a monitor they constantly look for useful information both with and outside the organisation.
They collect lot of information from outside sources and from employees in the organisation by questioning them. They must be well informed about every aspect of their area. As a disseminator they distribute relevant and useful information at the right time. They convey and inform subordinates in staff meetings and through memos.
As a spokesperson managers also transmit information to people outside the organisation. They keep their superiors well informed about their performance. They speak with outsiders like customers, contractors and Government officials about their performance.
3. Decision Roles:
Managers implement new projects, allocate resources to departments and units and handle disturbances. They make collective and individual decisions based on requirements. According to Mintzberg information is the “basic input to decision making for managers.” As a decision maker he performs the following functions. They initiate change when they get hold a new idea. They are forced to meet difficult problems and find solutions to them irrespective of the decision’s popularity.
In decision making they define the problem, identify the root cause of the problem, develop alternative solutions to the problem and decide about the right solution. On implementation of the decisions they evaluate performance and form opinions about decisions. So manager’s ability to think about the implications of a decision is essential to achieve the objectives of the organisation and that of the unit he is leading.
As a resource allocator every manager faces the problem of limited resources and they have to strike a fair balance between needs and goals. The business units and other organisations are always facing challenges and dynamic situations. To be successful the managers must be good navigators of situation by effective decision-making. They must be venturesome to face uncertainties and take risks depending on the situation.
As a negotiator managers must spend lot of time in negotiating because of their knowledge and authority. Managers handle negotiations with outsiders like suppliers and contractors and with insiders in settling disputes and grievances. Managers face uncertain and turbulent environment.
Reality is only partly predictable and controllable. Managers have neither the time nor the desire to be deep thinkers. They are real performers as they have to cope up with dynamic parade of challenges and surprises. A manager to be effective must have the ability to recognize the appropriate role to play to meet every situation and their flexibility in changing situations.