This article throws light upon the three categories of roles played by managers in an organisation. The categories are: 1. Interpersonal Roles 2. Informational Roles 3. Decisional Roles.
Category # 1. Inter-Personal Roles:
The need for these roles arises because managers constantly interact with the superiors, peers, subordinates and the outside parties. Unless a person is a role model to these parties, he cannot be called a successful manager. The three main interpersonal roles are:
(a) Manager as the figurehead:
The manager performs duties like signing documents, making speeches, greeting official visitors, attending social functions of employees, recognising employees for their achievements and other duties of legal and social nature.
(b) Manager as the leader:
He looks after interests of his subordinates and solves their psychological and work-related problems. He lays down goals for his followers, coordinates their individual goals with organisational goals, motivates them to accomplish those goals and creates enthusiasm, loyalty and confidence amongst them to achieve the said goals.
(c) Manager as the liaison:
The manager acts as an integrating force for different groups (superiors and subordinates and people working at the same level) within the organisation and for the organisation with the outside world (such as society, consumers, Government, trade unions etc.).
Category # 2. Informational Roles:
The manager remains informed about the activities in the internal and the external environment and communicates them to make effective business decisions.
In this context, he performs the following three roles:
(a) Managers as monitors:
To keep themselves informed of the internal and external organisational environment, managers monitor the activities of the organisation by reading journals and periodicals. They solve problems according to the situation. They also collect information about their environment through liaison work and conduct tours so that organisation works effectively within the environmental constraints.
(b) Managers as disseminators:
The information that managers collect as monitors is transmitted to members of the organisation. This is done through formal and informal interaction of managers with the subordinates; by holding meetings or by circulating notices and circulars.
(c) Managers as spokespersons:
Managers serve as a link between the superiors and subordinates and also between the external and internal organisational environment. The instructions and ordinances issued by superiors are passed to the subordinates and reactions and problems of subordinates are communicated to the superiors.
Changes in plans, policies and procedures of the organisation are also intimated to the outside world. Thus, a communication network is created between different sections of society (environment) and the organisation.
Category # 3. Decisional Roles:
After collecting information from internal and external sources, managers use this information to solve problems in different situations. They choose the best alternative to solve the stated problem.
The main decisional roles are:
(a) Managers as entrepreneurs:
Managers think of new ideas and implement them within the framework of resources. It may require changes in products, processes, technology etc. which may not be easy. It is possible through innovations.
Business houses are the creation of society with perpetual succession in mind. As entrepreneurs, managers ensure that the business continues to exist and be successful in future.
Managers also take the risk of outcome of their decisions as these decisions are based on environmental variables which are subject to change. These changes have to be incorporated in organisational processes to adapt the organisation to environmental requirements.
(b) Managers as disturbance handlers:
Managers deal with disturbances in and outside the organisation by reviewing the situation and making strategies to solve them. There may be problems such as firing of employees by the superiors, strike by employees, demanding higher wages by the employees, shortage of raw material, complaints by employees, facing tough situation with customers or suppliers which need active role of managers as disturbance handlers to solve them.
(C) Managers as resource allocators:
Managers allocate resources (physical, financial and human) to various activities of the organisation in the order of need so that organisational goals can be achieved efficiently.
(d) Managers as negotiators:
They mediate between organisation, employees and other stakeholders. In case of conflict, they work in the interest of both, the organisation and the stakeholders (shareholders, employees, consumers etc.).
While performing the functions of management, managers perform various roles for effective goal attainment:
i. While planning, managers have to make various decisions based on important information. Thus, they actively perform informational and decisional roles.
ii. While organising, they decide about creating departments, assign responsibility to people, delegate them the authority, decide the structure of organisation etc. and, thus, actively perform the decisional role.
iii. While staffing, they deal with people, find out various sources of recruitment and decide the process of selection. In doing so, they are actively performing the interpersonal role.
iv. While directing, managers work on policies related to motivation, leadership and communication. They actively deal with people and frame policies of direction by heavily relying on information collected by them from organisational members. The interpersonal and informational roles help in performing the direction function.
v. While controlling, managers collect information about the performance of employees and inform them about deviations to avoid their recurrence. This function is facilitated by performing the informational role.