Mintzberg's Ten Management Roles

Mar 10, 2014

Mintzberg's Ten Management Roles

LMC explains Mintzberg's Ten Management Roles




Informational Monitor Seek and receive information, scan papes and reports, maintain interpersonal contacts.
  Disseminator Forward information to others, send memos, make phone calls.
  Spokesperson Represent the unit to outsiders in speeches and reports.
Interpersonal Figurehead Perform ceremonial and symbolic duties, receive visitors.
  Leader Direct and motivate subordinates, train, advise and influence.
  Liason Maintain information links in and beyond the organisation.
Decisional Entrepreneur Initiate new projects, spot opportunities, identify areas of business development.
  Disturbance handler Take corrective action during crises, resolve conflicts amongst staff, adapt to external change.
  Resource allocator Decide who gets resources, schedule, budget, set priorities.
  Negotiator Represent department during negotiations with unions, suppliers, and generally defend interests.

This diagram has been recreated by LMC.

Mintzberg's Ten Management Roles are a complete set of behaviours or roles within a business environment. Each role is different, thus spanning the variety of all identified management behaviours. When collected together as an integrated whole (gestalt), the capabilities and competencies of a manager can be further evaluated in a role-specific way.

The Ten Management Roles

The ten roles explored in this theory have extensive explanations which are briefly
developed here:

  • Figurehead: All social, inspiration, legal and ceremonial obligations. In this light, the manager is seen as a symbol of status and authority.

  • Leader: Duties are at the heart of the manager-subordinate relationship and include structuring and motivating subordinates, overseeing their progress, promoting and encouraging their development, and balancing effectiveness.

  • Liaison: Describes the information and communication obligations of a manager. One must network and engage in information exchange to gain access to knowledge bases.

  • Monitor: Duties include assessing internal operations, a department's success and the problems and opportunities which may arise. All the information gained in this capacity must be stored and maintained.

  • Disseminator: Highlights factual or value based external views into the organisation and to subordinates. This requires both filtering and delegation skills.

  • Spokesman: Serves in a PR capacity by informing and lobbying others to keep key stakeholders updated about the operations of the organisation.

  • Entrepreneur: Roles encourage managers to create improvement projects and work to delegate, empower and supervise teams in the development process.

  • Disturbance handler: A generalist role that takes charge when an organisation is unexpectedly upset or transformed and requires calming and support.

  • Resource Allocator: Describes the responsibility of allocating and overseeing financial, material and personnel resources.

  • Negotiator: Is a specific task which is integral for the spokesman, figurehead and resource allocator roles.

As a secondary filtering, Mintzberg distinguishes these roles by their responsibilities towards information. Interpersonal roles, categorised as the figurehead, leader and liason, provide information. Informational roles link all managerial work together by processing information. These roles include the monitor, the disseminator and the spokesperson. All the remaining roles are decisional, in that they use information and make decisions on how information is delivered to secondary parties.

Generalist and specialist management

The core of Mitzberg's Ten Managerial Roles is that managers need to be both organisational generalists and specialists. This is due to three reasons:

  • External frustrations including operational imperfections and environmental pressures.
  • Authority disputes which upset even basic routines.
  • The expected fallibility of the individual and human, manager.

Mintzberg's summary statement may be that the role of a manager is quite varied and contradictory in its demands, and that it is therefore not always the lack of managerial prowess, but the complexity of individual situations demanding a variety of roles, which troubles today's manager.

The ten roles, therefore, can be applied to any managerial situation where an examination of the levels to which a manager uses each of the ten 'roles' at his or her disposal is required.

London Management Centre offer a wide range of Management training courses in London designed to focus on the skills and approaches required to build, motivate and manage teams and individuals. 

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