Based on the internationalization of companies, industries, and economies had being changed the business world pervasive over the last several decades; increasingly, the operation of managers is facing diversity. They pursue their management under different economic conditions, procuring materials and components in global markets, and are confronted with challenges that new, foreign rivals produce. (Saloner, Shepard & Podolny, 2001) In brief, managers at different levels and under different situations may have different functions, roles and skills.
Functions of management indicated by Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, and Coulter, (2003) based on Fayol’s theory are planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Broadly speaking, all managers in daily activities must have the capabilities to realize performance problems as well as opportunities, make rational decision and perform appropriately. They accomplish their goals by the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the use of resources. (Schermerhorn, Campling, Poole, & Wiesner, 2004)
Before the discussion, it is essential to identify the managerial roles. Mintzberg concludes that ten management roles, which can be grouped as interpersonal, informational and decisional roles. The interpersonal roles involve interactions with people throughout the work, which have three sub-roles of figurehead, leader and liaison. The informational roles are concerned with the transfer of information, which relate to sub-roles of monitor, disseminator and spokesperson. The decisional roles entail making decisions to benefit the organizations eventually, involving sub-roles as entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator and negotiator. (Robbins et al, 2003)
The validity of Mintzberg’s framework in different types of organizations and at different levels within the organizations has been proved by a number of follow-up studies. Generally, the evidence supports the notion that managers – regardless of the organization type or level in the organization – perform similar roles. “However, the emphasis that managers give to the various roles seems to change within their organizational level.” (Robbins et al, 2003, p13) Specifically, it is more important for managers at higher level to act as the roles of disseminator, figurehead, negotiator, liaison and spokesperson. On the other hand, it is less crucial for middle or top level managers to perform the leader role rather than lower-level managers. Accordingly, the roles of managers differentiate from levels that managers are situating.
A study of Mintzberg’s role formulation in four Asian countries conducted by Pearson and Chatterjee (2003) finds that although the roles intersect significantly, managers Δ perform them in a very different form. Four Asian countries were chosen in terms of economic distance measurement. Japan was chosen for its well-known culture and economy; Thailand was selected because of ‘its role as the epicenter of economic crisis’, while Malaysia and Brunei were concerned with the typical Islamic societies. Several distinguishing features have been revealed from the study.
First, for all managerial roles, except for negotiator, the managers of different countries perceived the assessed managerial roles to have substantially different levels of importance. Second, these managers also reported the frequency of employment of these ten Mintzberg roles diverged substantially between countries. These country differences were expected, given the various business contexts in terms of culture, government interventionist policies, and the personal value system of individual managers.
Finally, behaviors other than the nominated ten Mintzberg roles were employed by the study managers. (Pearson and Chatterjee, 2003, pp 702-703)In the contemporary business market, work settings are becoming more complex; employees are pursuing their tasks with new expectation. These are leading to a considerable alteration in managerial roles. The results of the study append to Mintzberg’s statement that the socio-cultural environment, which inclusive political, economical and cultural variables, can have an insurmountable influence on managers’ roles to some extent. (Pearson & Chatterjee, 2003)According to Burcher, Lee, and Sohal, (2004), roles of production and operations managers keep on changing constantly.
In the last quarter of the twentieth century, due to stimulative global competitions, their organizational context and the subjective experiences has been changing. (Burcher et al, 2004, p.419) The 1977 study shows that managers in 1970s were less qualified and motivated in their professional area, while the survey of 1986 reveals phenomenon that managers were suffering from the poor training. The 1999 study identifies the problem that the proportion of graduate production managers has increased. Facing the changeable environment, roles of managers have to become more multifunctional. Not only focusing on the area of quality, managers also consider systems design and product development. Adjusting to the pace of technology development, production managers perform informational roles more often, so that they can identify problems immediately. Furthermore, managers remain their satisfaction of their job by making effort to improve efficiency of organizations, not only regard their career as an obligation. (Burcher et al, 2004)
Burcher, P.G., Lee, G., L., & Sohal, A., S., (2004), “The changing roles of production and operations managers in Britain from the 1970s to the 1990s”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 409 – 423
Pearson, C.L., & Chatterjee, S.R., (2003), “Managerial work roles in Asia: An empirical study of Mintzberg’s role formulation in four Asian countries”, The Journal of Management Development, Vol. 22, Issue 8, pp. 694-707
Robbins, S.P., Bergman, R., Stagg, I., ; Coulter, M., (2003), Management 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall, Frenchs Forest
Saloner, G., Sherpard, A., ; Podolny, J., (2001), Strategic Management, John Wiley ; Sons, New York
Schermerhorn, J.R., Campling, J., Poole, D., ; Wiesner, R., 2004, Management, an Asia-pacific Perspective, John Wiley ; Sons, Milton