The term “Levels of Management” refers to a line of demarcation between various managerial positions in an organization. The number of levels in management increases when the size of the business and work force increases and vice versa. The level of management determines a chain of command, the amount of authority & status enjoyed by any managerial position. The levels of management can be classified in three broad categories: -
- Top level / Administrative level
- Middle level / Executory
- Low level / Supervisory / Operative / First-line managers
Managers at all these levels perform different functions. The role of managers at all the three levels is discussed below:
1. Top Level of Management
It consists of board of directors, chief executive or managing director. The top management is the ultimate source of authority and it manages goals and policies for an enterprise. It devotes more time on planning and coordinating functions.
Top level managers are also called as strategic managers. They have a long term vision for the company. They need to possess conceptual skills so as to set the goals for the organization as a whole. They are not involved in day to day tasks of the company though. The Chief Executive Officer, President, Vice President, Chairman, Board of Directors all belong to this cadre of management.
The top level of management devotes more time on planning, organizing and controlling function of management. They make decisions affecting the organization as a whole. They frame the organizational policy. They are also responsible for mobilization of resources. They possess a lot of experience as they have passed through all other levels of management (lower level and middle level). Hence, they have a broader perspective for the organizational growth and success. They generally make large budgetary decisions for the company and are responsible to the shareholders and the general public. They also appoint the middle level managers and supervise their activities.
The top level management holds a great deal of authority. Their objective is to ensure successful accomplishment of organizational objectives and goals. They need to ensure that whatever plans they have made for organization are effective in future. The decisions made by the top level management are long term in nature. All the important and crucial decisions like that of merger, acquisition and amalgamation are made by top level managers. Hence, they play a major role in organizational growth and performance. Their job is very much transparent. The success or failure of the organization rests on the shoulders of the top level management.
The role of the top management can be summarized as follows –
- Top management lays down the objectives and broad policies of the enterprise.
- It issues necessary instructions for preparation of department budgets, procedures, schedules etc.
- It prepares strategic plans & policies for the enterprise.
- It appoints the executive for middle level i.e. departmental managers.
- It controls & coordinates the activities of all the departments.
- It is also responsible for maintaining a contact with the outside world.
- It provides guidance and direction.
- The top management is also responsible towards the shareholders for the performance of the enterprise.
2. Middle Level of Management
The branch managers and departmental managers constitute middle level. They are responsible to the top management for the functioning of their department. They devote more time to organizational and directional functions. In small organization, there is only one layer of middle level of management but in big enterprises, there may be senior and junior middle level management. Their role can be emphasized as –
- They execute the plans of the organization in accordance with the policies and directives of the top management.
- They make plans for the sub-units of the organization.
- They participate in employment & training of lower level management.
- They interpret and explain policies from top level management to lower level.
- They are responsible for coordinating the activities within the division or department.
- It also sends important reports and other important data to top level management.
- They evaluate performance of junior managers.
- They are also responsible for inspiring lower level managers towards better performance.
3. Lower Level of Management
Lower level is also known as supervisory / operative level of management. It consists of supervisors, foreman, section officers, superintendent etc.
“Supervisory management refers to those executives whose work has to be largely with personal oversight and direction of operative employees”.
In other words, they are concerned with direction and controlling function of management. Their activities include –
- Assigning of jobs and tasks to various workers.
- They guide and instruct workers for day to day activities.
- They are responsible for the quality as well as quantity of production.
- They are also entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining good relation in the organization.
- They communicate workers problems, suggestions, and recommendatory appeals etc to the higher level and higher level goals and objectives to the workers.
- They help to solve the grievances of the workers.
- They supervise & guide the sub-ordinates.
- They are responsible for providing training to the workers.
- They arrange necessary materials, machines, tools etc for getting the things done.
- They prepare periodical reports about the performance of the workers.
- They ensure discipline in the enterprise.
- They motivate workers.
- They are the image builders of the enterprise because they are in direct contact with the workers.