Managers are people who get the work done through other people. Managers use their conceptual, human, and technical skills to perform four management functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling in all organizations - large and small, manufacturing and service, profit and non-for-profit. But not all managers' job is the same. Managers are responsible for different departments, work at different levels in the hierarchy, and meet different requirements for achieving high performance. All managers must contribute to planning, organizing, leading, and controlling in their organizations - but in different amounts and ways.
Top managers are at the top of the hierarchy and are responsible for the entire organization. They have such titles as president, chairperson, executive director, chief executive officer (CEO), and executive vice-president. Top managers are responsible for setting organizational goals, defining strategies for achieving them, monitoring and interpreting the external environment, and making decisions that affect the entire organization. They look to the long-term future and concern themselves with general environmental trends and the organization's overall success. Among the most important responsibilities for top managers are communicating a shared vision for the organization, shaping corporate culture, and nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit that can help the company keep pace with rapid change. Today more than ever before, top managers must engage the unique knowledge, skills, and capabilities of each employee.
Middle managers work at middle levels of the organization and are responsible for business units and major departments. Examples of middle managers are department head, division head, manager of quality control, and director of the research lab. Middle managers typically have two or more management levels beneath them. They are responsible for implementation the overall strategies and policies defined by top managers. Middle managers are concerned with the near future, are expected to establish good relationships with peers around the organization, encourage teamwork, and resolve conflicts.
Recent trends in corporate restructuring and downsizing have made the middle manager's job difficult. Many companies have become lean and efficient by laying off middle managers and by slashing middle management levels. Traditional pyramidal organization charts are flattening, allowing information to flow quickly from top to bottom and decisions to he made with the greater speed necessary in today's highly competitive global marketplace. Nowadays there is a tendency of middle management shrinking. For example, Eastman Kodak recently cut middle management by 30 percent and reduced its middle management levels from seven to three. The Medical Systems Group at General Electric cut middle management by 33 percent. These cuts have improved the efficiency and performance of many corporations via improved responsiveness to customers, speed in new product development, and increased profits. The decline in middle management and the simultaneous improvement in corporate efficiency are