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Roles of a HR Manager

Research on Managerial Roles by Henry Mintzberg and Peter Drucker

Henry Mintzberg, the canadian academic  observed a few managers and analysed their behaviors and arrived at some conclusions which are listed in the table below. He also identified and attributed ten managerial roles of significance in correlation with the managerial functions.

S.NoManagement Functions% of time spent
1.Relating to external environment1.8
2.Planning and setting Objectives19.5
5.Leadership and inter-personal role28.4

This table very clearly explains the role of a manager as a leader and the extent of  influence he exerts on his sub-ordinates. Proper planning and goal-setting are the key contributors for the successful functioning of a firm.


Coming to the managerial roles they can be classified as,

1. Interpersonal roles

2. Informational roles

3. Decisional roles

 Inter-Personal Roles:

  • Figurehead role– The function is more of a ceremonial nature, like attending the family functions of employees, greeting visitors and a manager performs the symbolic duties of a head of the organization.
  • Leader– He has to plan the HR requirements and motivates the staff to perform well. “Managers are people who do things right; leaders are people who do the right thing.” Remember a manager has to be a leader whereas it is not so in the case of a leader.
  • Liaison– The manager acts as a link between the organization and the external environment to build image and rapport.
hr manager

Informational Roles:

  • Monitor– The manager has to update himself with the current scenario in order to utilize the information for organizing and prompt decision-making.
  • Disseminator– The manager has to communicate and distribute information to his subordinates to effectively accomplish the enterprise objectives.
  • Spokesperson– Efficiently has to communicate the company’s policies to prospective clients and others.

Decisional Roles:

  • Entrepreneur– He has to be innovative by adapting  to the changes in the environment. He has to be adventurous, persistent and strategic during tough times.
  • Disturbance handler– He has to find appropriate solutions to problems
  • Resource allocator– He has to apportion and allocate resources properly besides delegating authority to the work force
  • Negotiator– He has to negotiate resources outside and conflicts inside the organization.

Managing: Science or Art?

One perspective is Managing, like all other disciplines- whether medicine, music composing or even cricket is an art. It is “know-how.”  Still managers can use the organized knowledge about management to perform better. So let us put it this way,

Managing as practice is an art; the organized knowledge underlying the practice may be referred to as a science. Let them be complementary to each other and be present in peaceful co-existence.

hr functions

Drucker “ON MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS ” – A manager has to look after

  • The specific purpose and mission of a firm
  • Increase productivity by making the employees more productive
  • Considerate about social impacts and social responsibilities

In his view, the areas a manager has to focus and concentrate are

1. Market standing

2. Innovation

3. Productivity

4. Financial and Physical resources

5. Profitability

6. Manager performance and development

7. Worker performance and attitude

8. Public responsibility

He says that business has only two functions- marketing and innovation. While others were concentrating on products and commodities, he concentrated on  people and their performance.

His “management by objectives- MBO ” became a very popular concept though it faced criticism.  MBO according to Drucker is a philosophy that rests on a concept of human action, behaviour and motivation. It sets personal goals (both shortterm and longterm)  to be achieved by each individual working for the organization and coverts them into challenges to be accomplished, thus motivating the individuals.

The Effective Manager

The effective manager is a situational manager who evaluates each approach in the light of circumstances and selects the one that most effectively and efficiently achieve individual and organizational goals –This perfectly explains the functions of a manager in a nutshell whereby,