Levels of Management

Levels of Management

The term ‘levels of management’ refers to a line of demarcation between various managerial positions in an organization. The number of level of management increases when the size of the business and workforce increases. There is a limit to the number of subordinates a person can supervise. Levels of management are increased so as to achieve effective supervision.

 The number of level of management cannot be increased to an unlimited extent because it may create problems. It may complicate the communication process and make co-ordination and control difficult. Therefore, it is desirable to restrict the number of levels of management. According to Urwick, “in determining the number of levels which are necessary, prime regard should be given to the span of control and not vice-versa. Forcing managers to exceed their feasible span of control merely in order to reduce the number of levels will increase administrative and social distance”.

In most of the big organizations there are generally four levels of management namely

  • Top management
  • Upper middle management
  • Middle management
  • Lower level or first line management
Levels of Management

Top level management

Top level management of a company consists of the board of directors and the chief executive or the managing director. It is the ultimate source of authority and it establishes goals and policies for the enterprise. It devotes more time on the planning and coordinating function. It can issue orders and instructions and lay down guidelines which must be followed.

The responsibilities of the chief executive position include interpreting of organizational policies and communicating goals of the organization. The chief executive thinks and takes decision for the long run welfare of enterprise. He puts into effects the policy decision taken by the board and maintains effective coordination in the organization.

The functions performed by the top management are stated below:-

  • Top management lays down the objectives of the enterprise.
  • It prepares strategic plans and policies for the enterprise.
  • It issues necessary instructions for the preparations of departmental budgets, schedules, procedures etc.
  • It appoints the executives of different departments.
  • It controls the activities of all departments with the help of reports, memoranda etc.
Levels of Management

Upper middle or intermediate management

Upper middle management consists of heads of various divisions. Production director, finance director & marketing director comprise the intermediate or upper middle management. The head of functional division are in constant touch with the top management.

The perform following functions:-

  • Upper middle management lays down plans and policies for the middle management.
  • The put the top management plans into practice.
  • They coordinate the functioning of their divisions.
  • They appraise and control the functioning of their divisions.
  • They appraise and control the functioning of middle management.
  • They give directions and guidance to the lower levels.
  • They prepare reports about the progress of their divisions for use by the top management.

Middle level management

Middle level management generally consists of head of functioning departments. They are responsible to the top management for the efficient functioning of their departments. They devote more time to the organization and direction functions of management. The middle level of managers includes branch managers, superintendents and head of various sections.

Mary C Niles. In her book “MIDDLE MANGEMENT”, has laid down the seven functions of middle management, which are as follows:-

  • To run the details of the organization, leaving the top managers as free as possible of their responsibilities.
  • To cooperate in making a smoothly functioning organization.
  • To understand the interlocking of departments in major policies.
  • To achieve the coordination between the different parts of the organization.
  • To build up a contented and efficient staff where reward is given according to capacity and merit and according to chance or length of service.
  • To develop leaders for the future by broad training and experience.
  • To built a team spirit where all are working to provide a product or service wanted by the society.
Levels of Management

Supervisory or lower level management

Supervisory management refers to those executives whose work is to oversee and direct operative employees. This level includes supervisors, foremen, finance and accounts officers, sales officer etc. The essential features of this level are in direct contact with the operative employees.

Managers at the lowest level are also known as first line supervisors. The important functions of a supervisors or lower level executive are listed below:-

  • To plan and organize the activities of the group.
  • To arrange for necessary materials, machines, tools etc for workers and to provide them the necessary working and to provide them the necessary working environment.
  • To provide training to the workers.
  • To solve problems of workers.
  • To supervise and guide the subordinates.
  • To communicate worker’s problems to the higher level management.

Intensity of management functions at different levels

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that all managers’ top, middle and first line perform the same managerial functions. The main difference between their jobs in terms of management functions is emphasis.

The top management spends more time on planning and organizing than does the middle and first line management. The middle management spends more time on directing and controlling than the top management. The first line managers devote less time on planning and organizing and more time on directing and controlling. Thus the time and effort spent on different functions will depend on the level on which the manager in functioning in managerial hierarchy.

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By Hassham

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