Mintzberg’s managerial roles are based on the concept that managers are engaged in interpersonal, informational, and decisional roles. Interpersonal roles involve being a figurehead (a source of inspiration) for one’s group, acting as their leader, and engaging in liaison activities between the group and other groups. Information roles involve monitoring the flow of external information to see which items pertain to one’s group, monitoring the status of the group, and disseminating that information, as well as controlling the flow of outbound information as a spokesperson for the group. Finally, decisional roles involve the allocation of resources, engaging in negotiations on behalf of the group, settling disturbances, solving problems, and generating new ideas.
At the highest possible level, Mintzberg held that an effective manager was one who got things done. A manager could take action directly, such as by managing projects or negotiating contracts. A more indirect approach would be to manage those who take action, such as by using one’s figurehead role to inspire others to action. And finally, a manager could indirectly trigger action by organizing and issuing information that convinces others to take action. In summary, by any of several possible means, a manager propels a business forward.