Vertical Dimension : Hierarchical Levels

Along the vertical dimension, managerial jobs in organizations fall into three categories : first-line, middle, and top management. These categories represent vertical differentiation among managers because they involve three different levels of the organization.

First-Line Managers

First-line managers (or first-line supervisors) are managers at the lowest level of the hierarchical who are directly responsible for the work of operating (no managerial) employees. They often have titles that include the work supervisor. First-line managers are extremely important to the success of an organization because they have the responsibility of seeing that day-to-day operations run smoothly in pursuit of organizational goals. Because they operate at the interface between management and the rest of the work force.

Middle Managers

Middle managers located beneath the top levels of the hierarchy who are directly responsible for the work of managers other middle managers or first-line managers. Sometimes middle managers also supervise operating personnel, such as administrative assistants and specialists. Many different titles are used for middle managers, including “manager”, director of chief, department head, and division head.

Top Managers

Top managers are managers at the very top levels of the hierarchy who are ultimately responsible for the entire organization. They are few in number, and their typical titles include “chief executive office” president, “executive vice president” “executive director, senior vice president, and sometimes, vice president. Top level managers are often referred to as executives, although the term executive is also sometimes used to include the upper layers of middle managers as well. They typically oversee the overall planning for the organization, work to some degree with middle managers in implementing that planning, and maintain overall control over the progress of the organization.

In public. Corporations, whose stock is sold to the public, top management ultimately reports to the board of directors, the board is composed of a group of individuals elected by the shareholders for the purpose of guiding corporate affairs and selecting officers. A board typically has from 15 to 25 members, depending on company size. In some companies, boards may essentially rubber-stamp management initiatives, particularly when the majority of the board is made up of top managers and outside individuals with close ties to management. In others, boards include more outsiders, operate more independently and are more proactive factors that often lead to better corporate performance. Typically, the board appoints the CEO, who then selects other top managers, including most vice presidents, subject to board approval. Often the CEO also serves as chair person of the board. A recent study, however, suggests that companies perform better when the CEO does not also hold the position of board chairperson as this arrangement allows the board to more adequately monitor the performance of top management.

Differences among Hierarchical Levels

Although the same basic managerial process applies to all three hierarchical levels of management, there are some differences in emphasis. Major difference stem mainly from the importance of the four functions of management, the skills necessary to perform effectively, the emphasis on managerial roles at each level, and the use of the entrepreneurial role.