How have managerial roles been used in studies of managerial work?

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What about managerial roles? This way of looking at managerial work has also been very popular for years. Many researchers have used this perspective, as Mintzberg’s roles offer great potential for learning what a manager should do. However, they still don’t provide answers to what he or she actually does, so they are not directly suitable for automating a manager’s work.

How important the different managerial roles are is shown in this short excerpt from an interview with Steve Jobs. He talks about the different roles he plays, according to Mintzberg’s role typology.

See on YT: Steve Jobs talks about managing people

Research on managerial roles has been conducted in many companies, situations, projects. The research methods have also varied widely, from the typical management science survey to observation to experimentation. Below is a summary of, in my opinion, the most important research works in this area. I will also add that I have been conducting research on managerial roles myself using TransistorsHead’s online managerial tools ( I will describe the results in a future post on this blog.

Despite the rather fruitful concept that is Mintzberg’s concept of managerial roles, it is still not what we are looking for if we want to build a robotic manager. However, we will use managerial roles to design managerial action, which will be useful for representing the manager in the system of organizational terms. But I will write about this in future posts….

Table 1. The examples of published results on roles of managers over last 50 years


Pavett, C.M., & Lau, A.W., (1982). Managerial  roles,  skills,  and effective  performance. Academy of Management Proceedings, 4, 95-99.

Grover, V., Jeong S-R., Kettinger, W.J., & Lee, C.C., (1993). The chief information officer: a study of managerial roles. Journal of Management Information System, 10(2), 107-130.

Wu, J-H., Chen, Y-Ch., & Lin, H-H., (2004). Developing a set of management needs for IS managers: a study of necessary managerial activities and skills. Information & Management, 41, 413-429.

Tengblad, S., (2002). Time and space in managerial work. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 18(4), 543-565.

Espinosa, J.A., Nan, N., & Carmel, E., (2015). Temporal distance, communication patterns, and task performance in teams. Journal of Management Information Systems, 32(1), 151-191.

Sinar, E., & Paese, M., (2016). The new leader profile. Training Magazine, 46, 46-50.