Levels of Management – Top Middle and Lower Level Management
The levels of management in the chain of command determine the amount of authority and status enjoyed by any managerial position. Levels of Management can be classified into three broad categories – top middle and lower level management.
The three levels of management are as follows:
- Top level management
- Middle level management and
- Lower level management
Levels of management
Management is a universal term used to refer to the performance of certain functions in an enterprise through a set of relationships between people who are related to each other. Everyone has a responsibility to accomplish some particular task in this chain of relationships.
To fulfil this responsibility, management is given certain rights i.e., the right to make decisions. This relation of authority and responsibility binds individuals to each other as officers and subordinates. This leads to the creation of different levels in the organisation. There are three levels in the authority chain of an organization –
(1) Top Level Management
Top management consists of managers at the highest level in the management hierarchy. This level consists of the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive and the departmental heads. The activities of this level centre around establishing overall, long-term goals and ways of attaining these. Top management is also concerned with maintaining liaison with the outside world. For example, with government, trade unions, etc., laying down overall policies, and providing direction and leadership to the organisation as a whole. It is held responsible for the general success or failure of the organisation,
Many names refer to these individuals, who serve as the senior-most executive officers of the organization. Commonly, people refer to them by titles such as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Principal, Vice President, and more.
Top management is a team of managers at different functional levels. Their basic function is to establish unity among the various elements and harmony in the work of different departments keeping in mind the overall objectives of the organization. The Top level management is responsible for the welfare and continuity of the organisation.
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It analyzes the business environment and its impact on the life of the firm. They prepare the goals and strategy of the new organization for their achievement. They are responsible for all the activities of the business and their impact on society. The work of top management is complex and stressful. If it takes a long time, then full commitment to the organization is required.
(2) Middle Level Management
This level consists of departmental managers. The main function performed by this level of manager consists of linking the top and supervisory levels of management. They transmit orders downwards and suggestions upwards. Besides, this level explains and interprets the policy decisions made at the top level to the lower levels. They issue detailed instructions to lower levels of management and coordinate the activities of various units and divisions within the same department. The tasks of middle level management are to make departmental decisions and inspire lower level managers towards better performance.
They are the link between the top management and the lower level management, they are subordinate to the top managers and the head of the first-line managers. These are commonly called department heads, operations managers, or plant superintendents.
Middle-level managers are responsible for the implementation of control plans and strategies developed by the higher management. In addition, they are responsible for all the actions of the top-level (first-line) managers. Their main function is to carry out the plans prepared by the top-level managers.
For this process –
(a) They explain the plan made by the top managers,
(b) They ensure an adequate number of employees for their department,
(c) They assign their necessary tasks and responsibilities,
(d) They cooperate with other departments to achieve the desired objectives. In addition, they are responsible for the actions of the first-line managers.
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(3) Lower Level Management
The lowest level of management consists of first-line supervisors. They generally have such designations as superintendent, section officer, supervisor, foreman, etc. They are directly in touch with the clerks, workers, salesmen, etc. This level is entrusted with the task of getting work done by operators or workers who do the work. The lowest level of management is directly concerned with the operative jobs and management of workers. There are no managers below this level.
Managers at this level supervise the work of operatives to ensure that it is of the required quality and is completed on time. They assign jobs and tasks to subordinates, arrange machinery and tools, etc., and also assist with advising the workers by explaining work procedures, and reporting the problems faced and suggestions made by workers to the middle-level management. These managers are also responsible for planning day-to-day production within the framework provided by higher levels.
The foreman and supervisor come at a lower level in the authority line of the organization. Supervisors directly oversee the work of the workforce. Their rights and duties are determined by the plans made by the higher managers.
Supervision, managers have an important role in the organization as they communicate directly with the actual workforce and convey the guidelines of middle-level managers to the employees. It is through these efforts that the quality of the product is maintained, the loss of goods is kept to a minimum and the level of safety is maintained. The quality of workmanship, and the quality of production, depend only on the hard work, discipline, and devotion of the employees.