Different Levels of Management in the Form of a Pyramid

Different Levels of Management in the Form of a Pyramid – Essay!

As the organizations grow larger and more complex, they usually develop several levels of managerial positions, forming a hierarchy of superior and subordinate reporting relationships. Traditionally, there are three managerial levels which are usually depicted in the form of a hierarchical pyramid.

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The total number of personnel found at each level decreases as the management level increases up the pyramid. The largest number of people in the organization is at the lower organizational level, at the bottom of the pyramid and these people are operating in a non-managerial capacity.


This group consists of individual contributors who are simply the employees who work under the guidance of their supervisors. These levels, in the form of a pyramid are shown as follows:

Top-Level Mangers:

The top level managers are ultimately responsible for the entire organization. The top level management, also known as “central management” includes top executives such as chief executive officer (CEO), chairman of the board of directors, president, executive vice-presidents and various vice-presidents.

These managers are primarily involved in broad organizational matters such as policy formulation, long range strategic planning, goal setting and development of organizational strategies. In general, top management effectively deals with all elements and forces that affect the survival, stability and growth of the organization. In the words of B. Yuill:


“It is the function of top management to watch, interprets, exploit, or where necessary, counter external influences with appropriate decisions and plans and to initiate the appropriate adjustments in the functional authority and status structures of the organization.

It is the top management’s duty to protect the integrity of the organization so that it can survive for its own employees, shareholders, suppliers and the customer’s interests and
for the general good of the social and economic system within which it operates.”

Middle Level Managers:

The middle management level generally consists of divisional and departmental heads such as a plant manager, production manager, marketing manager, personnel director and so on. Their responsibility is to interpret policies and directions set by the top level management into specific plans and guidelines for action.

Their responsibility further is to coordinate the working of their departments so that the set objectives can be achieved. They are concerned with short-term goals and specific results. They spend more time on operational planning, information processing and day-to-day monitoring of their divisional activities.


They serve as a link between the strategic activities of the top managers and operational activities of first level managers who are the subordinates in terms of information dissemination in both directions.

Organizations, specially the very large ones often have several layers of middle managers. During expansion years, at one time, General Motors (GM) had 14 or 15 management levels. However the tendency now is to have fewer layers and give the managers greater autonomy and responsibility, part of which is delegated to lower level managers.

First Level Supervisory Managers:

This level of management consists of supervisors, superintendents, unit heads, foremen, chief clerks and so on. The primary concern of the first level managers is with the mechanics of the job and they are responsible for coordinating the work of their employees.

They must possess technical skills so that they can assist their subordinate workers where necessary. They plan day-to-day operations, assign personnel to specific jobs, oversee their activities, evaluate their performances and become a link between the workers and the middle level management.

Because they represent both the middle level management as well as the workers on the other side, the first-line supervisors can easily find themselves in the middle of conflicting demands. According to Kerr Hill and Broedling, their greatest emphasis is evolving around dealing with internal human relations rather than operational activities because of the trend towards more educated work force, team works and group cohesions as well as growing use of computers in tracking and monitoring many activities that were previously regulated by first-line managers.

General Versus Functional Managers:

Apart from the vertical levels of managerial hierarchy, there are two types of managers with different responsibilities. These are “Functional Managers” and “General Managers”, Functional managers take responsibility for one type of function or specialized activity and supervise the work of employees who are engaged in such specialized activities as marketing, finance, accounting, quality control, production and so on.

General Managers, on the other hand, are responsible for the activities of several different groups that perform a variety of functions and have authority over both the specialized as well as generalized activities.

For example, the general manager of a plant in a manufacturing company is responsible for monitoring all aspects of the plant such as production, engineering, quality control, labour relations, purchasing, inventories and so on. Branch managers are considered as general managers if employees from different disciplines within the branch report to them.

General Managers in non-profit organizations such as hospitals, universities or government agencies are designated as “administrators”, rather than managers. For example, the head of a hospital might be known as a chief administrator. Similarly, the president of a college or the dean of a school would be designated as an administrator.


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