General Management

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Description of General Management. Explanation.

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General Management

Definition General Management. Description

General management is the executive / senior role within a company, overseeing most or all of a firm's functions. Contrary to functional managers, general managers have a broad, overall responsibility for profit and loss in a company or strategic business unit and they manage across all or at least multiple functions (i.e., finance, marketing, operations).


Naturally, a GM also maintains contacts with external parties, such as shareholders, stakeholders, banks, strategic clients, etc.


Functions of a General Manager

A General Manager (GM) usually oversees most or all of the firm's marketing and sales functions as well as the day-to-day operations of the business. Traditionally, the General Manager is responsible for strategic Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing and leading, COordinating, Reporting, and Budgeting ("POSDCORB", Gulick) in order to attain profit for the organization.


Levels of General Management. Areas

The GM of a business is given many different titles. In particular, most corporate managers holding the titles of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President are general managers of their respective businesses. In such larger organizations, the general manager typically reports to the CEO or Chief Operating Officer (COO). Depending on the size of the company, individuals with the title "Managing Director", "Vice President", "Regional Vice President", "Country Manager", "Branch Manager", and "Segment Manager" may also have the full set of general management responsibility for that particular area of the business.


Requirements for a General Manager

An individual in a GM role is often a generalist who is familiar with most areas and aspects of the business across the organization. A general manager must speak the "languages" of finance, strategy, innovation, sales, marketing, operations, human resources, and engineering people. In larger organizations, individuals viewed as having general management potential often work in a series of assignments, rotating through the various functions and gradually growing their expertise and responsibilities over many years.

General managers typically have deep industry experience and either come up through their own organization, or have a long history of working for competitors within the same industry.

Given the broad base of expertise and knowledge required for success in the role, general managers often have advanced degrees like a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree.


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Compare with: Chief Executive Officer  |  Chairman of the Board  |  14 Principles of Management (Fayol)  |  Seven Surprises for New CEOs  |  Chief Financial Officer  |  Chief Operating Officer  |  POSDCORB  |  Leadership Styles  |  Leadership Pipeline  |  Interim Management  |  Turnaround Management

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