Mintzberg Critique on POSDCORB

Functions of Management (POSDCORB)
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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

Mintzberg Critique on POSDCORB

Just like Gulick, Mintzberg also studied the description of managerial functions and asked himself what managers really do. In his analysis, he critically reviewed the description of managerial functions according to Gulick and Urwick (1937), the POSDCORB. Mintzberg has the following criticisms on Gulick's POSDCORB:
1. According to Mintzberg, POSDCORB does not describe the actual managerial functions; rather it just specifies some vague objectives that managers seek to achieve.
2. Besides this, according to Mintzerg there are many managerial functions that do not fit into any of the POSDCORB categories. Thus, POSDCORB fails to explain certain jobs. Examples are networking and informal discussions by managers.
3. Finally, Mintzberg concludes that POSDCORB does not help to understand the concept of managerial work at all. Rather, it hinders the search for a deeper understanding of managerial functions.

Mintzberg suggests a more useful alternative that better describes the essential roles of managers and specifies 10 roles in 3 groups that managers can play:
1. Interpersonal role: The roles that are included in the interpersonal role are the figurehead role, the leader role and the liaison role.
2. Informational Role: The roles that are included in this group are the monitor role, the disseminator role and the spokesman role.
3. Decisional Role: The roles included here are the role of entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator or negotiator.
Because the 10 roles are overlapping and interdependent, a manager should learn how to balance them in order to become an efficient manager.
Sources: Mintzberg, H. (1980) “The nature of managerial work” Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Williams, B.B. (2010) “Incident Command as a Participative-Management Practice: Dispeling the Myth of Authoritarian Command. “International Fire Service Journal of Leadership and Management Vol. 4 Iss.1 pp. 9-21

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