Skip to main content
No Access

The Changing Role of Managers1

This study argues that the increase in middle management in recent decades was accompanied by a shift in managerial roles. Increased task complexity and a new management philosophy have reduced the need for direct supervision but generated a greater demand for collaboration, leading to the emergence of a managerial class whose primary role is collaboration not supervision. The author analyzed a large volume of data to generate three sets of findings: (1) The expectations of the managerial role have quickly changed, in almost all sectors, to emphasize more collaboration and less supervision (2) This new managerial role is especially concentrated in innovation-focused firms. (3) Firms treating managers as collaborators have a higher proportion of middle managers than those still treating them primarily as supervisors. These findings suggest that the role of managers has fundamentally shifted and that accounting for changing managerial roles could explain a significant portion of the managerial growth.