Categories of Manager

Cite this article as:"Categories of Manager," in The Business Professor, updated April 1, 2020, last accessed December 4, 2020,

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What are the categorical types of Managers?

Within the traditional, hierarchical approach to management, managers generally fall into three categories based upon their position or location within the organizational structure.

  • Top Managers – Top-level Managers are the senior executives or board of directors. They are responsible for developing the organization’s mission, vision, and corporate-level strategy.
  • Middle Managers – Middle Managers are responsible for overseeing the functional activities of front-line managers. They focus primarily on translating the companies strategic plans into actionable items for the front-line managers to carry out.
  • Front-Line Managers – A front-line manager controls a specific function or task directly related to the products or services that the organization delivers.

This tiered view of management does not fully incorporate the role or type of managers in the modern business organization. This is particularly true within organizations (such as flat structural organizations) that lack the traditional reporting and hierarchical structure.

Other types of managers might include:

  • Functional managers – Functional managers oversee the activities carried out in any functional area or division of the company. For example, a marketing manager may oversee the activities of all or a group of marketers within the company.
  • Team Managers – A team manager supervises a team within the organization. The manager may be a front-line or functional manager. Also, the manager may coordinate the activities of a cross-functional team (from various functional areas within the organization) that has members from various levels within the organization. As such, the team manager may not fall neatly within a traditional organizational plan.
  • Project Manager – A project manager is responsible for a specific project (or multiple projects) within the organization. These projects may take place at any level of the organization (front-line, middle, or top). Project managers are very common in specific industries.
  • General Manager – A general manager is generally responsible for an identifiable business unit. The role of the general manager may span middle and front-line management roles and incorporate various organizational functions. It could also incorporate numerous teams and projects within the business unit.

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