The Three Different Levels of Management

The 3 Different Levels of Management

There are three different levels of management: top down, middle up, and bottom up. To be successful, managers must understand their style and adapt it to fit the needs of the organization. Find out more about these different levels, also find out what each one is like, and decide which one works best for you and your organization!

Each level of management has its advantages and disadvantages. Top-down management means that the leader makes decisions and everyone else follows them. Middle-up management means that the manager leads by example and everyone else follows. Bottom-up management means that employees lead themselves and their peers follow.

Let’s take a closer look at each level. But first, let’s discuss what we mean by management for an organization.

Related: Management: Definition, nature, scope, and characteristics

Source: Tutorials Point (India) Ltd.

What is Management?

Management is the process by which an organization directs its activities toward achieving organizational goals. Within an organization, managerial roles involve planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, controlling, and evaluating. Management also refers to how an organization handles problems. It can involve making decisions at the top level, in the middle, or at the bottom.

Levels of Management

The term Levels of Management refers to the line of division that exists between various managerial positions in an organization. As the size of the company and workforce increases, the number of levels in management increases along with it, and vice versa.

There are three levels of management: Level I, II, and III. Each level has its own set of responsibilities. Find out what each one does! The different levels of Management can determine the chain of command within an organization, as well as the amount of authority and typically decision-making influence accrued by all managerial positions.

Levels of Management can be generally classified into three principal categories, all of which direct managers to perform different functions.

In this article, we will explore the specific definition of these levels, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the managers that fall into these categories.

1. Administrative, Managerial, or Top Level of Management

A manager who makes decisions without consulting his or her subordinates. This level of management is common in large organizations where there is a clear chain of command. In small businesses, however, managers often make decisions based on what they think will work best for the business.

2. Executive or Middle Level of Management

Middle managers are responsible for overseeing the activities of lower-level employees. They make sure things run smoothly and keep everyone informed.

3. Supervisory, Operative, or Lower Level of Management

Bottom-up management involves workers taking responsibility for solving problems and making decisions. Workers are encouraged to take initiative and solve problems themselves.

Therefore, The Three Levels of Management Are as Follows:

Understand the differences between the three levels of management and how they work together.

The three levels of management in an organization are the top level, middle level, and bottom level. Each level has different responsibilities and authority over employees.

Level 1 – The Manager

A manager is responsible for supervising and directing the activities of his/her subordinates. Managers typically report directly to a higher-level manager. They also make decisions about hiring, firing, training, and promoting employees.

An organization’s board of directors and its chief executive or managing director constitute this level of management. An organization’s goals, policies, and procedures are governed by it, which is its ultimate source of power and authority. In order to achieve business success, they focus on strategic planning and execution.

The roles and responsibilities of the top level of management can be summarized as follows:

  1. Laying down the objectives and broad policies of the business enterprise.
  2. Issuing necessary instructions for the preparation of department-specific budgets, schedules, procedures, etc.
  3. Preparing strategic plans and policies for the organization.
  4. Appointing the executives for middle-level management, i.e. departmental managers.
  5. Establishing controls of all organizational departments.
  6. Since it consists of the Board of Directors, the top management level is also responsible for communicating with the outside world and is held accountable to an organization’s shareholders for the performance of the enterprise.
  7. Providing overall guidance, and direction, and encouraging harmony and collaboration.

Level 2 – The Executive

Executives oversee one or more departments within an organization. He or she is responsible for making sure that employees meet organizational goals and objectives.

The branch and departmental managers form this middle management level. These people are directly accountable to top management for the functioning of their respective departments, devoting more time to organizational and directional functions. For smaller organizations, there is often only one layer of middle management, but larger enterprises can see senior and junior levels within this middle section.

The roles and responsibilities of the middle level of management can be summarized as follows:

  1. Executing the plans of the organization by the policies and directives laid out by the top management level.
  2. Forming plans for the sub-units of the organization that they supervise.
  3. Participating in the hiring and training processes of lower-level management. 
  4. Interpreting and explaining the policies from top-level management to lower-level management.
  5. Sending reports and data to top management in a timely and efficient manner.
  6. Evaluating the performance of junior managers.
  7. Inspiring lower-level managers towards improving their performance. 

Level 3 – The Supervisor

Supervisors manage people at the next level up in an organization. They oversee multiple managers who oversee teams of workers. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that each team member performs well and meets organizational goals.

This level of management consists of supervisors, foremen, section officers, superintendents, and all other executives whose work must do largely with HR oversight and the direction of operative employees. Simply put, managers at the lower level are primarily concerned with the execution and coordination of day-to-day workflow that ensure the completion of projects and that deliverables are met.

The roles and responsibilities of the lower level of management can be summarized as follows:

  1. Assigning jobs and tasks to various workers.
  2. Guiding and instructing workers in day-to-day activities.
  3. Overseeing both the quality and quantity of production.
  4. Maintaining good relations within lower levels of the organization.
  5. Acting as mediators by communicating the problems, suggestions, recommendatory appeals, etc. of workers to the higher level of management, and in turn elucidating higher-level goals and objectives to workers.
  6. Helping to address and resolve the grievances of workers.
  7. Supervising and guiding their subordinates. 
  8. Taking part in the hiring and training processes of their workers. 
  9. Arranging the necessary materials, machines, tools, resources, etc. necessary for accomplishing organizational tasks. 
  10. Preparing periodical reports regarding the performance of the workers. 
  11. Upholding discipline, decorum, and harmony within the workplace.
  12. Improving the enterprise’s image as a whole, due to their direct contact with the workers.


An organization can have many different managers, across a variety of titles, authority levels, and levels of the management hierarchy that we illustrated above. To properly assign roles and responsibilities to all managerial positions, it is important to recognize the key differences between low-level, middle-level, and top-level management.

The key takeaways from this distinction are as follows:

  1. Top-level managers are responsible for controlling and overseeing the entire organization.
  2. Middle-level managers are responsible for executing organizational plans which comply with the company’s policies. They act as an intermediary between top-level and low-level management. 
  3. Low-level managers focus on the execution of tasks and deliverables, serving as role models for the employees they supervise. 

All businesses are comprised of a vast array of different managerial tasks. When these are coordinated properly, and there is a strong hierarchal manager system in place, an organization can be extremely efficient in creating value through the production of their products, services, and overall workflow. 

Also Read: 10 Ways to Manage Employees Effectively

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