What is a management model? With practical examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Effective management is at the heart of any effective workplace, weighing up resources and conflicts in a manner that keeps the business operating at its best in the long term. Management requires a sound structure as a prerequisite for success, otherwise, responses to issues seem inconsistent. This is where making use of management models comes in handy. In this article, we answer the question, 'What is a management model?', including what it means to have a management model and how to discover one that is best suited to your style in the workplace.

What is a management model?

If you're considering a career in management but are wondering, 'What is a management model?', then this guide can help provide some answers and tips. A management model is the amalgamation of the choices made, the way that managers coordinate resources and the way that employees receive motivation within the workplace. Simply, it is the ideology that those in managerial positions implement when seeking results. Below are some key aspects of what makes a management model, and what makes them crucial to the way workplaces are managed:


The way companies recruit is highly variable and dependent on a range of factors. For example, some managers prefer a high level of turnover due to the low-skill nature of roles in their organisation, whilst others prefer employee retention for the long term. Whilst the industry and nature of the roles themselves is a significant determining factor in this aspect of business operations, management plays a role in the tenure and permanence of their employees for years to come.

Example: George is the manager of a fast-food restaurant in the middle of a city. Although the labour market is plentiful and employee churn in such businesses is typically high, George prefers focusing on employee retention. With a system of employee incentives, he retains a significant proportion of his staff year on year. His management model focuses on a sense of team cohesion and stability.

Related: Strategies for effective administrative management

Promotions and demotions

The way that staff move throughout the structures of a company is key to management style. Where some managers promote those with positive past performances in their present roles, others search for particular traits in employees and assign them in the correct roles for the traits they hold. The organisation of staffing throughout a company depends on the management model in use. Whether you promote as a matter of experience in the company or in accordance with skills levels employees show, this is a key tenet in your management model.

Example: Terry is the employee manager at a company. A promotion opportunity is available to two members of staff, one of whom is a staple at the company for 23 years, whereas the other is a relatively new hire with significant potential. Terry chooses the employee with experience, as his management model focuses on rewarding loyalty and long-term gains. The other employee has potential, and the potential is there for long-term nurturing.

Related: 6 stages of an effective recruitment process

Pay structure

Company pay structures do not always fall in the remit of managers, although for small businesses this is the case. Managers choose to either reward those higher in the company for their tenure and quality of service which provides employees lower down on the scale with something to aspire towards or focus on higher rewards or increase pay for those further down to provide incentive. This is a fundamentally ideological decision and stems from the way we perceive rewards and incentives.

Example: Karl's key responsibility is to organise the pay structure of his company. With £300,000 per year to divide between five employees and a manager, he can choose between the following structures. Option 1: Management salary allocation: £150,000 for one manager at £150,000 per annum. Employee salary allocation: £150,000 for five employees at £30,000 per annum. Option 2: Management salary allocation: £50,000 for one manager at £60,000 per year. Employee salary allocation: £250,000 for five employees at £60,000 per annum. Karl chooses option two, believing a flat pay structure is key to uniting a team towards a common goal.


The way employers and managers use discipline in a workplace is part of their management model. More authoritarian managers clamp down on perceived disruptive behaviour and focus on limiting disruptive activity. Employees focus on completing the task at hand, increasing workplace efficiency. On the other hand, liberal management leans towards acceptance of differing behaviour and avoids punishment in many cases. The workplace permits personal expression to a greater extent and employees feel able to be themselves in the workplace.

Example: Graham manages a production line. As his employees focus on menial tasks, he is liberal in his view of workplace discipline. Employees, therefore, prefer the workplace and feel able to be themselves, rather than management removing the sense of fun individuality brings to the workplace. Employee churn lessens and morale rises.

Creating your management model

There are several steps to take in forming your management model. Each is an important question which defines your position on management and the way that you best handle workplace issues. Read on to find out the questions you ask when discovering your management model, and why to ask them.

How do I view employees?

Firstly, a manager forming their management model ascertains their view of employees. For example, whether an employee at the bottom of the chain has an equal value or impact as managers on the board. Understanding how employees affect business growth and development is fundamental to the success of an organisation, and your understanding adjusts the way you treat staff members. Taking your perception of staff and applying it in management policy is the first step to a consistent management ideology.

Satisfaction or efficiency?

Management is all about finding balance, and weighing between employee satisfaction and efficiency in their roles is a fundamental issue every manager answers in their own way. Employee satisfaction is not necessarily at the expense of business efficiency, although an employee working at full efficiency may not have satisfaction with their work-life balance or the lack of levity in their work lives. Weighing up between efficient business operations and keeping employees happy in their role is a challenge that managers all face, and a defining one in your management model.

Related: Effective vs. efficient: definitions, differences and tips

Flexibility or rigidity?

As a manager, a key aspect of your role is distributing and allocating resources across an organisation. This comes in a range of forms, including allocating resources to particular projects, departments and the salary structure. The issue is whether or not you choose to be flexible in your allocation of resources or prefer to remain rigid when issues arise. Rigidity focuses staff members on completing tasks within clearly defined bounds, whereas flexibility offers the capacity to respond to issues that arise when executing existing plans.

How do you enact discipline?

All workplaces have rules, guidelines or a code of conduct keeping staff and customers within strong behavioural limits. The manager is responsible for retaining this discipline and preventing the expansion of behavioural issues in the long run. Options include clamping down on behaviour outside the limits of the code of conduct by implementing sanctions and penalties on employees in breach of the rules. Conversely, some managers choose the loose touch, warning and guiding employees, retaining positive relationships and retaining a greater level of influence over staff.

Why have a management model?

Management models are key to successful workplaces. A well-defined management model presents employees with fundamental rules of operation in a workplace and informs them of what to expect in a range of situations. Your management model is a structure offering you further guidance on the decision-making process, bringing guidance through previous decisions to fall back on in difficult situations. There are benefits to employees and the workplace, but the most important benefit of your management model is to you.

With a solid management model, you may enjoy more stability. Consistency is key to achieving positive outcomes as a manager. Volatility can threaten the workplace as employees are unsure of what happens in a range of situations. This leads to fear of consequences and further constraints on behaviour. Although management is not responsible for directly impacting staff behaviour, staff may act differently due to a lack of information surrounding expected consequences. Efficiency thrives under a management model and employee satisfaction rises once you eliminate the uncertainty.

Explore more articles