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What Is Senior Management?

Senior managers generally bear a significant amount of responsibility, but they are also usually well compensated and receive numerous benefits and privileges.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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Senior management generally consists of the portion of an organization’s staff who is at the executive level. These individuals usually have the greatest amount of authority with regard to day-to-day activities. Senior managers generally bear a significant amount of responsibility, but they are also usually well compensated and receive numerous benefits and privileges. These positions are rarely available to people with limited education or work experience.

Companies are often divided into tiers. The larger a company is, the more complex its management structure may be. Senior management is usually at the top of the operational hierarchy. These individuals usually implement the methods by which an organization operates. Their authority is not normally unlimited, however. They are generally accountable to and bound by the decisions of entities such as the owner, the company president, or the board of directors.

The exact responsibilities of senior management can greatly vary. One factor that affects their role is the industry and type of company for which they are employed. The department or sector that they are managing within a company will also affect their duties. For example, there is generally a senior manager of finances, who may be referred to as the chief financial officer (CFO), and another for operations, who may be referred to as the chief operations officer (COO).

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The experience and educational requirements for those seeking senior management positions are usually dependent upon similar factors as those that affect responsibilities. For example, a CFO is likely to have significant financial skills. It is also common for these individuals to have some type of secondary education. Even if a person has the necessary education, he is not likely to get such a position without extensive work experience.

Along with the increased responsibilities, there are usually a number of perks and privileges afforded to members of senior management. To begin with, these individuals may be given private offices while others work in more open and shared spaces. These individuals often have the ability to spend money at their employers’ expense. This money may cover inventory, client entertainment, or business-related traveling. Furthermore, members of senior management are often granted access to company assets, such as corporate vehicles and real estate.

Members of senior management are generally paid salaries as opposed to other payment structures, such as hourly wages or commission. Their compensation often includes various types of bonuses, stock options, and incentives. It is also common practice for the companies that employ these individuals to provide them with benefits such as health insurance, retirement accounts, and severance packages.

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