Hughes was axed by City in December 2009 following the arrival of new club owner Sheikh Mansour. Mancini was then appointed as his successor, and the former boss gave his frank assessment of the Italian ahead of Sunday's top-of-the-table Manchester derby.
"I don't know the guy personally but looking at [Mancini] from outside he comes across as autocratic," Hughes told the Daily Telegraph. "It's either his way or the highway.
"I'm not sure he indulges players; tries to get to know players or understands players, I'm not sure he's that type of manager. He looks very focused and very driven in terms of what he gets from his players. But whether or not they will all love him when he leaves, I would think probably not.
"It's more difficult in the modern age and with modern footballers to be absolutely autocratic and not be flexible in terms of how it's going to be done and not understand that your decisions can impact on players, because they do."
Hughes evidently feels Mancini's dictatorial approach has extended toward Carlos Tevez, and has allowed the saga surrounding the striker's future to turn unnecessarily nasty.
"I never saw [Tevez] volatile," Hughes said. "I cannot think of an incident with Carlos. It would never have happened under my watch."
City head into Sunday's clash with their rivals two points clear at the top of the Premier League, but Hughes has warned that domestic progress will not necessarily result in instant success on the continent.
"In Europe, in the Champions League, I don't think they can get to where they want to be either this season or even the next season because I think you have to build that knowledge. But in terms of the Premier League I think it can happen more quickly.
"Whether or not the group as a whole work as diligently and with the same mantra that Manchester United have, I'd maybe suggest not.
"Every Manchester United player understands what Manchester United is about. The players understand it's a privilege to play for United. They show the club that deference.
"I'm not sure the group of players at City understand that yet. At United there has been continuity with the manager, with the success they have had; it gives them a different dynamic," Hughes said.