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Managerial effectiveness: a function of personality type and organisational components.


This study tests managerial effectiveness of top and lower level managers in production and marketing departments in relation to their personality type in private sector organisations. A 2x2x2 factorial design was employed, in which there are three independent variables with two levels each: departments (production and marketing), managerial positions (top level and lower level), and personality type (Type A and Type B). Managerial effectiveness is a dependent variable. The main effects of management positions and personality types have been found significant and interaction effects between managerial positions x personality type and among departments x managerial position x personality types have been found significant. The major findings are that in production department, both top and lower level managers having Type B personality are found more effective and in marketing department top-level managers having Type A personality and lower level managers having Type B personality have been found more effective in comparison to their counterparts.


Managerial effectiveness is very important for the survival and growth of the organisation. It is difficult to define managerial effectiveness in concrete terms. Many perceive it within a particular frame of reference. Decisions about effectiveness are bound to be situational and contingent upon the definition and perspectives of those making the judgment. A review of literature shows that managerial effectiveness has been studied with three perspectives:

1. Traditional/Conventional perspective

2. Organisational level competency based perspective, and

3. An individual level competency based perspective.

The traditional model emphasises the ability to set and achieve goals (Bartol and Martin, 1991) where it is implicitly assumed that managerial effectiveness leads to organisational effectiveness.

The organisational competency based approach implies that there is long term future orientation that accounts for both external and internal influences on the organisations. From these analyses a vision is created for the future of the organisation, goals are set that will achieve the vision and plans are developed to achieve these strategic goals. Here, the organisation tries to create the system and environment with the help of skills and characteristics of managers that lead them to achieve strategic intents.

The individual competency based approach to managerial effectiveness focuses upon the individual rather than the organisation. The purpose of this approach is to develop transferable (generic) management skills that are applicable across different circumstances both nationally and internationally. But this competency-based perspective on managerial effectiveness has been heavily criticised on the ground of the contingencies and the contexts.

Effectiveness is best seen as something a manager produces from a situation by managing it appropriately, producing the results or meeting the targets in every sphere of the activities of organisations. The manager's job is linked with three major dimensions--technical, conceptual, and human. The productivity of any organisation can be increased by the effective management of all the three dimensions and specially by managing the conceptual and human dimensions of management. All managers need to work with and through subordinates to optimise organisational performance. Therefore, certain behavioural skills are required of individuals if they are to be effective as managers.

Managers have many resources at their disposal and the quality of work is dependent on how well these resources have been used. The performance of a manager can be measured by the extent to which goals that are important to the group and organisations are met through the productive efforts of subordinates (Herbert, 1976). In other words, effective management is the culmination of synergy of effectiveness of individual managers in the organisation (Sen and Saxena, 1999).

Das (1987) identified the characteristics of an efficient branch manager as setting an example by personal qualities, job knowledge, business acumen, and management ability. Miles (1992) suggested that constructive use of authority entails the ability to formulate clear goals and to determine what steps are necessary to achieve them, including getting people to do what is necessary for achieving the targets. Misumi (1989), and Misumi and Peterson (1985) defined the ideal manager in Japan in terms of both performance and maintenance orientations, namely, a manager who leads the group towards goal attainment and preserves its social stability. Just as there had been controversy and many arguments were raised that a good leader should have certain characteristics similar arguments are there for managerial effectiveness. There are many researchers who on the basis of their findings have identified that effective managers possess the particular set of characteristics like job knowledge, good communication, business acumen and interpersonal relationship but having these characteristics are not sufficient to become effective manager. Managerial effectiveness is not only a personality characteristic but it is related to performance and output. Gupta (1996) has developed a 16-factor scale to measure managerial effectiveness. These factors are tapping three important aspects of effectiveness: activities of his position, achieving the results, and developing further potential. The managerial effectiveness has been measured by experts in several different ways at different times. Some models focus on individual competencies of managerial effectiveness, while most of the studies have taken performance measure and superior's appraisals rather than self report measures while deciding the effectiveness of a manager. In the light of above discussion, a study is planned to see the effect of management position, departments, and personality variable on managerial effectiveness.

Personality Type and Managerial Performance

Undoubtedly, the personality characteristics influence the performance and this difference among managers can be an important source of difference in managerial effectiveness. There is evidence to support the proposition that the managerial effectiveness is moderated by the personality characteristics. One such variable is Type A versus Type B personality.

The types of work environment, level of job position, and personality characteristics are the important variables that affect managerial effectiveness in an organisational environment. This is exactly why personality tests are used in screening of job candidates to avoid potential mismatches. Friedman and Rosenham (1966) defines the Type A personality as "an action emotion complex that can be observed in any person who is aggressively involved in a chronic incessant struggle to achieve more and more in less time and if required to do so, against the opposing efforts of other things or other persons". The Type A personality is characterised by feeling a chronic sense of time urgency and by an excessive competitive drive. Some of the more outstanding characteristics of Type As include:

1. Always in haste

2. Feeling of impatience

3. Obsessed with success

4. Persistent inability to cope with leisure time.

Type B personality can be identified by the following characteristics:

1. Never suffer from a sense of time urgency

2. Play for fun and relaxation

3. Can relax without guilt

4. No need to display either their success or accomplishments.

The evidence links these two distinct personality types with diverse behaviours and different performance outcomes depending on the requirements of the job.

Finally, there is paucity of studies that establish an effect of personality (Type A and Type B personality profiles) on managerial effectiveness. The second variable, which was taken in the study, is the type of department. Two types of department (marketing and production) were chosen for this purpose. The requirements from these two types of managers are totally different to become effective. The third independent variable selected is the level of the management position.

Two levels of managers (top and lower) participated in the study. The present study is expected to highlight the significance of personality type profile, department, and management position on managerial effectiveness of managers. The hypotheses formulated for the study are:

1. There is a significant difference in managerial effectiveness between managers of the production and marketing departments.

2. There is a significant difference in managerial effectiveness between top and lower level of managers.

3. There is significant difference in managerial effectiveness between managers of Type A and Type B personality profiles.

4. There is significant interaction between departments and managerial positions.

5. There is significant interaction between departments and personality profile.

6. There is significant interaction between managerial positions and personality profile.

7. There is significant interaction among departments, managerial position, and personality profile.


Type of Department: Mainly two types of departments (production and marketing) from private organisations were chosen for the study. Duties and responsibilities of both these departments are different from each other. Managers generally are faced with various limitations on their activities, depending on their rank, their role in the organisation, and the kind of organisation they work for. There are differences among the managers of different departments in the amount of time they devote and the type of job they have, the activities of production managers of these organisations will be different from that of marketing managers of the same organisations.

Managerial Levels: There are many different types of managers with diverse tasks and responsibilities.

Top Managers: Composed of a comparatively small group of executives, top management is responsible for overall management of the organisation. It establishes operating policies and guides the organisation's interaction with its environment.

Lower Level Managers: These managers are called first-level managers. First line managers direct operating employees only, they do not supervise other managers. They are foremen or supervisors.

Sample: A sample of 80 managers, all male, from various private sector organisations of western Uttar Pradesh were selected for this study.

Instruments: Managerial Effectiveness Questionnaire (MEQ) developed by Gupta (1996), and Type A-Type B self-test developed by Bortner (1985) were used.

Design of the Study: A 2x2x2 factorial design was used to study the effect of three independent variables (departments, managerial positions, and personality type) on dependent variable (managerial effectiveness).

Procedure: Both the scales were administered on the respondent managers of production and marketing departments while they were on the job. A total of 170 questionnaires (80 in production departments and 90 in marketing departments) were distributed. They were asked to go through the instructions given on the questionnaire and to go ahead as instructed. There is no time limit for completing the tests. The questionnaires were collected from the subjects after completion. Out of 170 subjects, 40 from each department were sorted out. Out of these, 20 subjects were selected from top level managers and 20 from lower level managers in both departments. In both the groups of top and lower level managers, 10 managers were Type A personality and the other 10 were Type B personality in each department.

Scoring and Analysis: The scoring of managerial effectiveness and personality test was according to the instructions given in the manuals.

Results and Discussions: A 2x2x2 analysis of variance was applied to study the effect of two types of department, management position, and personality on managerial effectiveness.

Table 1 shows that the main effects of managerial positions and personality type were found statistically significant on managerial effectiveness. A glance at the table of means (Table 2) shows that top level managers have scored higher (M=195.65) than the lower level managers (M=187.60) on managerial effectiveness. There was a similar trend for personality type. Managers having Type B personality profile were found more effective (M=195.35) in comparison to Type A managers (M=187.90). Further, for df=1.72, managerial position x personality type interaction effect (F=38.34, p<0.01 level) and three-way interaction (department x managerial position x personality) effect was also found to be significant. These results supported the four hypotheses. However, the main effect of department and two-way interactions between DxM and DxP were not found significant at any level of confidence.

The important finding was that the department x managerial position x personality type interaction turned out to be significant (F=5.92; df, 1,72, p<0.05). This suggested that significant managerial position x personality type interaction was not the same for two departments (production and marketing). Type B managers at the top level are more effective in the production department than managers having Type A personality. In the marketing department, managers having Type A personality at the top level are more effective. Similarly, at the lower level, Type B managers are more effective in the production department but in marketing also managers having Type B personality at the lower level are found to be more effective. The means for departments x managerial positions x personality type interaction for managerial effectiveness are presented in Table 3.

This shows that work environment of the departments also plays an important role in the managerial effectiveness of managers having different personality types and placed at different levels of managerial position.

Thus, from the perusal of the findings it appears that managerial effectiveness is related with the managerial position. Top level managers' managerial effectiveness was higher in comparison to lower level managers. The findings of the present study is in line with the Srivastava and Kumar study (1984), which shows that junior level officers were found less effective compared to middle level managers. The possible cause of this difference in effectiveness may be the higher maturity level and longer managerial experience of the middle level officers. Miles (1992) suggested that the constructive use of authority entails the ability to formulate clear goals and to determine what steps are necessary to achieve them, including getting people to do what is required.

In spite of the Type A's hard work, the Type Bs are the ones who appear to make it to the top. Great salespersons are usually Type As; while senior executives are usually Type Bs (Robbins, 1996). Steers (1995) research revealed that in the very top positions Type Bs are more successful than Type As, who are not overly ambitious, are more patient, and take a broader view of life. Studies have revealed that where high energy alone is a major determinant in job success, Type As should be highly effective. For jobs where originality, thought, and care are important, the Type B personality should be more successful. England and Lee (1974), Chakrabarti and Kundu (1984), and Howell et al (1997) found more effective managers as pragmatic, dynamic, warm hearted, attentive, easygoing, persevering, emotionally mature and stable (personality characteristics create the parameters for people's behaviour, they give a framework for predicting behaviour).


The results of the study indicates that management position and personality type are associated with self-perceived managerial effectiveness. As hypothesised top-level managers and Type B managers have been found higher on managerial effectiveness as compared to lower level managers and Type A managers. A three-way interaction among type of department, managerial position, and personality type shows joint effect on managerial effectiveness.

In the selection process, this information regarding an applicant's personality type can enable the employer to make appropriate selection decision thus ensuring match between person and job. It also provides opportunities to identify potentials of suitable employees for higher-level managerial jobs based on their personality types. It will be beneficial both for employees and the organisation. A self-report method has been used to measure the managerial effectiveness. Rating by the superiors and peers, if taken and correlated with it would have given substantive results but mostly fair evaluation by them is not done. Personal bias and rivalry distort the results.
Table 1: Summary of Analysis of Variance for the Effects of
Department, Managerial Position, and Personality Type on
Managerial Effectiveness

Source of Variance Sum of Df Mean F
 Squares Squares

Departments, D 217.73 1 217.73 3.18
Managerial Position, M 1296.00 1 1296.00 18.95 **
Personality Type, P 1110.00 1 1110.00 16.23 **
D x M 20.07 1 20.07 0.29
D x P 9.87 1 9.87 0.14
M x P 2622.10 1 2622.10 38.34 **
D x M x P 404.93 1 404.93 5.92 *
Error 4924.00 72 68.38 --

** p<.01 level, * p<,05 level

Table 2: Means of Managerial Effectiveness

 Departments Managerial Position Personality Types

Production Marketing Top level Lower level Type A Type B

 193.27 180.97 195.65 187.60 187.90 195.35

Table 3: Means of Managerial Effectiveness for Departments x Managerial
Positions x Personality Types

 Departments (A)

 A1 A2

 Personality Type (C)

 Managerial C1 C2 C1 C2
Positions (B)

 B1 196.2 197.4 199.1 189.9
 B2 182.2 197.3 174.1 196.8


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Renu Rastogi

Vandana Dave

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
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Author:Dave, Vandana
Publication:Singapore Management Review
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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