Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Management Style

There are many types of management styles discussed throughout management literature. However, the majority of empirically supported research focuses on two dimensions of management people orientation verses task orientation. There are many names that have been used for these two dimensions including warmth, consideration and supporting. The people orientation aspect reflects the extent to which an individual is likely to have relationships with direct reports, peers and supervisors characterized by trust and respect. A high people orientation score would indicate a good relationship filled with two-way communication. Task or structure orientation reflects the extent to which an individual is likely to focus of the duties and tasks of employees, direct and tell others, plan ahead, schedule and criticize. A high score would indicate that employees would be results driven. Individual information about one’s management style can illustrate patterns and provide feedback at an early stage of management. This type of information has been proven useful in courses ranging from first-line supervisory training to executive development.

People orientation and task orientation are independent variables illustrating that an employee can be high or low on both axis. For example, an employee low on both would be submissive and passive aggressive while an employee high in both would be collaborative, coaching and results orientated.

Several studies have illustrated that mangers that are low in both consideration and structure are more likely to be bypassed by direct reports and may not be perceived as a functional manager (Fleishman, 1973). Mangers with high structure and low consideration are more likely to have greater turnover, dissatisfaction and stress among direct reports (Fleishman, 1973). However, research results indicate that managers high in consideration and high in structure do not have these adverse effects. Three of the four quadrants correlate significantly with positive aspects of job performance (ex. Low turnover, good attitudes, and low stress). However, low consideration/low structure did not show significant correlations with any positive outcomes.
Research has indicated that employees whom are people and task orientated are the strongest managers. Thau, Bennett, Mitchell and Marrs (2009) recently found that management style can change the strength and direction (i.e., moderate) of the relationship between abusive supervision and workplace deviance. Results illustrated that direct reports were more deviant when managers had a highly task orientated style and a low people orientation (Thau et al., 2009). Bass (1958, 1956) and Parker (1963) empirically illustrated that consideration was related to performance ratings (r = .32), attitudes toward supervision (r = .51) , and goal achievement (r = .24). Structure was significantly related to favorable attitudes toward supervision (r = .22) and errors (r = .23; Parker, 1963). It is evident that management style is predictive of followers behaviors and attitudes.

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