Towards a generic theory of managerial and leadership effectiveness: a meta-level analysis from organisations in the UK Public Sector
AbstractThe management literature on managerial and leadership effectiveness reveals that researchers tend to be divided into two broad camps. There are those who take a `contingency' approach arguing that the criteria that constitute management/leadership effectiveness are context-dependent, situation-specific and perspective-specific; and there are those who take a more `universalistic' approach, arguing that the logic suggesting the existence of generic criteria of managerial and leadership effectiveness is compelling, even though there is only sparse empirical evidence to support this view. The present study contributes to this debate by assembling evidence derived from the meta-level analyses of findings from three previous factor analytic empirical studies of managerial effectiveness carried out in three different UK public sector organisations that were focused on the observed managerial behaviour of middle and front line managers. The main aim has been to reveal the internal generalisability of the managerial/leadership effectiveness criteria identified by each study, and the extent of their external generalisability across all three studies and to equivalent managerial/leadership effectiveness studies carried out by other UK researchers. The meta-analyses have revealed high levels of congruence between the perceptions and judgments of managers themselves and their subordinates, and their superiors. The results suggest the vast majority of criteria are highly generalised across different levels of management and staff. Furthermore, very high levels of sameness, similarity, coincidence and congruence of meaning exist between the criteria obtained from all three studies at both the factorial (job dimension) and behavioural levels. The criteria are found to be strongly generalised not only to each of the three case study organisations, but also to specific criteria of leadership effectiveness identified in other UK public sector organisations. These findings challenge the `contingency' approaches to managerial and leadership effectiveness, and provide strong empirical support to those who believe in the existence of generic effectiveness criteria and the notion of the universally effective manager/leader. Furthermore, they have resulted in the creation of an original generic model of managerial and leadership effectiveness that provides a strong empirical base and relevant beginnings for the development of a general theory of effective management and leadership. Examples of the practical application of the research findings from two of the empirical studies are described and discussed in terms of their distinctive and original contribution to HRD practice, and to the advancement of Mode 2 Knowledge (M2K) in this field.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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