A Manager´s self-concept in the context of their leadership style within McGregor´s theory Cover Image

A Manager´s self-concept in the context of their leadership style within McGregor´s theory
A Manager´s self-concept in the context of their leadership style within McGregor´s theory

Author(s): Lenka Ďuricová, Terézia Šugereková
Subject(s): Psychology, Social psychology and group interaction, Cognitive Psychology, Management and complex organizations
Published by: Spoločenskovedný ústav SAV, Slovenská akadémia vied
Keywords: Manager; Self-esteem; Self-efficacy; X/Y theory (attitudes);

Summary/Abstract: Purpose: The aim of the present study is to examine a manager´s self-concept as a potential source of their leadership philosophy. The research study is focused on the verification of the relationship between particular aspects of a manager´s self-concept (especially self-esteem and self-efficacy) and of their employees´ leadership style in the context of theory X/Y. On the basis of previous research results (e.g., Wood and Bandura, 1989; Whitney, 1990; McCormick et al., 2002; Wang, 2010; Ahn et al., 2016) and theoretical outcomes, we presuppose the relationship between a manager´s attitude to themselves and their attitude to the employees. McGregor´s theory is still relevant more than 50 years after its publication because it has a solid foundation (Kristensen, 2015). Although empirical studies examining the theory X and Y managerial assumptions in a work environment were very scarce for a long time, in recent years there have been several research studies examining the effect of leader´s X/Y managerial assumptions on follower´s attitudes and behaviours (e.g. Gurbuz et al, 2014, Lawter et al, 2015). However, we are more interested in the individual leader´s self-concept in respect to the preferred leadership philosophy. Research hypotheses: We stated two hypotheses arising from the theoretical background of the analysed theory. RH1: We presuppose a positive relationship between a manager´s self-esteem and their managerial attitude Y. RH2: We presuppose a positive relationship between a manager´s perceived self-efficacy and their managerial attitude Y. Research sample: Our research sample consisted of 77 middle management level managers (89.6% males, 10.4% females), aged between 23 and 61 (mean age = 38.82, SD = 8.75). The research sample was collected intentionally. The research was realized anonymously by the means of a questionnaire set. Research method: A simple correlational research study was carried out. To estimate the normal distribution of the variables, we used the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. The test results suggest that the condition of normal data distribution is not fulfilled (p≤.004), which is why we used non-parametric tests. The relation between individual variables was estimated through a non-parametric Spearman correlation coefficient. The questionnaire set comprised of these research tools: 1. Rosenberg´s Self-esteem Scale (RSS, Halama, Bieščad, 2006) is used to assess the emotional aspects of selfconcept and self-esteem. It is a one-dimensional scale consisting of 10 items. The higher score indicates a higher global self-esteem of an individual, whereas the lower the score is a higher level of self-depreciation. Reliability (its inner consistency) of the research instrument stated by Cronbach alpha (α=.72) proves an acceptable value. 2. General Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (GSEQ, Křivohlavý, Schwarzer, Jerusalem in Balaštíková, Blatný, 2003) assesses the level of experienced self-efficacy and eventually perceived self-efficacy. It comprises of 10 items in the form of statements. An overall high score indicates a higher level of self-efficacy. The inner consistency of the research instrument stated by Cronbach alpha was α=.81. 3. The theory X/Y – Attitude Questionnaire consists of 26 items. The questionnaire is the result of a backward translation from the English original Theory X/Y attitudes (Kopelman et al., 2010). Half of the items (13) assess the attitude X (e.g., most people will try to do as little work as possible), and the other half (13 items) assess the attitude Y (e.g. most people can be trusted.) Referring to research instrument adaptation, we used a standard procedure for its translation. The backward translation was done by two independent professionals with appropriate language skills. The individual item comprehension was evaluated during the pilot research. Reliability (the inner consistency) of this new adapted research instrument in the Slovak conditions stated by Cronbach alpha proves an acceptable value for both factors (α=.78; α=.71). Research results: The analysed self-concept (consisting of two aspects: self-esteem /AM= 34.14; SD=3.62/ and self-efficacy /AM= 33.81; SD=3.75/) and manager´s leadership styles (attitude X: AM= 35.43; SD=5.59; attitude Y: AM= 34.47; SD=4.85) were basic variables of this research study. To estimate the presupposed correlations between chosen aspects of a manager´s self-concept (respectively self-esteem and self-efficacy), and a managerial attitude, Spearman correlation coefficients (using McGregor´s theory) were calculated. By means of correlation analysis we found a positive, moderate, statistically-significant correlation between self-esteem and managerial attitude Y (.311, p≤.01). Referring to statistical correlation analysis we can conclude there is no correlation between perceived manager´s self-efficacy and their managerial attitude in the sense of theory X/Y. Also, a relationship between both self-concept aspects was confirmed (.472, p≤.01). Research limitations: 1: the research sample size and its choice, 2: male predominancy; 3: the use of selfreports (may have elicited socially desirable responses). All of them may limit the generalizability of the findings. Practical implications: In spite of the limitations mentioned above, from our research results we can make two possible recommendations regarding managerial practice: 1 – while hiring managers it is recommended considering also their level of self-esteem, and 2 – there should be a directly aimed development and facilitation of a manager´s positive self-esteem in their practice by means of various seminars, training or workshops. Improving a manager´s self-esteem could be one way of developing successful leadership. Theoretical/research implications: A manager´s self-efficacy as a conative aspect of their self-concept might be more related to the manager´s behaviour referring to their concrete manifestations of behaviours in the framework of McGregor´s leadership theory than to their attitudes, eventually to the perception of employees. This opens up a new perspective to further research findings. Originality/Value: The biggest contribution is supported by the existence of a positive, moderate, statisticallysignificant relationship between self-esteem and managerial attitude Y. The research study indicates that selfconcept is one of the variables moderating a manager´s style of leadership at work. Additionally, the study can support the empirical knowledge of manager´s personality research findings.

  • Issue Year: 20/2017
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 36-44
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: English