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An investigation into the competences, characteristics and process factors associated with senior managerial team performance

Higgs, M. (1997) An investigation into the competences, characteristics and process factors associated with senior managerial team performance. DBA thesis, Henley Business School, University of Reading

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This study aims to contribute to the understanding of the factors which underpin the effectiveness of managerial teams. The research focuses on examining a selected range of characteristics and competences of team members and their process interaction within the team to produce differing outcomes. The literature on teams and teamworking is vast, often providing confusing and contradictory evidence. Much of the evidence to support the advantages and benefits is anecdotal and case study based, with authors highlighting a need for more empirical research. In addition the complexity of the field confounds clarity of research studies and findings. Attempts have been made to illuminate the relationships between the variables impacting on team performance through the development and examination of models. This study takes, as a basis for modelling, the Hackman and Morris (1975) Group Interaction Process model. The research is based on data from 54 management teams drawn from three organisations. The measures employed to examine the characteristics and competences of team members, based on and informed by the literature, are the Belbin Team Roles, the Supra-Competences (derived from the Job Competences Survey), the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal and the Productive Thinking Test (a measure of divergent thinking). Established instruments were selected to measure team processes and team outcomes. These were adapted for this study, based on initial qualitative research with 40 managers from one of the participating organisations. The literature, and previous research, led to the development of eleven hypotheses. These related to: i) the impact of' balance' of both team roles and competences on team processes and outcomes; ii) the impact of thinking styles on team processes and outcomes; iii) the impact of team processes on team outcomes; and iv) the mediation effect of team processes on input factors in leading to positive team outcomes. Initial analysis of the qualitative data provided support for many of the team effectiveness factors encountered in the literature and added some new insights into these factors. The quantitative data was examined using correlational, t-test and multiple regression analyses. Results of these analyses provided support for seven of the eleven hypotheses. Notably, evidence is presented to support the concept of team role mix proposed by Belbin. In addition there is evidence of a similar 'mix' phenomenon in relation to team competences (a concept which has previously only been the subject of theoretical consideration). The study has also provided evidence to support the concept of team processes as a mediator variable, and provides evidence from one of the larger samples of senior management teams encountered in the literature. It has also provided illumination of the complexities involved in analysing the performance of management teams. Furthermore, instruments to study teams have been refined in the current research and this, together with the overall findings, provides a potentially valuable platform for further research in this field.

Item Type:Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Supervisor:Dulewicz, V.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Management College
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School
ID Code:87066


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