A Study of Personality and Organizational Commitment
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A Study of Personality and Organizational Commitment

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ABSTRACT...

ABSTRACT
The results of this study revealed a correlation between leaders’ personality traits and levels of organizational commitment in Apparel and/or Consumer Packaged Goods organizations. Data were collected from 50 leaders in these organizations, along with 204 of their associates in the New York and New Jersey area.
Using the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), the Organizational Commitment
Questionnaire (OCQ), and a demographic survey, the data were collected. Leaders were comprised of Director and Vice President level managers. These leaders completed the Hogan Personality Inventory, which measured five distinct areas of personality: Ambition, Adjustment, Sociability, Interpersonal Sensitivity, and Prudence. Associates reporting to these leaders completed the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, rating their own levels of organizational commitment. Evidence supported the reliability and validity of both leader personality and organizational commitment models and instruments.
This research study concluded there is a significant relationship
between leaders’ personality traits and associates’ levels of organizational commitment. Specifically, leaders’ Interpersonal Sensitivity and Adjustment personality traits both influence and shape associates’ levels of organizational commitment. The remaining personality traits examined showed weak relationships with organizational commitment. Statistical data and implications for the findings are included

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  • 1. Leadership and Commitment 1 LEADERSHIP AND COMMITMENT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LEADERS’ PERSONALITY TRAITS AND ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT A Dissertation Presented to The Faculty of Tennessee Temple University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy By Matt T. Argano
  • 2. Leadership and Commitment 2 ABSTRACT The results of this study revealed a correlation between leaders’ personality traitsand levels of organizational commitment in Apparel and/or Consumer Packaged Goodsorganizations. Data were collected from 50 leaders in these organizations, along with 204of their associates in the New York and New Jersey area. Using the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), the Organizational CommitmentQuestionnaire (OCQ), and a demographic survey, the data were collected. Leaders werecomprised of Director and Vice President level managers. These leaders completed theHogan Personality Inventory, which measured five distinct areas of personality:Ambition, Adjustment, Sociability, Interpersonal Sensitivity, and Prudence. Associatesreporting to these leaders completed the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire,rating their own levels of organizational commitment. Evidence supported the reliabilityand validity of both leader personality and organizational commitment models andinstruments. This research study concluded there is a significant relationshipbetween leaders’ personality traits and associates’ levels of organizational commitment.Specifically, leaders’ Interpersonal Sensitivity and Adjustment personality traits bothinfluence and shape associates’ levels of organizational commitment. The remainingpersonality traits examined showed weak relationships with organizational commitment.Statistical data and implications for the findings are included.
  • 3. Leadership and Commitment 3 Limitations The first limitation of this research was the potential influence of socially desiredbias among respondents. Socially desired bias could have influenced respondents toanswer questions on both the Hogan Personality Inventory and OrganizationalCommitment Questionnaire in a skewed manner or in a manner which was perceived tobe more socially acceptable. For example, respondents might have wished to be viewed as overly committed tothe organizations in which they served. Additionally, leaders may have sought to answerthe Hogan Personality Inventory in a manner in which they believed that leaders shouldact or respond. Maintaining complete anonymity and confidentiality of the Hogan PersonalityInventory may have more effectively assured leaders that only group scores would bereported. However, the inability to identify both the organizations and departments inwhich leaders were responsible made it difficult to draw correlations betweencommitment and personality traits. Delimitations This research study was delimited to five Apparel and/or Consumer PackagedGoods organizations regionally, therefore the research results cannot be generalizedoutside these states or region. The study was conducted during the Fall of 2011 and wasdelimited by the analysis of the relationship between two variables, personality traitsamong leaders and organizational commitment. Leaders’ personality traits, however, areunlikely to be the single variable influencing commitment. Additionally, this researchwas conducted by a Vice President of Human Resources who has only worked in Apparel
  • 4. Leadership and Commitment 4and Consumer Packaged Goods organizations, which may have resulted in unintentionalresearcher bias. Recommendations for Future Research This study added to the body of research relating to the relationship betweenpersonality traits in leaders and levels of organizational commitment among theirassociates. The findings were relevant and applicable in the pursuit of developing highperformance teams and leaders in Apparel and Consumer Packaged Goods organizations.However, this study focused on a niche sector and included a relatively small sample sizeof leaders and associates. Areas for additional future research might include therelationship of personality traits in leaders and levels of organizational commitment inalternate business sectors including financial services, healthcare, education or “not forprofit” organizations. The researcher has spent the past fifteen years in the practice of executivecoaching, leadership development, organizational and individual assessment and teambuilding. However, the researcher has not examined the criterion related validity of bothinstruments utilized in this research study. In examining the art of leadership and scienceof personality in the future, researchers may attempt to further examine the degree towhich socio-analytical assessments predict leaders’ success or job performance. ConclusionThis research study demonstrated that there is a significant relationship between specificpersonality traits in leaders and the impact those traits have upon levels of organizationalcommitment among associates.
  • 5. Leadership and Commitment 5 The study validated much of the prior empirical research presented in theliterature review and further examined certain areas such as gender and ethnicity, whichhave had little prior research with respect to the impact that leaders’ personality traitshave upon organizational commitment. The research found that higher levels oforganizational commitment are directly related to leaders’ personality traits whichmanifest themselves in leaders’ interactions with associates. The research findings demonstrated that associates employed in Apparel and/orConsumer Packaged Goods organizations located in the New York and New Jersey area,which generate revenues in excess of $500 million annually, are generally committed totheir organizations. The study indicated that these associates appear to respond morefavorably to leaders who demonstrated higher degrees of emotional stability, and greaterinterpersonal sensitivity. The study supported prior research which indicated that self management andemotional awareness in leaders remains a critical cornerstone in developing andmaintaining relationships in organizations. The researcher subscribes to the belief thatleadership is a personal journey, and within organizations how that leadership isexercised has implications which directly impact how well the organization will function.The ability of leaders to recognize and effectively manage stress, ambiguity, conflict, andto control their emotions is critical to their success and effectiveness. Leaders who fail to exercise these restraints, and not control these behavioral andpersonality traits will find it difficult to develop and maintain relationships, and will mostprobably fail to develop trust from their associates. Successful leaders serve asorganizational role models by exercising behaviors in support of the greater
  • 6. Leadership and Commitment 6organizational good. These leaders demonstrate a genuine interest and concern for theirassociates by consistently demonstrating high levels of compassion and empathy, and byuse of social skills, which results in higher levels of commitment among their followers.The study indicated that leaders’ emotional steadiness and interpersonal sensitivity havebeen shown to be highly effective in earning organizational commitment from associates. In order to maximize the value of leadership within organizations, leaders shoulddraw upon every resource available. It is a well established tenet that one of the mostvaluable resources within an organization is its talent. Therefore, it is critical that leadersassist and encourage associates in realizing their full potential by using the positivebehavioral and personality traits identified in the research study. Based upon the findings of this study, the researcher has concluded that failure todemonstrate these personality traits may lead to or contribute to an organization’s failureto achieve the level of excellence which is required to gain significant competitiveadvantage. In conclusion, this research study supports the axiom that the leader-followerrelationship is a reciprocal one, which relies heavily upon the leaders consistentdemonstration of favorable personality traits. By doing so, it is more likelythat associates will embrace commitment which helps to ensure success for theorganization. It is important to note that while the current macroeconomic global environmentmay be a factor in preventing the exodus of dissatisfied employees, the problems thatarise from an unhappy workplace still exist. Those problems such as employeesbecoming disengaged or apathetic to the organization’s vision, mission & goals are
  • 7. Leadership and Commitment 7serious. Consequently, the fact that employees may not be leaving the organization doesnot negate the fact that poor leadership practices are not causing harm to the organization. This study indicated that through leveraging the science of personality in theworkplace, organizational development practitioners can educate leaders in this criticalarea. Leaders who adhere to these principles should be able to lead their teams as moreorganizationally satisfied groups, which will enhance the likelihood of improved resultsfor the organization.